All Hail The Sword

This Gift Is A Curse

First of all, I like the double meaning of both the band name as well […]
By Johnny Jackal
January 1, 2016
This Gift Is A Curse - All Hail The Swinelord album cover

First of all, I like the double meaning of both the band name as well as the album name. speaks about the duality of good and evil, there will always good in bad and bad in good. As for ALL HAIL THE SWINELORD, in pagan beliefs, the swine is revered and sacred but in many cultures, it is considered as profane. I have known about this band for a little while. They are making a name for themselves and with having Season of Mist as their record label, it helps a lot as for the exposure. Season of Mist has given us a lot of great stuff in the last twenty years and never failed to deliver with newer bands. The fact that they are an independent label is quite important and they give a lot of breaks to a lot of bands, new and old. Usually most Black Metal bands have raw production but this release sounds great and it shows they took their time to master the album. We are far and above the earlier Extreme Black Metal Bands from the early to mid 90's, yet it still holds that particular Black Metal sound and general feeling of pure chaos.

Well half of the album ("Swinelord", "Rites", "New Temples", and "We Use Your Dead As Vessels") is Pure Black Metal, reminds me on the old MAYHEM and EMPEROR stuff. It's straight to the point shrieking vocals and double-bass drumming at its finest. Nothing original but it makes you wanna mosh in your living room with your friends. It's fast, hard and violent, just like a good old mosh at your favorite Metal band show.The rest of the album covers a lot of different styles of music. We can see a lot of influences from Doom Metal, Prog Metal and Groove Metal as well. They do not limit themselves to the Black Metal Genre at all.

The third song from the album is "Rites". This song reminds me a lot of what is done in Experimental Prog Metal, like BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME. The song is very complex and quite chaotic but its directionless and incoherent. It definitely has that Black Metal style but it's the most unorthodox song on this album, it's quite a departure from both of the opening songs. The fourth song is "XI: For I Am The Fire" and is the second slowest song on the album (the last song on the album is the slowest). This is very influenced by Doom Metal and reminds me a lot of the pioneers of this genre like Sweden's CANDLEMASS, WITCHCRAFT, or even some early PENTAGRAM. It has that heavy and thick sound with some really higher guitar-tuning. But compared to what is usually done in Doom Metal, we still have Jonas A. Holmberg screeching vocals compared to the clean vocals we usually have. "Hanging Feet" is quite the departure from anything else on this album. It starts with a very long and beautiful drum solo (actually it sounds like Kettle Drums). It reminds me so much of what Nathan Opposition does in the first two ANCIENT WISDOM albums. The rest of the song does sound a little like that band and it's my personal favorite on this album.

"Old Lies" actually has mostly clean vocals, and it's great to hear the guy sing his heart out. He doesn't need to scream to show some emotion! The guy has a pretty good voice and he shows some of his range on this song. It's the grooviest song on the album, it really has that PANTERA feeling about it and it really is a great change of pace. "Askradare'' is the last song on the album as well as the longest song on it. It starts with a Horror Movie-esque ambiance, like those old Vincent Price movies! It actually ends with some Choir Chants which is quite weird to be perfectly honest. This is the slowest song on the album, it's bonecrushingly slow. It's classic Doom Metal, show and methodical. The album finished on a high note with this song and they show that they can do a lot of different styles and make them mesh to make a very good album. A definite must-buy!

7 / 10


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"All Hail The Sword" Track-listing:

1. Swinelord
2. New Temples
3. Rites
4. XI: For I Am The Fire
5. Hanging Feet
6. Old Lies
7. We Use Your Dead as Vessels
8. Askradare

This Gift Is A Curse Lineup:

Jonas A. Holmberg - Vocals
Patrick Andersson - Vocals & Guitars
Lars Gunnarsson - Bass
Johan Nordlund - Drums

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