Swine Overlord – Parables of Umbral Transcendence

by Brett Stevens
August 5, 2014 –

swine_overlord-parables_of_umbral_transcendence

Deathgrind took the guttural percussive sounds of Suffocation and took them to a place previously reserved for grindcore which was the ultra-primitive lower five frets of the guitar spelling out riff codes in a mathematic of recursion. Swine Overlord inherits this style and tries to give it as much life as possible despite a genre convention being simplistic repetitive vocal rhythms doubled by guitars.

The band keeps their focus on two predominant rhythms per song and works out several textural riff variations for each, then adds a series of pull-away riffs that serve as both break and transition. Ultimately songs remain in roughly the same cycle which they interrupt for effect. Vocals will take most of the focus of the average listener here and are executed in deep bass croaking expulsions that form the primary rhythmic instrument and through inflection cue mood. The problem with this approach is that it emphasizes very basic, almost-sing song rhythms. Vocals bear a passing resemblance to not only Cannibal Corpse but Infester in their tendency toward flared enunciation.

Guitars take a straightforward approach with occasional squeals and breaks but essentially non-stop blasting grindcore-style riffs or percussive speed metal-styled riffs that ride an E chord into a reductive cadence. The challenge to this band comes from the style itself: deathgrind has no rules but by its sonic conventions limits itself to a few general approaches and while Swine Overlord can make these interesting on first listen, Parables of Umbral Transcendence may not appeal to anyone but dedicated listeners of this sub-genre.

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20 comments

  • Richard Head

    What is with two-thirds of all death metal-related album covers looking like garbage since 2000 or so? Whoever came up with that logo did pretty damn fine work but the retarded CG imagery is just… so retarded that it broke my ability to use any other derogatory put-downs.

    1. SwallowedInBlack

      I agree with everything you said except for that bit about the logo; the exact same design is used by every single band in this style, and it really isn’t so great in the first place.

      Again though, I couldn’t agree more about the album art. Aesthetics certainly aren’t everything–or anything, arguably, when it comes time to give a final appraisal–but all the same, most modern covers are about as sterile and soulless as the music. What happened to color? What happened to paint? I’ve not seen a single cover in this style that compares to anything Seagrave or Repka, or hell, even their wannabes and copycats have done in their prime; even cheapo stuff like The Dead Shall Inherit trumps every bland CGI album cover on Century Media/Nuclear Blast fare these days.

      1. Richard Head

        I’m glad you get what I’m saying. Seagrave is a mastermind and I would hang his work all over my walls, buy printed bedsheets and matching pillowcases, etc. As for the logo; I’m a logo designer myself, so I appreciate the complexity, unique shape, and symmetry in this one. Many in the same style are total garbage, and this one looks bad because of the corny looking metallic texture applied with some digital image editor. Otherwise it’s pretty cool. I dig the really organic look, as if the letters were made up of a mess of plant roots, fungus, spider webs or some other such brootal nonsense.

  • IBTINL

    These deathgrind reviews always seem to pick around the content and artistic motives of the genre by discussing the techniques employed instead. I love death metal, and all I get from this stuff on a chipper day is a dull, matte-finish sensation. On a dismal day, it is repulsive, foreign, ugly, addictively miserable. I imagine the artists to be dangerous blockheaded motherfuckers.

    1. Richard Head

      How can you infer such a thing about the dudes who play in this (and other death/grind) band(s)? Your imagination might be running away with you.

      Anyway, I totally understand what you mean about how being in a foul mood makes this kind of music almost painful to hear.

      As for the method of reviewing this kind of music: The reviewers are usually left with little to talk about aside from technique because that’s all this music is. It’s like a Rube Goldberg machine; loads of wacky, forced-to-fit parts all in this complex but highly liner arrangement that ends up only completing a very simple task in the end. It is an example of form before function, rather than function necessitating form, as in black metal or old grindcore.

  • IBTINL

    P.S.: I didn’t mean to take such an accusatory tone with my previous comment, in fact I see no plausible reason why the author would EVADE talking about the content of deathgrind. The motive is beyond me; I was just pointing out the lack of discussion on this and trying to fill it in with my two cents.

  • EDS

    The late 90’s and early 2000’s had way better deathgrind and brutal death metal acts than today. The stuff today is a pale echo of that era. Again, only if your into the sub-genre of brutal death metal and deathgrind. Disgorge (US), Disgorge (mex), Brodequin, Deeds of Flesh (DMU approved), Sulaco, Decrepit Birth (debut), and Alienation Mental all have good material. They and a few others evading my memory currently, destroy many of the acts mentioned here on DMU over the last few years.

  • Noktorn of the metal archives

    Ok guyz stop fighting. Have yall heard the band Cradle of Filth wit their ep Vempire or Dark Faerytales in Phallustein ?????
    check it out now its killer black grind at its best !!!!!! please dont let this classic disc remain unnoticed and spread the word.

  • BrennendesGehirn

    I think this posting is the work of a cunning mind. Those who reveal themselves with a frenzy of masturbatory praise for this band will be banned from the site.

    I’m not convinced that the reviewer is really a fan either. Fuck the logo too. It’s illegibility is like the music. No matter how hard you strain your eyes or ears, there is nothing of interest here.

  • pinger

    Hey there! who among you believes in these guys, have they got what it takes to make it to a top 5 one day?

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