Released: 2014, Self Released
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
The members of Bologna’s Across the Swarm have been active in the metal community for upwards of a decade under different band monikers, but 2014 marks the release of said outfit’s debut EP. Combining elements of Euro death with nuggets of electronica and samples, ACROSS THE SWARM entertains with equal parts brutality and character.
Stylistically, Across the Swarm sounds like Meshuggah had a one night stand with Fear Factory, as the first Slipknot album played discreetly in the background. Lots of hyper speed, pulsating deathly rhythms partnered with lots of grunts, growls and shrieks, with the occasional drum n’ bass BWAH-BWAH-BWWAAAHHH drop for some added color. I know that some of you may be crying “heresy” right now, but in the context of the 5 tracks it’s actually pretty effective. But for you purists out there, take comfort in knowing that these elements are used sparingly and more for accent than a crutch. At the heart, the five tracks on the EP are all made of pretty solid fodder and bring plenty of the heavy you’re looking for.
If I have any real gripes about ACROSS THE SWARM, it’s that there’s not a ton to differentiate one song from the next. The whole EP runs less than 20 minutes, so it works as a complete listening experience, but individually the tunes all kinda follow the same format/tempo/level of execution. By the time you get to “Cynical Eyes”, the lines have definitely blurred a bit and it’s easy to get mentally checked out. Which is a definite downer, because there’s a ton of moving parts that should keep your interest, but they get lost too easily in the musical fracas to have the desired impact.
But still, there’s plenty to enjoy on ACROSS THE SWARM. It’s uber heavy in all the right places and a promising debut. Props to the band for taking some chances with their sound and for trying to carve their own path. Check out Across the Swarm’s Facebook page for band info, and their Bandcamp page to stream/purchase the EP.