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Swampborn – Beyond Ratio

Beyond Ratio
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 03 August 2022, 6:47 AM

The visual design of this release is conceptual, filled with metaphysical hints and allusions. Illustrations for each track reflect and deepen their themes, while the cover and inner art reveal reflections on every day and beyond, transient and eternal, passed through the prisms of micro- and macrocosm. Enigmatic titles of songs unfold the lyrical themes of "Beyond Ratio" - existential horror, decay of urban life and metaphysical death of the soul. The album contains six tracks.

“Entropie” is the first. The tones her are one-part desperation and another part anger, although the anger burns brighter. Complex rhythms are developed with a steady dose of background elements that are truly harrowing. The vocals lie somewhere between traditional Black Metal and Death Metal, and the lead guitar work is very strong. “Aspiration a l'Absolu” begins with dark electronic tones and pulsing drum beats, opening up to a hasty pace, thick with guitars and bass. The accordion notes approaching the half-way mark are almost jovial, and what a juxtaposition from the other elements of the song.

“Augoeides” is longer, and explores more of these themes of horror, urban life and death of the soul. Hatred and anger are traversed, as you consider the confines of your existence. It rages until a slower sound develops at the half-way mark, with heavy piano notes that weigh on your soul. The anger bubbling up inside then comes out and you can’t control it. “Sleepingstatic” begins with depressing saxophone notes that really but against the cold and sterile sounds of the song. Heavy, pulsing rhythms in the guitars wipe the sax notes clean off the map, and some mesmerizing bass and lead notes play together in a macabre dance. Again, the contrast is very stark.

“Transitions” is a more mysterious number. Sad trumpet notes combine with thick bass in the opening, followed by a heavier sound with steadfast drumming. Embittered tones are heightened. The trumpet notes return again at the end, but with a stalwart resolve. The lengthy “Muscarum” closes the album. The opening strings sound as bleak and dejected as “The Rains of Castamere.” Lead guitar joins in, furthering the hopeless sound. The ending sounds are about as disheartening as anything you have heard this year. You begin to ponder your existence, and with each deeper look it’s like peering into the abyss, and what is reflected is completely joyless. As the song lingers on, so does your wavering indecision. Before long, you close the door on your future, and let your dreams die.

This album is a dismal and morbid take on life, but it’s a fair and honest representation. Take a look inside yourself, and your life. Is it really that great? You rise the same time every morning, and head to work for much of your day. By the time you get home at night, you are equally hungry and tired. Maybe you watch a little TV after dinner, and fall asleep on the couch, only to rise again and repeat everything ad nauseam. Is this really life?

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Entropie
2. Aspiration a l'Absolu
3. Augoeides
4. Sleepingstatic
5. Transitions
6. Muscarum
Rgrd – All instruments
Sur – Vocals
Record Label: Hypnotic Dirge Records


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