There are many ways to retread the same formula and many ways to be inventive and interesting. SteeleSwarm a Sydney 3 piece band has managed to do just that in this their first full-length outing. Formed in 2014 the EP Ultimate offering was all that we got from these lads up till now. Hard touring up and down the country has honed their sound. Where do they sit in the many varied and wonderful world of metal? They are according to their blurb and reviews Progressive metal. I would have to say I agree in as much as they push the boundaries of technicality and virtuosity, There are many layers to each of their songs beautifully crafted and clinically layered, all the instruments shine bright in the mix. Very evident is the furious pace at which each track moves, there is no time for rest just when you have caught your breath on marches another one.
The standout to me was Future Gods it opens and in a typical progressive move, it has skipped from one-time signature to another and back again, then onto some swing and what I would call metal SALSA in the first 40 seconds. Let’s not forget to mention what the bass is doing in this song WOW. It just punches you straight in the gut steals your wallet and heads off to the pub with it. For a 3-piece band, these young men really are bringing experimental metal to a different level. I have for a very long time now admired Ne Obliviscaris Melbourne based progressive death metal band. I may have found a second outfit to play alongside Tim and the boys when I feel the need for Technical proficiency.
With great ability comes a price and sometimes the substance and soul of the music can be lost in what we termed back in the 70’s Widdly Diddly (often used for bloated Keyboard based Progressive rock i.e. YES and ELP). When you intellectualize something as base and raw as rock n roll things can go a little off the rails. Here the boys have kept it tightly on track no derailment insight, it is a well-honed album that sweats from the effort that the guys have put in over the years. For me, a lover of classic 70’s experimental bands and HEAVY metal this like NE Obliviscaris is a real treat. For whatever reason here in Australia we have produced 2 of the worlds best. Now you may notice I have not mentioned the likes of Opeth and Dream Theater and for good reason. I said right at the start there are many ways to retread and reinvent music. And this is most defiantly one of them. It would be unfair to put such a greatly gifted group into a box. Iron Maiden from the Seventh Son onwards is a Progressive band but you WOULD not say they are the same as STEELESWARM.
So, in conclusion, go out there treat yourself to some different music open up your mind and let the good stuff flow DO NOT WORRY thrash heads this stuff is heavy no its not easy to bang to but if you make the effort you will be rewarded.
Release Year: 2020
Reviewed by Tony Evans