SWANSONG – AWAKENING
LABEL: Noble Demon
RELEASE: December 1st, 2023
AUTHOR: Matthew McCune
01. Burning Flames
04. Shot In The Heart
05. Frost Of Winter
06. Maiden Of Death
07. One With The Waves
09. Blood Widow
10. Fight Or Die
11. Fury Of The Witch
Cold weather have you down? Need a pick me up in the form of a melodic death metal cacophony of addicting and catchy tunes that will warm up your world instantly? Look no further than SWANSONG’s debut album “Awakening” to perfectly melt into your frozen soul this November.
Formed in 2019, SWANSONG promises to “combine beautiful and brutal” and for my money, they perfectly do so. When I started writing this review, I was in dire need of a caffeinated beverage to get me through the morning, but all of those jittery dreams flew out the window when I heard opening track “Burning Flames”. Holy smokes does this thing deliver jaw-dropping, face-melting, spine-busting shots of pure energy. The melodic riffs throughout this tour-de-force remind me of 80s neoclassical metal, arpeggiating perfectly as the rhythm section commands your headphones to run at a marathon pace. Vocalist Jemiina Helloise keeps that brutal side of the brutal/beautiful dichotomy intact while we revel in the beauty of the melodious guitar work of Topi Pitkänen and Finn Widdow.
“Become” follows the opening track with an epic sensibility that keeps the intensity rolling. With guitar harmonies as far as the eye can see, shades of 80s guitar virtuosity pop their beautiful heads above the thick layer of brutality. “Furiosa” (maybe inspired by the character from the Mad Max film franchise) focuses on that pedal-to-the-metal speed that blisters fingers and keeps headbangers happy.
The one-two punch of tracks such as “Shot In The Heart” and “Frost Of Winter” are just as intense and melodic but add different layers of complexity such as thrash-inspired riffs on the latter and playing with tempos on the former.
“Maiden Of Death” has one of the most interesting textual complexities as the melody of the guitars shriek with the vocals, an interesting sonic feature that combines the vocals and guitar lines perfectly.
“One With The Waves” and “Awakening” don’t disappoint or let down the audience while “Blood Widow” starts with such a blood-curdling scream that I nearly spilt my coffee while writing this review. The penultimate “Fight Or Die” gives some breathing room to the listener by giving us the option to either fight or die which ends with such a gnarly repeating of the title that hopefully will make you want to fight, rather than die.
The raw power evident throughout the album is mere child’s play when compared the standout track that closes the album entitled “Fury Of The Witch”. Pulling out all the tricks for the farewell on the album, the textures and idiosyncrasies that we’ve heard throughout the entire runtime of the album all come together in a beautiful and brutal cocktail of intense concentration and stunning hooks that kept me hitting repeat to listen over-and over.
SWANSONG gives an amazing collection of tracks that does not let down on their debut release. The intensity doesn’t let up, and this album really boils down to pure, unadulterated melodic fun. If that’s what you’re looking for, please pick up their debut album and be unashamed of the joy it will bring you.