Svärd – “The Rift” EP (Argonauta Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Featuring Tim Nedergård (Guitars, Vocals), Björn Pettersson (Guitars, Vocals) and Pierre Stam (Bass, Vocals) of Swedish melodic death band In Mourning, together with Cornelius Althammer (Drums) of German funeral doomsters Ahab, Svärd is the band forged from a friendships of over 10 years, the result being this heavy as f–k five song EP with the promise of a full length album in the not too distant future! Mixed and mastered by Jonas Kjellgren (Sabaton, Hypocrisy, In Mourning, October Tide, Amorphis, etc), the supercharged sound on “The Rift” is befitting the powering metal laid out by this lock downed quartet, who, while drawing influences from their own bands, have boldly forged their own style for Svärd rooted in the high octane metal of High On Fire, Pantera and Maiden. Indeed, following the intro of ‘Hallowed Grounds’, Phil Anselmo like roars collide with hefty riffs and pounding drums to create a weighty groove on ‘A Rift In The green’, although the equally melodic presence wailing out its soul that makes this as song appetising as it is intense. Crashing in on ‘Palaeocene Flames’ through Althammer’s hammering beats and smashing cymbals, the massive, chugging sound is roaring to match along with some nice alternating vocal trade-offs between the band, as guitars mixing NWOBHM styled melodies add the final pleasing touch. As things get wilder in ‘The Burning Asylum’, expect exotic sounds along with tons of dense power riffage from the twin guitars, along with hoarse and shouted out vocals to match, while the contrast of ambient trippy axe wails provides a momentary lull before the all-out headbang towards the end. Closing with 9 minutes of ‘The Portal’, initially soothing psych ambiance through sitar like guitars is shattered by slow, dark power riffing and gargantuan bass, then followed by a faster groove laced with plenty of warbling melodies before ending in a space rock head bang of galactic proportions, proving there’s not just a lot going on here, but that it’s done as nicely as possible too!