Swampbeast – Seven Evils Spawned of Seven Heads Review

Tranquility is having one’s swamp to one’s self. Nothing beats the sultry shimmer of swamp silence. But silence is fleeting. Evil lurks in the hazy depths of the swamp. Upward through ancient mud rises Swampbeast, a mangled, tangled death metal creature. The beast is here to stay. Seven Evils Spawned of Seven Heads, Swampbeast’s debut full-length, drags a listener through a 36-minute mire of grinding putridity.

Malevolent beasts of the swamp do not require a steady entrance. Instead, their introduction is bludgeoning. Seven Evils Spawned of Seven Heads is a constant surge of grinding, grooving death metal that refuses to deviate from its path. It enters drenched in grit and grime and exits drenched in grit, grime, and even more grit and grime. The two-minute hammer smash of “Orc’s Anvil” is indicative of the record as a whole: its low-end constantly churns, its riffcraft constantly suffocates, and its anger constantly rages. Suffocation is the goal. By the end of the record Swampbeast expect their listener to be curled up in a ball, drooling. Contributing to the record’s overall success is its balance of bitingly sharp guitar venom and cavernous richness. Swampbeast don’t rely on excessive reverb and obfuscation to mask their sound, nor do they lean towards manufactured pristineness. As Goldilocks once famously stated: “Ah, just right…now give me more blastbeats!”

Goldilock’s would be windmilling her golden locks in this fairytale mosh pit with fury. “Convulsing in the Shit and Piss of Man” is a prime example of Swampbeast channeling grooves, grit and old-school attitude into a short, explosive package. It’s a savage blast that counteracts the guttural death-doom of follow up “1000 Years of Pestilence” excellently. Eight of the eleven tracks on Seven Evils run for less than four minutes and this help keep Swampbeast’s sound from becoming too bogged down. Nothing here is trying to break new ground and innovate. Swampbeast playfully merge the vaster sounds of the dismal New York trio (Incantation, Immolation and Suffocation) with punkier, grindier spurts of energy. Numerous new bands have come forth from the bog with this style (Outer Heaven, Witch Vomit, and Contaminated a select few) and the swamp’s filling up nicely. There’s nothing better than being submerged in the slime from time to time.

The viscous slime of Swambeast’s sound, however, does form into a tiring mush after a while. There’s not enough defining substance to push Seven Evils into thrilling territories. Despite running for a brief 36-minutes, a sense of monotony grows as the back end approaches. Instrumental interludes exist to merely extend the record rather than providing a satisfying break in the maelstrom and later tracks such as “The First Prime Evil” and “Cerebrus,” though decent, lack the potency of the front-end tracks. A fragment of gold does emerge from the mush in the form of soupy, melodic closer “Spell of Decay,” but by this point the rot has set in.

Seven Evils Spawned of Seven Heads’ uniformity is both a strength and a weakness. After one listen, the record feels like a rejuvenating boost thanks to its solid mix and forthright brawn. After five, ten, however many more listens, the record doesn’t retain that same boost. This is a hazard of reviewing albums in a short space of time. Sometimes we can’t leave and let an album stew. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, apparently. Conversely, I might feel the same way after letting this album sit for a few months. Seven Evils Spawned of Seven Heads is a solid release that hits multiple sweet spots. It’s a grinding, blackened, swampy death metal hotpot that tastes thrilling at first but loses its intense flavor after a while. Now, get out! What are you doing in my swamp!?

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Translation Loss Records
Websites: swampbeasttl.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/swampbeastca
Releases Worldwide: February 12th, 2021

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