Review Summary: Fucking bleak
One of the cliches perpetuated by mediocre bands everywhere that I find obnoxious is the notion that they are somehow being held back or encumbered by the scene or town they derive from. It’s maintained more by bands of the pop-punk and ska liking than of the powerviolence or hardcore persuasion; but either way, this idea is pretty silly. Hometown influences and localities usually play an integral part in shaping a band, whether they find themselves following trends or purposefully abstaining from them. This platitude feels especially pertinent when talking about Boston hardcore outfit Soul Swallower, because they embody an aesthetic that distinguishes them from the hardcore punk scene of Boston while simultaneously acting as an amalgam of said scene. An LP long in the oven, as some tracks date back to ’05 and ’07, it’s finally arrived-- and dam
n is it impressive.
is bleak, and it centers around emotions like ire more so than melancholy despite factors like the consistent, rhythmic riffing as opposed to more breakneck-speed thrash. These sludgier factors are apparent throughout, and they differentiate Devoured
as a more-than-you-average-Mind Eraser-ripoff. The satisfyingly heavy intro to “Greed and Disgust” serves as a shining example of this; furthermore, the second half of this track astounds in its sheer energy and ardor when the ferocious riffs bleed through. All in all, the track could be offered as a fairly accurate microcosm of Devoured
in both its keen sense of flow and unrelenting denseness. Brandon's vocals, who you may recognize from The Rival Mob, also seem especially desperate and longing, his idiosyncratic voice strained and hoarse. Coupled with the aforementioned elements of Devoured
, this consistently bitter and biting endeavor, they are fitting. Herein lies Soul Swallower’s most distinct trait-- not necessarily the powerviolence outfit’s ability to perform Boston hardcore in perfect, cookie-cutter fashion, but its ability to combine certain elements from this scene in a way that is equally interesting and adept. As fulfilling as Devoured
is in its half-hour runtime, I still can’t help but think that this is only the beginning for a band that is proving to be notably more creative and interesting than their birth scene.