Swordwielder – Grim Visions of Battle

Swordwielder album cover


The first album released by this Hawaiian label (which means ‘Blood Cube’ in spanish) was the stratospheric entrée from stoner doom duo Vulgaari. Whilst their second full-length printing doesn’t quite match the resonating magnificence of that release, this debut offering from crusty swedes Swordwielder shows enough to prove that the company knows a good tune when it hears one.


Sounds of black and crust are to the fore in Grim Visions of Battle (Cubo de Sangre), but there’s a strong current of doom also, evinced in the funereal onsets of opener ‘World Funeral’ and the ball breaking ‘Out Of Hades’. There are some nice lead flurries with that of Shadow underpinning the track beautifully, whilst the mysterious voice (there is a distinct lack of information about band members anywhere on the web) has a throaty, obsidian roar akin to Horna’s Spellgoth without the emphysemic wheezing. Melodic riffs often enhance the evil elements, giving new life and mystery to ‘…Hades’, whose structures incorporate a punk sensibility alongside some dictatorial stickwork which never quite reaches blastbeat status, whilst galloping, screaming leads whip the track to its close. It’s this variation which lends an air of intrigue and prevents this from becoming just another black album. The bass and drum combination leading ‘Force Of Nature’ opens into one of those punk undercurrents, interspersed by a brief, dazzling lead and with that voice spitting a burning evil, whilst the band show their dark roots in ‘Fields Of Genocide’; all rapacious fury with a veering riff. There’s real emotion in the soft, aching start to the often savage yet ominous closer ‘With My Dying Breath I Curse This World’: a track as dramatic and grandiose as its title would suggest, and indicative of the desolate visions Swordwielder wish to invoke.


It’s been a good start to 2014 for those enjoying a crust-filled darkness, with this release showing form in the wake of a sterling offering from Brit black-punks Cultfinder. There’s more work to do if this Gothenburg quintet desires greatness, but the invention accompanying the standard black sound shows there’s plenty to look forward to.



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