Fhtagn nagh Yog by Stewart Voegtlin
Yesha, this old, pissed off, fat guy finds solace with contemporary Death Metal only played by young, piss-their-pants Scandinavians, and played without fucking shred of reverence for what’s in the history books. Swallowed is one such band (as is Krypts, and Morbus Chron [see C&B#2]). Motherfuckers share distinction of “sounding like” a lot of wildly disparate bands, and yet “sounding like” none of them. Head scratcher! Their core “sound” is Bushido-like tempered rage, and their songs can, and do, oscillate from ponderous chasm slides to nail-your-peckerto- plywood screamers. Yes, hamsterbrains, I said “Bushido-like.” Most powerful shit? It connects to your past. Makes a home in your head. When I listen to Swallowed I put it with a job I worked one summer cleaning out low-rent, abandoned apartments, while the contractor bulldozed and wrecking ball’d others, making room for upscale living. It was the dog days of August, nearly 100 degrees. Apartments smelled like what I imagined corpses to reek of, maybe worse. Fridges? Fuckin alive with worms. Floors burned, hacked up, crusted with dogshit, used condoms, food, other unidentifiable shit.
Close by, the wrecking ball crushed cheap walls, blasted sheet rock to powder, splintered wood, crashed glass. This is what Swallowed “sounds like.” Neglect. Expiration. Shit-the-bed destruction. So there you have it. Low-rent apartment Death Metal. Earnest fucking discussion pending on this new subgenre. But perhaps to tide you over, talk of dead bees, Finnish beer, the razor’s edge, and Yod invocation courtesy of Swallowed’s Samu Salovaara (guitar/vocals) and Ville Kojonen (drums/vocals). Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn: mind the wrecking ball, son.
Heard the 7” first, and thought Swallowed took Autopsy’s “In the Grip of Winter” vibe and tore it to pieces, especially on “Black Phlegm” and “The Dying Misted In The Blood.” (Then I checked Epitaph of Nauseation out and saw you guys had covered the fuckin song…) What made you guys decide to really slam on the brakes and stretch out songs to where they almost became akin to Thergothon or Khanate instead of traditional Death Metal?
Ville Kojonen: Guess cause we we’re listening to stuff like that. And I suppose that kind of avenue seems fresh. But we are not like this art Doom band like most things on Southern Lord. We are into good songs with gravity but also with complexity, if you understand. We still like Demilich and that stuff. We are conscious of all kinds of different parts and how they affect the feel of the whole.
The EP sounds almost nothing like the two demos. What prompted this new direction, and has Swallowed abandoned the demo material?
Samu Salovaara: It was a natural development as we began to realize what we wanted to do with the band and started to seek our own paths instead of worshiping someone else’s creations. I’m not saying we deny our influences. I’m sure you can still hear some Autopsy here and there. We have never played our first demo live and only “Horrifying Visions” and “Epitaph of Nauseation” have been included in our set list. But we haven’t played those in a very long time either.
VK: Yeah I suppose we like such stuff as the first Unholy record, disEMBOWEMENT. That sort of thing. We like records as a whole, so we are into making a fat slab of Doom. A record that takes like an hour to listen to that’s fucking evil. We are heavily facing extermination with everything old, let’s not move too fast though, hopefully. Razors edge, you dig? We don’t move; we stand still.
Excerpt from Chips & Beer #3
New Album in October