The Black Swamp – MS and IC Take On ‘I Am’.
(Above) Photo credit: Rob Rizza LIVE – Click Here.
Queensland, Australia’s The Black Swamp came to my attention at random. My interest was piqued by the process of hearing Sludge, or otherwise known as “Stoner” Metal interpreted outside of its saturated and well established home in the United States.
This is a style of music frequented, beginning in the southern United States and has gained a lot of attention for bluesy leads, groove-driven riffs, and an unusual bridge between the traditional and the extremes in Rock and Metal.
MS and I are splitting critque duties for I Am, with myself tasked with the first half.
At first glance, these songs aren’t plodding or pandering, the production lends itself well to the dirtiness of the instrumentation and the vocals are reminiscent of archetypal Sludge bands such as Weedeater or Iron Monkey.
Taking relatively simple musical stylings and layering thoughtful leads, and in one case, an organ, serves to give The Black Swamp a very enjoyable sound from track to track. It would be a disservice to the band and the record if the tracks were to be picked apart and dissected piece by piece overtly.
If there was more going on here than an excellent set of riffs and masterful cohesion between its band members, there might be more room to talk about tracks individually, but there really isn’t, on my end at least.
Even from my five-track focus and subsequent listening, I Am is a powerful full-length debut. From track to track, the members of this band show that they’ve made strides towards coming into their own with little shards of musical intrigue over irrefutably powerful, driving sounds that kindles anticipation for their future endeavors.
MS on I Am:
Although having listened to and for the most part enjoyed this release, my grappling with it took more effect on my allotted half, with tracks six through ten. IC and myself have very different tastes in music but have enough of a crossover and meeting point that when records such as this surface, we often embark to the front together.
For one to five, I thought I could hear nods to Canadian Sludge-Punks Cancer Bats and in particular their latter and more recent output and with ‘Barricade’ this came through very strongly and is actually a welcome change from the Stoner/Sludge Metal ensemble thickly oozing from the previous with its metallic Hardcore Punk.
‘Ours’ is solid in its continuity but lacking pace stands as filler, substantial filler but nothing of to much prominence bar more of the impressive vocal work. ‘Mountain (I Am)’ quite ironically displays the lower tempos I criticised above but in this case, marks one of the stronger tracks on the album and despite it’s length has welcome nods to Metallica in its rhythmic lurch.
‘Hollowed’ again surfaces as a very strong and intense track but overplays the stoner-isms, albeit slightly, and doesn’t “jump out” as it should despite sonic solidity. While closer, ‘Bleed Mother’, is another long-term sitting yet even in its very simplistic instrumentation and vocal focus, is actually very haunting in a complimentary fashion with the lyricisms and vocals accosting hard and without remorse.
Find The Black Swamp below:
- For updates, head to Facebook and Twitter.
- For the bands music, both digital and on Vinyl/CD head to bandcamp.