Swamp Thing - In Shame (Cover Artwork)

Swamp Thing

In Shame (2009)


Swamp Thing share a lot of characteristics with fellow contemporary Richmond, VA band Down to Nothing and Maine's Outbreak. They have the affinity of `80s hardcore that Down to Nothing possesses and have the raspy vocals and the shorter, faster-paced songs Outbreak maintains. This is a simple mixture that pays off well in 13 short, aggressive and lively hardcore tunes. The songs are actually very short. Not like Infest short but, laconic nonetheless. The album clocks in at under 20 minutes, with its longest song being a whopping two minutes and 21 seconds. Though, as stated, the brief song structure matches the style swimmingly.

The first thing I noticed about the album is that Swamp Thing hasn't progressed much since their 2008 EP, The Youth Is Sick. That's understandable, since it hasn't even been a year since that release. Another thing I noticed is that, even though it's been a relatively short amount of time since the EP, not one song from it is re-recorded for the album. I'm never one to complain when something like that happens, but it is refreshing to see that, especially on a debut full-length from a hardcore band.

Looking at the names of the songs, the comparisons to early Outbreak become inevitable. With song titles such as "I Hate This," "It's Our Fault" and "I've Let You Ruin Me," I wouldn't be surprised to hear some gang vocals chanting "You're scum!" on the record. Listening to the record doesn't prove this wrong. So, Outbreak fans should definitely take notice of Swamp Thing.

"Crush" starts the album off with a simple mix of hectic fury and off-the-handle vocals. That is, until the vocalist screams "Murder, murderer!" and the band takes the cue to slow it down, eventually leaving only a lonely bass line in the wake of the echo. The band picks up with a slower pace with subtle ups and downs, until the song reaches its abrupt end.

The songs basically follow in the same progression -- not that it's a bad thing, but if you are doing something else while listening, the album can fade into the background. When focused solely on the album, though, it's quite an enjoyable listen.

The only real problem I had with this album was its lack of variation. Hopefully the band will flesh out their potential a little more and really make an exceptional album.

It's hard to elaborate on an album that can be summed up in just two words: "It rips." I think that captures the essence of what the album is, and even what the band is trying to do. I definitely hear an improvement from last year's EP on this and I really hope the progression stays on course. I can foresee this band being big in the hardcore scene in the near future. So pick up a copy and keep an eye on this band.