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Switchblade

Switchblade [2012]

(Denovali; US: 23 Oct 2012; UK: 21 Sep 2012)

Switchblade [2012] was recently nominated for a Swedish Grammy alongside other heavy fare from fellow citizens Graveyard and Witchcraft. In terms of sheer concussive weight alone, the sixth self-titled LP from sludgy doom duo Switchblade thoroughly deserves the win. It’s a hulking, altogether bruising edifice. Think Burning Witch by way of latter-day Celtic Frost (albeit one stoned out of its gourd).


Drummer Tim Bertilsson and guitarist Johan Folkesson are purveyors of droning, sinister crawls, unafraid to slather on the viscous sludge and eccentricity. The new album also features the Hammond organ of ex-Opeth keyboardist Per Wiberg and vocalists such as Katatonia’s Jonas Renkse to add sonic variance and flesh out Switchblade’s spacious sound. The three 10-minute-plus tracks (“Movement 1, 2 and 3”) mix often bare-boned and portentous riffing with elongated, groove-laden churns. The entire album drips with a syrupy, devilish disposition, and the glacial space between notes plays as strong a role as the thickness of tone, which, as it happens, is ladled on with staggeringly heavy relish.

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Craig Hayes is based in Aotearoa New Zealand, and he is a contributing editor and columnist at PopMatters. Alongside his reviews and feature articles, Craig's monthly column, Ragnarök, traverses the metal spectrum. He is the co-author of PopMatters' regular metal round-up, Mixtarum Metallum, contributes to radio shows and numerous other sites, and he favours music that clangs, bangs, crashes, or drones. Craig can be found losing followers daily on twitter @sixnoises.


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