Sweven
The Eternal Resonance

Unless you’ve somehow stumbled upon our site looking for affordable dentistry, then you have likely heard of Death. The band, that is. As someone with a Leprosy tattoo, one could say I hold the band in high esteem. I’m sure many other metalheads agree. The reason I even mention the name is because of Morbus Chron, who released the critically acclaimed Sweven in 2014. Some of those critics hailed it as the type of metal Death’s Chuck Schuldiner would be releasing if he were still alive today. That is some hype… but it’s also nonsense. If Chuck were alive today, he could be releasing country music for all we know. He may not even be releasing anything at all. Luckily, though, the album was pretty good.

However, Morbus Chron were here one moment, gone the next. Horrendous picked up that torch and ran with it. However, this review isn’t about Death, Morbus Chron, or Horrendous. This is about Sweven and their debut, The Eternal Resonance. So, why the extended intro? Well, Sweven is the new band led by Robert Andersson of Morbus Chron. Just looking at the band name, I’m sure, dear reader, you are astute enough to have drawn some sort of lineage. I’m proud of you.

You probably know what to expect, at least a little, from this album, but I am going to tell you my thoughts anyway. Firstly, I think the production deserves a mention. Before even getting into the music, this record is pristine, yet punchy. It’s clean, modern, and somehow also sounds analog. It’s beautifully played, recorded, and captured. Well done. Now, onto the music.

Brutal, slamming, heavy. None of those adjectives apply here. When the intro, “The Spark” begins, one immediately notices the cleanliness in the production, but also the instrumentation (is that a mandolin?). The intro keeps building as I am preparing my pants to be soiled. Then, track 2, the first proper track, “By Virtue of a Promise” begins. It takes nearly another 2 minutes before we finally hear some throat shredding vocals courtesy of main man Robert Andersson. The dynamics already on display less than a full two tracks in cannot be overstated. If you hear a better guitar/bass production, I implore you to make me aware. As a (terrible) guitar player, I have always had an affinity for being able to hear the guitarist’s hands moving along the fret board, perhaps because it brings a human element to the music. The recording on this album is so pristine, I can hear this in the picking on “By Virtue Of A Promise.” This track changes shape so many times in its 9-minute runtime, going from somber and mellow to galloping and heavy multiple times over. One full track in and I am swooning. Someone fetch me a fan for I have the vapors.

Track 3 is the next number in this already persistently evolving mammoth. Coming in at a downright radio-friendly 7 minutes (compared to the previous track), “Reduced To An Ember” is another slow burn, progressive monster with some keyboards thrown in the mix, but I believe the next song, “The Sole Importance,” has a little more going for it. About 5 minutes into the track, one can feel the build into a fantastic solo that’s honestly just a bit too short. Yeah, the song is over 8 minutes long and I feel like a part of it is too short. With a little over a minute left, another lead takes over (but it’s not a hair whipping solo), which lasts until the end of the song.

Track 5, “Mycelia,” is desperation in audio form. With the clean guitar, the quick snare hits (and even some blast beats) thrown in underneath, for 5 minutes of the runtime, I feel like this song just has something it needs to get off its chest… NOW! However, after that time elapses, everything calms down, and it goes all the way until what I can only describe as a jazzy outro.

Let’s skip ahead a little bit to the last track on the album, which is “Sanctum Sanctorum.” Here we have an 8 and ½ minute track, which is mostly instrumental. Entirely instrumental if you disregard the chanting. Usually, a track with this runtime and no vocals would do nothing for me. I’d disregard it and skip it when it comes on just to get to the end of the album faster. That does not occur here as I feel like it adds to the album, and is therefore a perfect ending.

I hesitate to call anything “transcendental.” So, I won’t. This album is frequently progressive, rock, even “instru-metal.” In other words, it may often be considered not metal. If not for the vocals, this could hardly be called “death metal.” Instead, to put a label on it, I suppose we go with “progressive death metal.” It’s difficult to put this album into words, even though I have certainly committed many to it. My only complaint is that it might be just a bit too long. At 8 tracks and slightly over an hour long, despite the fact this album is consistently engaging, moving, and evolving, listening can be a bit tiring. However, to be honest, I have a poor attention span, and anything over 40 minutes when it comes to an album tends to get me checking to see if it’s over. This, however, is a minor complaint. I was a fan of this album from the first listen. While every song seamlessly flows into the next and there is a clear “sound” to the album, every track is also vital to its execution. Cutting one song. Hell, even one minute would be tragic.

I think this is the part where I am supposed to come up with some metaphor as to how you should let this album wrap itself around you like a cocoon of some sort, or maybe even a weighted blanket. I’m too mature for that. Instead, what I will say is that you should curl up with this album during the quarantine, let it touch your nether regions, and try not to fall in love.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
April 13th, 2020

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