The fresh take on extreme and death/crust metal style proves that the younger generation has their own methodical approach to this sub-genre: from the drastic effects of boss HM-2 of the Swedish death metal to 80’s crust punk intensity. The Estonian band Swarn delivers one of the highlight albums of the year 2019. With one EP released in 2017 the Northern European death squad releases an impressive debut album under the banner of Redefining Darkness Records and Raw Skull Recordz. What grabs me most about this record is the massive tone of the guitar and the blackened influences, triggered by the rhythm guitar along with hardcore and punk elements.
These two aspects make Black Flame Order a valuable album worthy of adding to your death metal collection. Startlingly the band has constructed a solid foundation by releasing this album. The opening track Mental Inbreeding emphasizes on the Swedish death metal tonality. The aggressive tone and the old school sound surround all ten tracks on the album. The solid inspiration from early Dismember and Grave is professionally displayed here. With the old school impulses that makes this record very well-structured: from the faster pace to the slow and dreary moments executed by the rhythm guitar and the high concentration of the drums.
Black Flame Order isn’t that kind of album that brings many variations into the tracks, though there are inclinations towards creating a darker and morbid atmosphere throughout the album. For instance, Emptied and Silenced is expressed with the intention of creating an evil atmosphere. By all means Swarn aren’t mimics and the musical exhibition doesn’t resemble the current trend of death metal bands either. There is a solid and gritty performance and the album includes many great tracks. The core of the tracks involves high quality guitar riffs and loudly executed drums. On the fourth track The Otherness you can hear the blackened influences being widely demonstrated. The melodic passages are impressively created by the guitars and shows how the band has found the right compositions to insert them into the song structure.
Swarn mainly uses the crust influences and d-beat to add a sense of dynamism into the music and they seem very effective. Apart from the rhythm guitar you can hear some lead guitar that is featured in many tracks on the album. Although this may not be the first experimental attempt to merge crust/punk elements and hardcore, Swarn has successfully established its own sound. The songs somehow fit very well in the mid-tempo style. The only drawback of this debut is that the track duration is shorter than expected and makes you crave for more. Albeit of the identical song structure the band presents many satisfying songs like Black Flame Order” & “Enter the Depths. The sheer power of the guitar riffs and the gloomy melodies provides the hook to the music in general. With drums sounding energetic and in your face, boosting the dynamics and also allowing the guitar to entertain the listener.
It’s not surprising that the band has turned its focus on the Swedish death metal style. And despite of this fact Swarn delves deeply into the domains of crusty metal as well. The rotten intensity of d-beat and crust punk is boosted with faster tempos. Without losing the sense of concentration the trio shows a great sense of discipline. Labyrinth of Amygdala contains bleak moments. On this track the drums and the guitar are highly engaged. Black Flame Order is a raw death metal record in its crudest form. The final three tracks have a different tone from the previous ones, for example Molluscian Fever & Midnight Hunter are both volatile and combustible.
The sudden switch to d-beat and distorted guitar riffs has a different tone. Midnight Hunger is heavily distorted and groovy and can be described as one of their more twisted tracks. The punk and hardcore influences are strongly included into these two songs. As for the final track Enlightenment from the Dark, it features intensive d-beat and loud drum beats. The track is embedded with effective rhythm guitar and sullen growls. Swarn has brought some varied styles into their debut album and respectively the Estonian trio’s musical work feels integrated. The debut is blended with elements of old school death metal making this debut worthy of your consideration.