Review Summary: digestion awaits
After a frenzied, masticating 15 second or so opening passage, this debut demo by Finnish death-doomers Swallowed does its best to envisage what it's like to slide down the gruesome digestive tract of some kind of voracious and terrible monster or demon, slowly (or at least within the 12 minute run-time) being broken down into wretched slurry by nightmarish enzymes. Piercingly raw tones create an atmosphere that feels close, dank and stinking. Slow, slimy riffs and bass with crude spasms of percussion relax and contract in irresistable rhythm, drawing the listener deeper into the release's hellish guts. Evil leads - some subtly distant, some excruciatingly immediate - contribute a jeering sense of intensifying terror. Cracking, delirious screams and snarls presumably plead for death as the ordeal draws on.
Faster sections, with wild tremolo riffs, flailing drum blasts and haggard shrieks such as the end of "Unsavorably" or midway through "The Dying Misted in the Bloodstream" occur abruptly as though the album was subduing the final desperate struggles of the listener as they claw and gnash in vain against hulking intestinal walls. The dirge-like "Black Phlegm" (half the length of the more developed if somewhat bloated version on Lunarterial
), with its hushed prayer-like vocals that culminate in tortured, inhuman gurgling wails, is akin to a soliloquy of resigned despair. Certainly more focused than their bolder if more disjointed later release Lunarterial
, this demo will be mechanically familiar to any journeyman fan of death-doom. Swallowed's unique success is in their mastery of genuine auditory horror; a constant feeling of unease pervades the gaps between the thick, knelling riffs to leave the listener with ample opportunity to contemplate their fate. Digestion awaits.