BLACK SWAMP WATER
Released: August 24, 2018
Black Swamp Water is a Danish band that combines old school hard rock with heavy metal elements and some southern rock influences. Think of it as a mix between Black Sabbath, Corrosion of Conformity and Lynyrd Skynyrd. The debut album “Chapter one” (2016) gave the band a reputation as a highly energetic live act with great reviews and airplays to follow on both MyRock and National Danish Radio. And now Black Swamp Water is getting ready to release their second album “Distant Thunder” through Mighty Music on August 24th.
The album is full of strong hooks, groovy vibes, and southern rock inspired riffs. It sounds very much like an American band, playing good old American rock. Starting on a sweet banjo line and the sound of pouring rain and thunder, “Badlands” is the perfect intro to this band and the type of music they create. This bluesy feeling is enhanced with the second track, “Bitter harvest”, which carries on banjo, drums, guitars and vocals mostly, building in intensity as it progresses, making it ideal for some type of country rock dance. The potential hit “Live your darkness” is a mid-paced track, with a very catchy chorus to it, and some nice guitar lines, while the vocal melody gives Bjørn Bølling Nyholm a chance to show his versatility.
Live your darkness
The high road
On my own
Down for good
The album picks up pace and momentum with rock anthem “Rebellion”, whose groovy sing-along chorus and hefty guitar riffs, from both Jan Geert and Martin Lykke Hansen, will make it a crowd pleaser in a concert, and semi-ballad “The End”, where the licks, rhythm, and vocal delivery make the lyrics feel so much more emotional and heartfelt. Things move along smoothly, with the booming and energetic “The high road”, where Jeppe Birch Fariis’s bass lines rumble throughout the song, while the guitars wail and the drums explode in a wall of sound. “You disappear” is the mellow moment of the album, where the acoustic guitar, drums, and vocals are in perfect harmony. Probably the best track on the album, “On my own” speeds up things again, with furious vocals and amazing guitar lines, making for another rock anthem that would translate well in a live setting. This is classic hard rock at its best.
Starting off with guitar riffs and military-like drumming courtesy of Kim Langkjær Jensen, “Defiance” has a certain Metallica vibe that I can’t shake off. That probably of the well-executed guitar solo, and scream, which makes the emotionally charged “Defiance” another brilliant song. The second half of the album seems to be packed with heavy songs, as “Rise” is a monstrous sounding beast, heavy and aggressive from beginning to end, with a very strong rhythmic backbone. The rocking “Down for good” is a fast pace track, that closes the album on a very energetic note.
Black Swamp Water may have not reinvented metal with “Distant Thunder”, however they did create an album that is very entertaining to listen to. It may even serve as a great introduction to the world of rock and metal to someone not familiar with the genre, as it’s just the right amount of hard and heavy with some more sensible moments along the way. The build-up and the flow are meant to engage and keep the listener’s attention focused, and that is exactly what they do, as “Distant Thunder” starts off slowly and becomes heavier as it progresses.
There’s definitely potential and talent here that needs a bit more polishing! Still, “Distant Thunder” is a good rock album that will get the blood pumping.
Rating: 7.5 / 10
Bjørn Bølling Nyholm – Vocals
Jan Geert – Guitar
Martin Lykke Hansen – Guitar
Jeppe Birch Friis – Bass
Kim Langkjær Jensen – Drums