Like much of the Bridge Nine roster, Dead Swans temper traditional hardcore with contemporary influences and a personal voice. While their first two releases sometimes veered into bro-core territory — using metallic double-bass patterns and mile-thick guitar crunch to little avail — these U.K. boys play to their strengths on Sleepwalkers. Nick Worthington’s emotive throat-shredding — a mixture of nervous-breakdown desperation and raw everyman rage — allows Dead Swans to transcend the single-minded hardcore notion of anger. Of course, the sonic canvas Worthington paints his tales of frustration and disillusionment on is more than a plain, morbid black. The guitars construct a fortress-like wall of distortion, then rip through that wall with jagged, shimmering melody lines and chaotic gear-jamming shrieks. Throw in a rhythm section that can do more than just gallop and hammer out mosh-ready half-times, and you’ve got an inventive hardcore band with room to grow. In a genre known for adhering to tradition, that’s saying a lot.
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