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TRACK LIST: 1. The Drought 6:33 2. Fold 5:30 3. The Rope and the Pole 5:42 4. Regret 4:16 5. Waterfall Walls 1:32 6. Becoming One 5:02 7. Her Last Song 5:54 8. Zani Norp 1:32 9. The Groove System 4:54 10. Questions Unanswered 6:07 11. Inadequate Mind 5:51 LINEUP: Cisco guitars Nick vocals Adam bass Alex drums
Prolusion. The US quartet SWIM THE MIND has been around for a couple of years now and is apparently an active live unit in their local area. "Waterfall Walls" is their debut album and was self-released in early 2011.
Analysis. The main challenge when writing material that reflects one's influences directly is to make such efforts of a high enough quality to stand out, despite the very nature of the sound explored. It is a challenge hard to master, and at this stage US act Swim The Mind appears to need some further development, be it to direct themselves further away from their current path or towards compositions that make more of an impact when recorded. Their debut album is a pleasant enough experience as such, actually, the main flaw being a few songs are stretched out just a tad too long. But their take on progressive metal is one that has been explored by many others previously and compared to them the songs just don't stand out in any manner. Slow-paced affairs, with drawling lead vocals of a kind that do remind the listener ever so slightly of Kurt Cobain, and with a dark, brooding guitar sound that conjures up inevitable associations with bands like Soundgarden, but generally slower in pace and not as intense. Swim The Mind does write material with plentiful of subtle alterations in pace and energy; they construct themes and develop them; or move along to a different sequence very much in the manner of a progressively-oriented act, most often by subtle alterations, with a tendency to favour a build-up of intensity, initially sporting more of a dampened expression by way of less distorted or undistorted guitar patterns gradually replaced by dark and richly flavored guitar riffs, rather often subtly quirky in nature, frequently as circulating patterns when not. The occasional intensely shouted vocal parts have their place, as does the lightly psychedelic flavoring of instrumental parts, the latter often with a nod or two in the direction of stoner rock. The main sound explored is closer to grunge and alternative metal however, with a liberal amount of passages drawing upon inspiration from bands like Tool as the major secondary element. I presume that Swim The Mind is a treat to watch in a live setting, as their songs have that feeling of being of a type well-adjusted for live performances. As recorded compositions they aren't that impressive yet: pleasant music that will find favor amongst ardent fans of their chosen sound and approach but with a presumably limited appeal outside of it.
Conclusion. Swim The Mind appears to be a band residing at the intersection between alternative metal, grunge and progressive metal on this initial foray of theirs into the world of recording artists. A nice enough production, and for those who have albums by bands such as Soundgarden and Tool sitting side by side in the favorite part of their music collection they will most likely be a pleasant acquaintance. A fine band, but still very much in the earlier stages of their development as I regard them.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: November 12, 2011
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