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Album Review: Dead Swans - 'Sleepwalkers'

7 August 2009 | 6:02 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Furious and unrelenting British hatred.

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Fuck Bridge Nine are killing it in the hardcore release department.  With current discs from Defeater, Ruiner and the recent tour from Cruel Hand holding a firm grip on the Australian Hardcore community I’m predicting the latest release from Dead Swans will only tighten their stranglehold on our shores.   Sleepwalkers mark the first full length release from Dead Swans and with only a split CD with Architects and an EP they have garnered a significant amount of interest as well reasonable fan base within a short period of time.  Not surprising considering.

The bass licks on Sleepwalkers will satisfy even the most insatiable hardcore appetites, providing an excellent entry medium for many of the breakdown.  The guitar riffs are haunting, and it is their presence in the back of the mix that allows the discordant structure be used in a similar fashion to label mates The Carrier.  It’s refreshing to find songs that are not written in a traditional sense, based around a chorus and the relevant bridges, but rather songs that appear to be racing towards an unknown destination.  Listen to the 45 second pearler Hide and Seek to gain a fuller understanding.    

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The vocals are enticing in that they truly capture the raw emotion and hate towards the world. This can be seen on the re-recorded version of 20.07.07 (which appeared on the Southern Blue EP) where the vocal lines sound strained, malcontent and appear to be carrying great sorrow. It looks like the lost art of using music to express one’s self has not been completely banished just yet. Winter Overture provides some respite and breathing time from the relentless battering and shows despite the fact that this is a hardcore release, there is some experimentation going on.   

The songs only gather more intensity as the album continues, with songs like Montpellier to Home and Tent City providing punishment right through to the final riff.  It would truly be boner time if The Carrier, This Is Hell could band together for some sort of super hardcore froth fest and hit our shores this year.  Fingers (and toes) crossed that this or even a minority of this line up can make it!

Powerful debut full length that will appeal to fans of Gold Kids and Your Demise.

1. Thinking of You 

2. Ascension 

3. Ivy Archway 

4. Swallow 

5. So Far You've Only Made Things Worse 

6. 20.07.07  

7. Winter Overture  

8. Hide and Seek  

9. ...and it Seemed So Bright  

10. Montpellier to Home  

11. Today, Tonight, Tomorrow  

12. Tent City