This Gift Is A Curse
All Hail The Swinelord


3.5
great

Review

by Essence USER (30 Reviews)
December 16th, 2015 | 34 replies


Release Date: 10/16/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: caught between safe and strong, This Gift Is A Curse release a solid sophomore effort that falls just short of excellence

In trying to balance themselves between variety and their comfort zone, Swedish crust/sludge band This Gift Is A Curse’s weakness is revealed almost immediately – their quality as a crust band is eclipsed by their deftness as a sludge band. All Hail The Swinelord can roughly be divided into two homogeneous sections – their crust focused tracks, and their sludge tracks. The band really shines on the latter tracks, creating dark, captivating metal songs that pull the listener in and strangle them with dense emotion, but when the former style is utilized, the listener is pulled right back into a maelstrom of monotony. The tracklist has an almost deliberate segregation of these two worlds, with its tracks split into four crust songs, three sludge songs, and one unwanted child of a song where the band tried to mix the styles (We Use Your Dead As Vessels).

The ideas present oscillate wildly between interesting and safe. The crust tracks sound roughly the same, several minute collections of the band taking absolutely zero risks and doing crust-by-the-numbers. The result is several minutes of adequately-interesting blackened crust, generally serving no purpose other than to sound angry and carry the listener to the more inspired songs. It is not surprising that the band would choose to do this – this has been done many times before on similarly styled albums, but generally in those cases, the faster songs and slower songs maintained more of a balance in quality. This lack of equilibrium in stylistic caliber is what makes these crust songs stand out as inadequate and boring. This is not to say that they are bad, rather their adequacy is magnified into inadequacy by the tracks that surround them.

When the band steps outside of its circumspect crust nature and tries to experiment is where All Hail The Swinelord really shines. XI For I Am The Fire, Hanging Feet and closer Askradare are all fantastic songs. They provide an excellent, powerful contrast to the strong ire of the compact portions of the album. Taking influences from post rock and noise, they create 3 tracks of sweltering chaos. This creates for a very stark contrast between tones on the album, as although the shorter songs convey almost solely unchecked vitriol, there is a much more robust conveyance of tone on the three post-influenced tracks. Hitting notes of hopelessness, fear and loss, they sound otherworldly, carrying the album to a plane devoid of joy. In forging their intensity combined with genuine emotion across these three tracks, This Gift Is A Curse create some of the strongest metal of the year, but a great album is not made up of a couple of great songs. This extremely disjointed emotional nature gets stronger as the album goes on, and could almost be mistaken for two separate EPs spliced together and then mixed up to sound diverse.

This contrast between effectiveness of styles would be a death knell for weaker bands, but through it all, This Gift Is A Curse show true promise. All Hail The Swinelord is a great album made up of two very polished, effective styles, one genuinely offering more ideas and inspiration than the other. Despite the shortcomings of cohesiveness, sonically the band sounds enormous – they throw an insane wall of sound at you from the get go, and do not let up for one moment during the album. The vitriol is almost exhausting, but akin to the rewarding exhaustion after exercise. They sound positively nightmarish at times, and hit moments of real, rewarding darkness that other bands strive to achieve on purpose, whereas here it sounds natural. It is a great album, but it is an album that just isn’t quite as great as it could be, which is ultimately bittersweet.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Essence
December 15th 2015


6279 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

shoutout to Spirit for the proofread, which happened in October because I am terrible at getting things done

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
December 15th 2015


25559 Comments


I was waiting for this! Glad to see it finally posted, reads great!

Essence
December 15th 2015


6279 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

thanks man, appreciate it! look forward to the next one sometime next century

ZippaThaRippa
December 15th 2015


10512 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Don't think there is a whole lot going on with this album aside from the closer.



Great review though

zaruyache
December 15th 2015


21108 Comments


good 1. Pos'd. Might eventually jam more than thirty seconds of this.

Essence
December 15th 2015


6279 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

just jam the songs i said were good



also thanks bub

wacknizzle
December 16th 2015


14521 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

By far one of my favorite albums this year, whole thing rips. Surprised more people on here aren't digging it as much as me

wacknizzle
December 16th 2015


14521 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review, pos'd. Although I disagree with a good number of your negative views towards this release.

FearThyEvil
December 16th 2015


16837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Wack, if you haven't, seriously check out Snakefeast.

Essence
December 16th 2015


6279 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

agreed

Sniff
December 17th 2015


5634 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Closing track is so good though

Sniff
December 17th 2015


5634 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Also review is pretty much the truth

Sniff
December 17th 2015


5634 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

About everything, even to the point about We Use Your Dead As Vessels

wacknizzle
December 18th 2015


14521 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nah, that song is a banger

wacknizzle
December 18th 2015


14521 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

And if you wanna argue about their quality as a crust band, this destroys new Cult Leader, even though everyone seems to love it. Just sounds like a less interesting No Absolutes with spoken word bullshit. Just a little bit disappointed the album didn't get better reception on sputnik considering that this was my metal aoty

Sniff
December 19th 2015


5634 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

This is better than Cult Leader. No doubt. Also for the record, I had We Use Your Dead As Vessels confused with Old Lies. Old Lies is the worst one on here.

R6Rider
December 19th 2015


5218 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I agree Sniff.



Sweet album. The dude that did guest vocals on "Fire" and "Vessels" is a beast.

Essence
December 19th 2015


6279 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

definitely, probably the best parts of the album

Sniff
December 20th 2015


5634 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

That dude in Fire is a girl!

wacknizzle
December 26th 2015


14521 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ye, she did some shows with them recently too



Old Lies is so fun!



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