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Black Swamp Water – Awakening

Black Swamp Water
Awakening
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 28 September 2021, 10:25 AM

From their EPK, “new music genres are created for marketing purposes. When you define a style with a pompous name, you create an "audience" which a band can apply to when claiming that musical genre. However, the audience eventually realizes the gimmick and gets fed up with all the bands playing the same music with the lack of soul and lack of authenticity. This is where BLACK SWAMP WATER from Denmark gets in. Their musical approach may be simple to read, but the old-school Hard Rock and Heavy Metal blend they make, with obvious references to bands such as Black Sabbath, grabs you by the balls and won't let you go that easily.” Their latest release here titled “Awakening” contains nine tracks.

“Roll Over” leads off the album. The music isn’t necessarily an ode to SABBATH, but is more of an energetic set of hooks, with a raspy lead singer, and a fixation on the chorus as a way to feature the catchy elements of the album as strongly as possible. “Showdown” begins with a dirty riff with drums and bass working together, holding down the bottom end. So far, the band has managed some catchy hooks, but hasn’t really shown much of their own personality here. “Endless War” features some opening fancy drum work, and a down and dirty riff. The slower nature of the riff here allows some more SABBATH influence to come through, though Bill Ward never played with that much intensity.

“Send Me Away” begins with semi-clean guitars and semi-clean vocals of Bjorn. He is more emotional here as well. Though the music doesn’t place too many demands on him, he responds with a fairly impressive range and technique. “Better Days” has some nice hooks and a chorus full of melody and harmonies, but the main riff is just too simple for me, and does not build that base that you are looking to put hooks on top of. “Disappoint Me” is a slower, more grinding song that relies on a good deal of solemn and downtrodden tones. The extended instrumental passage does little to improve the heavier sound here. Hooks are not quite enough to carry the album.

“Children of the Grave” is indeed a BLACK SABBATH cover song. They do a fairly decent job of breathing life into this classical song, but the simple riffing is hard to overcome, and what they don’t quite have is the power that SABBATH had in their music. “Now that I Know” is yet another fairly easily forgettable track, with some strong drum work, but not much else. “Hammer you Down” closes the album, with another mid-tempo song that really fails to get off the ground. The chorus is strong, but that’s about it.

Unfortunately, what we have here is just a re-issue of riffs from yesteryear, and without a lot the band’s personality. I also disagree with their opening statement that “new genres” are “created” for marketing purposes. I think that new genres are created so that the entire collective of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal music does not get old, but rather keeps evolving. Bands like BLACK SWAMP WATER are living too much in the past. The production is nice, but this style of music has been done, overdone, and overdone again and again.

Songwriting: 4
Musicianship: 5
Memorability: 3
Production: 8

2 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Roll Over
2. Showdown
3. Endless War
4. Send Me Away
5. Better Days
6. Disappoint Me
7. Children of The Grave
8. Now That I Know
9. Hammer You Down
Lineup:
Bjørn Bølling Nyholm – Vocals
Jan Geert – Guitar
Thomas Roland – Guitar
Jeppe Birch Friis – Bass
Kim Langkjær Jensen – Drums
Record Label: Mighty Music
     


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