Review Summary: Wanna feel like a total badass? Then get some pirate thrash in your musical diet!
There are certain genres that one knows will kick ass before the music is even listened to, and Swashbuckle soundly fall into that category. Upon reading the words "Pirate-Thrash," I knew I needed to get Swashbuckle's third full length, Crime Always Pays...
And the album plays out exactly like their ridiculous genre tag would suggest; one part thrash, one part death metal, one part pirate, and six parts completely awesome. The closest way to describe their sound would be to say "Well its like if Municipal Waste and Misery Index banged. With Jack Sparrow feverishly fapping in the corner."
The album opens with the serene and obviously old time pirate themed "Slowly Wept The Sea." After three minutes of building instrumental goodness that recalls the first time you ever rode on Pirates of The Caribbean, those days you wanted nothing more than to be a pirate, out on the open seas, the whole world and its adventures ahead.
From there Swashbuckle wastes no time in laying down the soundtrack for all the pillaging, plunging, drinking, sex, and the high life you could ever want. Not surprisingly, the soundtrack consists of about equal parts of death and thrash metal, most songs featuring elements of both. The guitars are the best part about the album, and while not hyper-technical, there are plenty of crushing, groovy, heavy riffs to drive the music along, ranging from standard thrash and death metal territory to a cool combination of the two. Breakdowns are present, but never become boring or stale, and the gang vocals accompanying a good deal of them fit in perfectly.
The vocals are absolutely beastlike, going from a high throaty scream akin to Kelly Schafer (Atheist), and low guttural bellows resembling the screams from Misery Index. The bass is pretty much lost in the mix, but with a good set of speakers provides a decent low end for the music. The drumming is consistent and driving, a good mix of double bass and kicks to keep with the breakneck speed of the guitars.
While weighing in at 16 tracks and 53 minutes long, the album never seems bloated or overbearing due to the numerous downtempo instrumentals that are peppered throughout the tracklist, all of which sound like something ripped directly out of pirate lore. As a whole its an extremely satisfying album to listen to, as these instrumentals really show another side to the aggressive metal of the rest of the album.
All in all, the only thing that really NEEDS to be said about this album is that its Pirate Thrash. Do you really need any more convincing than that?