There seems to be a competition out there among the younger technical death metal bands to see who can out brutalize, who can be more complex, and who can play the fastest. Take recent Unique Leader signee Signs of the Swarm as a perfect example. These Pittsburgh upstarts have just released their sophomore album, The Disfigurement Of Existence, a 10 track affair of absolutely brutal technical death metal guaranteed to bludgeon you into submission and leave nothing but splattered gore in its wake. Vocalist CJ McCreery has one of the most 'over the top' vocal selection I've heard in years; this guy throws at the listener guttural pig grunts, inhuman growls, maniacal screams, and as assortment of barks & bellows, generally all within each song, and he's supported by a relentless bombardment of blast beats and tumultuous guitar riffing. I mean, this shit is completely unrelenting, the raucous nature of "Cowards Deathbed" just a prime example of this bands intent to send the listener through the execution chamber, McCreery vomiting out the lyrics (forget trying to figure out what the hell he's spewing) over some crazy tech-death arrangements. He's all over the place on the pulverizing "Cesspool Of Ignorance" (you'd think there were three guys handling vocals here), and his nightmarish grunting on "Final Phase" seems intent on battling the jackhammer blast beats & intricate guitar riffs every step of the way.
The funny thing is, I normally really like this sort of thing, but I'm just finding Signs of the Swarm are really trying WAY too hard to be the most extreme band on the planet, and a lot of this sounds forced. Perhaps it's McCreery, who I'm finding just too much to handle here, and he tends to overshadow much of the music, which is actually quite good. Take "Guided Into Serenity" for example, a mighty fine instrumental, which allows the band to show their melodic side and craft some excellent musical passages...but it really took McCreery to sit this one out for that side of the band to really shine. "Nightcrawler" has its moments too, but then those grunts and growls just obliterate everything in sight. There are sure to be plenty of folks who will lap this album up, and there is plenty to like here (some of the breakdowns are truly monstrous), but in the end I think the band is sacrificing something while they are trying to be more brutal & extreme than everyone else.
1. Cesspool Of Ignorance 04:41
2. The Failed Breed 05:04
3. Cowards Deathbed 04:34
4. Lifeless Visitors 02:55
5. Final Phase 05:28
6. Guided Into Serenity 04:20
7. Nightcrawler 05:36
8. Descending Into Despair 03:38
9. Embedded In Fear 05:17
10. Misery From Demorilization 05:23