Overall Score: 7.6/10 Originality: 7/10 Consistency: 8/10 Entertainment Value: 8/10 Pros: Interesting fusion of nu metal and metalcore | Consistent and fun first effort Cons: Breakdowns feel derivative | Sounds dated at times
Swim to Drown are a new group bursting out of the Spanish city of Zaragoza. While there is not much information on them at the moment, they have just released their debut EP and boy is it a cracker.
Jumping in on the nu metal revival of recent years, Swim to Drown have set out to combine the best elements of modern metalcore and classic turn of the centry nu metal. Straight from opener “Class Trial” the punishing riffs of metalcore become perfectly intertwined with the bounce and adrenaline of nu metal, complemented by the frenetic vocals of Tony and the DJ scratches (yes, DJs in bands are still a thing) of Xus. The sample before the breakdown is just the icing on the cake. Everything here is set out for high energy concerts and parties, combining the development of modern metal over the past 20 years to create something everyone can enjoy.
Considering the fact that English is not the native language of this band, lead singer Tony has a fantastic grasp of the language as he raps, sings and screams throughout the EP. It’s obvious the guy’s been working hard at perfecting his craft as he waxes lyrical on “What Else” and opens his pipes on “Insomniac” with some real guttural screams. The production, while at times muddling the guitars a little, allows everything to flow cohesively and get the maximum potential out of the band as a unit.
The only problems are that the band’s particular nu metal elements can feel rather dated. The intro to “Karma” harks back to the early sound of Turkish group maNga, and even in this era of nu metal revival, it is important to keep a modern sound to the music. On top of that, a lot of the metalcore breakdowns present on the EP feel somewhat derivative, like the sort of thing you’d have heard a dozen times before by god knows how many other bands. If the band wants to make it to a wider audience and bigger shows, they’re going to need to work on developing this interpretation of the “nu-metalcore” movement so that, by the next release, they’ll have something truly unique that they can break out with.
All in all though, this first effort is pure fun to listen to. The energy of the band is palpable and every riff makes you want to get up and destroy your living room. It’s a promising start for the sextet and it’ll be interesting to see where Swim to Drown go from here.