Tuesday 14 June 2022

SWARM ~ SWARM ....... review


It is not often Desert Psychlist gets to use the term "warm" in a review but it is a word that is unavoidable when describing the music of Helsinki based Finnish quintet SWARM, in fact you could go further and say that the music these five musicians create together possesses an iridescent glow that hangs in the air long after their music has faded into silence. The band, Hilja Vedenpää (vocals); Panu Willman (guitar/vocals); Dani Paajanen (drums); Einari Toiviainen (guitar) and Leo Lehtonen (bass), jam a groove some are referring to as "heavygaze", a heady blend of ethereal folkiness and languid grunginess spliced together with elements of dank doom and occult(ish) rock that is not exactly what you would call heavy but nevertheless carries its fair share of weightiness. 
The band have just recently released their debut album "Swarm" a collection of four sultry tomes warm enough to take the chill off even the coldest of nights.

Opening song "Nevermore" begins its journey with a circular guitar motif revolving over reverberating single bass notes and lightly applied percussion then is joined by Vedenpää's mellow vocal tones, her voice clear, clean and note perfect, telling us that she doesn't want to be by herself, is aided and abetted on the songs harmonies by the voice of guitarist Willman, their voices intertwining  and complimenting each other to perfection . Musically the song has its heavier moments but its crunching riffs and soaring solos are cleverly offset by moments of languid tranquillity and mellow reflection something that allows the song a much greater flow and gives it a nice even balance. "There Again" follows and finds SWARM initially kicking out the jams with a raucous doom tinted bass and guitar refrain overlaid with soaring lead guitar but then drops down into a gentle lament with the vocals a mix of mellow lead and luscious harmonies. For "Frail" the band go (semi) acoustic with the vocals taking on a folk-like flavour, the only electricity allowed being a drone like effect that thrums and grumbles in around the vocal interplay and a brief but precious burst of lead guitar. The band finish with "We Should Know" a song that builds from humble beginnings, Vedenpää warbling serenely over a folk-rock flavoured musical backdrop, then slowly builds in intensity and volume until finally bowing out on a wave of low slow doom-ic riffage interspersed with Edge (U2) like lead guitar colouring.

SWARM deliver, with their debut, both weight and warmth, the sound they create together is an intriguing blend of riff orientated metal and ethereal folk-rock that is as likely to have you throwing devil's horns in the air as it is to have you weaving daisy chains under a a turquoise sky.. 
Check 'em out .... 

© 2022 Frazer Jones

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