Signs Of The Swarm - Amongst The Low & Empty (Century Media)
It takes a special sort of band to develop a reputation that includes veteran moshers catching their breath after a set and remarking on how scary the band that just played was. Yet, such is the case for Pittsburgh sluggers Signs of the Swarm, who have spent the last decade laying waste to venues around the world with their brand of unforgiving deathcore.
Having set the bar mile high with 2021's Absolvere, this summer sees a hideous shadow cast over the realm of extreme music with the band's latest offering, Amongst the Low & Empty. Coming in as the fifth release from SotS, it takes up where the already crushing predecessor left off and pushes the boundaries even further with new djent and industrial inspired elements.
Cutting to the chase with the title track, which the band premiered in the U.S. this spring on tour with Whitechapel, the album kicks off without warning; an sudden burst of cosmic energy. Those who bore witness to this song in concert earlier this year are already aware of how vicious the crowds can and will continue to get for this song.
Like a barrage of furious punches, "Tower of Torsos" leaves no room for compromise with its gnashing riffs from newcomer Carl Schulz (ex-Great American Ghost), who joins the subsonic tremors of bassist Michael Cassese and relentless drumming of Bobby Crow. Delivering absolutely devastating instrumentation on "Pray For Death", the head of this monstrosity is that of vocalist David Simonich. Already having well defied the laws of what a human voice should sound like, Simonich's style has gone beyond comprehension: what is this new threat that stands before us?
Joining the already natural born (riff) killers are guest contributors Joshua Travis (Emmure, Glass Cloud), and Cameron Losch (Born of Osiris), who graced the album with the aforementioned industrial overtones. Yet, it is the incredible vocal styles of Matthew K. Heafy (Trivium) that send "The Witch Beckons" into the stratosphere. Heafy's iconic midrange bark combined with Simonich's gruesome growls and shrieks.
These along with other tremendous numbers, such as "DREAMKILLER", "Echelon", and "Malady" are sure to put many a venue at risk for destruction in the coming year.
The Metal Mayan review:
Some vocalists you just can't help but remember the first time you heard them on a record. For me, the list is long and very distinguished, but one of the more recent entries is Signs of the Swarm vocalist David Simonich. If the album version wasn't already unsettling, seeing him deliver the same grotesque stylings live in concert was simply horror incarnate in the best of ways.
With a tour resume that boasts runs with acts such as Shadow of Intent, Lorna Shore, Fit For An Autopsy, and Suicide Silence to name a few, the last ten years have been full of hard work on the road. Still, these efforts have paid off well going into album five as, from what I saw back in April, fans only continue to join 'the Swarm' at venues around the world.
Signs of the Swarm @ The Gramercy Theater, NYC, 21 April 2023
In the realm of ultra brutal music, SotS is certainly a frontrunner both sonically and structurally. To translate that for non-musicians: this album is so crushing, you can't quite understand how it even exists. Think of a massive machine, one so big and complex that it seems almost unreal - put that on an album and you have Amongst the Low & Empty.
Catch Signs of the Swarm on tour in the U.S. this October and November supporting Carnifex, and pick up a copy of Amongst the Low & Empty, out now on Century Media.
Advanced copy courtesy of Breaking the Law PR and Century Media Records