Review: Geist – Swarming Season 8.6

  • Geist
  • Swarming Season
  • Sludge/Metal/Hardcore
  • England
  • September 20, 2019
  • 8.6/10

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Geist are another sludgy treat hailing from the UK – the birthplace of doom. Their 5th release Swarming Season releases on the 20th September, 2019 but found its way to my inbox early, so thanks! You can pre-order it here. This is bone crushing finger pointing noisey disgusting fucking sludge metallic hardcore. A style that often pairs unique presentation and song-writing while also facilitating the harshest of mosh pits. Whether you like hardcore or metal or even mathcore, it doesn’t matter here because you’ll recognise the primal beats innately, or maybe you’ll feel nothing and you’re a poser. Jk.

Artwork by cvspe
Matt – Guitar, Luke – Bass, Ian – Vocals, Dave – Guitar, Jacque – Drums

The most notable thing to me is that the guitars don’t feel typical for the genre, they instead take on older and more metal influences rather than metalcore or hardcore. We’re hearing more chord progressions with solos than breakdowns and downstrokes. It’s similar to 2018’s Mire by Conjurer which also leaned heavily on the sludge/doom metal side of things. Clearly there is a Converge influence as well but that can be said for all of the bands that use despondent noise and feedback, though Geist are definitely showing restraint in that department.

The first two tracks start loud but are definitely burying the lead. Things really start to pick up at the end of the second track “Western Medicine” where some Mike Patton with Dillinger-esque vocal delivery comes in, real fast but measured perfectly. The tracks following bring a lot more musical variety and transitions to each track along with some huge vocals. A lot of power and projection behind the mixing and mic. The obscure genre tag of thrashcore comes to mind from time to time.

What I consider a weakness of the album is the tonal shifts where parts of the album will be upbeat kind of meloriffery and some tracks which lean more towards melancholy and despair. I know that’s how it works with the concept but for me the darker parts were the highlight, the sludge aspect is what they do best. It captures my attention every time whereas the faster upbeat parts have to battle for my attention span. The music often sounds like its forming around riffs rather than following the story-telling of the vocalist. I’m not sure if this will matter to many people however.

With that said this album has the potential to hit a lot of end of year lists, it will definitely appeal to heavy music nerds and general fans of Code Orange, Converge, Conjurer or Centurion’s Ghost. There’s always going to be someone craving noisy-angry and Swarming Season will definitely provide that. The vocals are surprisingly accessible with no real extreme music techniques used, just effective yelling, kind of like Bane (Looove Don’t Wait Up). The instruments are often abrasive but without ever losing sight of the rhythm of the song, they are also no stranger to refrain.

A solid release even in the face of fierce competition this year.

8.6

Preorder link

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