Dead Swans - Anxiety And Everything Else EP (2012)

Dead Swans are a long time favourite band of mine. Ever since Southern Blue I loved how they managed to create a perfect balance between melodic and heavy, and that (along with the top notch lyrics and passionate vocals) is what sets them apart from the rest of the bands playing the genre. They are also capable of bringing the intensity of their music over to their live shows, which are a must if you're into energetic live performances.

If you were worried if they were still able to produce the blistering hardcore they used to after a year of silence (they played no live shows and no new music was released) the opening track called "I've Been Trying To Leave" will crush your doubts immediately. From the first notes, you know this is them going back to their rawest stuff (Southern Blue-era) and just picking right back up where they left off. Fast, no nonsense hardcore with melodic hints and a perfectly placed "hardcore-breakdown" later you're already headnodding along .It's a pleasure to hear his desperate screams again after all this time. 

The second songs starts off slow and clean before bursting open in a heavy and melodic intro part that smoothly rolls into the rest of the song. With the first song behind us and after hearing this intro I'm more than convinced Dead Swans are back, and better than ever. This song also has a fantastic bass part where you can imagine people going wild all over the place at live shows. 

So we arrive at "Dead Until Dark" , this song just blasts off right where the previous one left off and keeps the energy flowing that was built up before. It sounds a bit like the previous one, a fast song with loads of energy that ends in a slower part where the song fades out (only to pass on to the next song, which is one of my favourites).

Starting off slow, and because of this following the slower ending of the previous song smoothly, one of my favourite tracks of the album starts off. "Keep Them Shut" was released a while back as a first single, and at the time I wasn't too impressed with it. It was only when I began listening to it more closely and focused, trying to figure out the lyrics that I became convinced this was an awesome song. The passion and emotion in this song are immense, and this is a track that displays what Dead Swans is about perfectly : they play no nonsense hardcore, full of heart and passion, with a huge live potential.

"Since Day One" is one of those awesome "interlude" tracks, where melody gets the upper hand and the slow tempo combined with the distant screams create a very specific, haunting mood.

After the cool interlude we get a track that appears to be exactly like the ones before but because of clever use of melody in the background this song actually gets a very unique feel to it. Despite it's short length (all songs clock in under three minutes) this song is one of my favourites on this release, it has these subtle details in it that makes it stand out from the rest.

I think they wanted to return to their rawer roots as a band and believe the return of the term "Southern Blue" is an indication of this. It appeared on their recent merch and they named the last track on this EP to it, plus since they returned to the studio where they recorded "Southern Blue" it's pretty apparent they wanted to return to the rawness and heaviness of their first EP. They end the run with the aforementioned track on the same note as the rest of the tracks, with some fast, heavy hardcore full of passion and energy.

Is there nothing bad to be said about this release? Well, there is the fact that the songs are pretty short but on the other hand I don't really see this as a problem. The strength of the songs is that they don't drag on and on but are short and powerful and by this they maintain the energy. Another remark is that the songs tend to sound the same, but that's just Dead Swans and simply what they do. They make short, passionate and energetic songs; that lend themselves perfect for a fun and very enjoyable live show. 

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By Enzo ~ Me Gusta Reviews



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