Swarmageddon – Inhuman (Self-Released)

Wednesday, 4th November 2020
Rating: 9.5/10

One random gaze at that sci-fi artwork that adores Inhuman was enough to make this scribe decide to give it a clink in a recent Bandcamp search. If that was the initial buy-in, the opening buildup of atmosphere by way of Fallujah in first cut “Silence” and eruption into a welcoming guitar lead was the piece that stated that this was something out of the ordinary. Swarmageddon may only have a previous EP behind them, but Inhuman breaks considerable ground and sees the band utterly smash much of the extreme metal landscape with this full-length debut.

An utterly impressive release, what makes Swarmageddon really stand out is how many different influences and ideas that they have, and the fusion and execution behind them. As one goes from the short “Silence” into “Of a Billion Screams,” you can really see where the diversity takes off. In the span of this single track, the band manages to toss rumbling Gojira-esque grooves, floaty atmospheric melodies, battering ram riffs, and furious intensity into an intriguing sci-fi cinematic landscape. The synths act as a way to augment the atmosphere but know when to step aside for a bit when the band wants to kick up the speed and deliver a good thrashing. Tempos are perpetually shifting gears, but always with a rhyme and reason to them, escalating tension with some speed runs before hitting the breaks and doling out some pulverizing mid-tempo grooves or chugs. Then zipping into some moments of serenity with a well-timed guitar solo or touch of clean vocals – vocalist Marion Valle has a range that quickly switches from feral to beautiful at the drop of a hat (see “Death Traps”) – and then naturally raising the energy back to throttling levels. An old school appreciation of melodic death metal (think more Detonation than In Flames) is noted at times, such as the dizzying opening riffs and ethereal chorus of “Blood Stained Origami,” but the band mutates it so well with their other influences that you’d never think to pigeonhole them into a single genre. That is ultimately what makes Inhuman such an inspired listen.

Bringing together elements of devastating heaviness, dreamy atmosphere, intricate melodies, and just about everything in between, Swarmageddon position themselves as one of 2020’s greatest hidden gems with Inhuman. Those who dabble in the extreme scene should latch onto this act now, as they’ve got the potential to really blow up in the near future.

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