Label None (Self Release)?
Genre(s) Experimental Noise
This demo by Swallowtail opens with a slow creeping atmosphere, alot calmer than what I was expecting. Moments almost reminiscent of Akira Yamaoka's work on Silent Hill offer affecting beauty and clarity in a sea of creeping electronics. Fractured drumming breaks through the mossy electronic base, threatening to disintegrate at any moment. Shrieks and screams nestle in the background, swirling in the dense layers. Slowly fading out.
The release continues to twist and turn, not falling to expectations. Black metal styled vocals and almost unprocessed guitar make an appearance and offer a complete change of pace whilst retaining just enough style to not feel out of place. I begin to have problems here as there is alot of high end (almost painfully so) without much low end, there are rumbles and bass but it's not prominent, it teases an appearance but doesn't deliver.
I'm beginning to think this release was mixed as loud as possible without much concern for how it would sound. The more noise based elements are almost ear raping. We're now treated to a heavily distorted drum machine and feedback squeals. Very foreword but lacking the atmosphere conveyed earlier.
A pulsing bassline drives onwards, broken samples crackling into nothing as we break into an almost Gabba styled track, little variation and drums being too high in the mix don't offer much here. When we break back into a calmer passage there's more going on but a static buzz (almost unchanging) kills the atmosphere. Another Gabba styled section finishes this off.
A more atmospheric track rears it's head. Images of misty streets and unthinkable horrors are conjured, to be suddenly shut down by yet more drum machine abuse. The Silent Hill vibe is still here, taken over as it is by almost noisecore levels of screaming and drumming. There is a very interesting bed of electronics in the background, but the drums are so forward in the mix it's almost impossible to focus on. Each section is done well, the dark ambient, creeping electronics, Gabba styled drum beats, aggressive screaming. My only problem is that the mash up of styles doesn't allow the true power of each section to be displayed.
An almost tortured guitar line creeps out of the electronic murk, strangely beautiful in juxtaposition to the dirty skree that it stands against. I'm reminded of black noise, and black noise done well at that. Atmospheres that suggest great unease, forcing the listener to confront that which they rather would not.
Like being stuck on an ever spinning carnival ride, the usually fun sounds and warm lights distorting and becoming something much more sinister. This track is what I imagined when I originally heard the "dark cabaret" genre tag used. I do get an uneasy feeling that the intro to an Arcturus track may have been used as a sample here though, especially towards the end (I think it's from Arcturus but I can't be sure)
Droning synth lines coupled with aggressive almost Junglism styled drum beats shouldn't work but for some reason it does. Breaking up the tracks en yet managing to keep the same atmospheric flow.
It's really hard to say how I feel about this release as a whole, there are some moments of genius but I am reminded of the phrase "jack of all trades, master of none". Swallowtail shows real promise, the electronics are evocative. My main concern is that I feel I've heard a lot of this before, I'm not sure if that's down to an expert structure of songs and atmospheres or due to a liberal use of samples. Either way it's worth grabbing the release to see how it goes for you. I'd defiantly keep an eye on Swallowtail either way.