Earlier this year, Dunedin, New Zealand punk band Swallows Nest appeared on a couple of split releases that I really should have mentioned well before now. Apologies for my tardiness; sometimes I’m just a little slow on the uptake. Unlike Swallows Nest, who’re downright bursting with bulldozing energy.
Swallows Nest’s music is a mish-mash of raucous influences. Hardcore and dynamic post-hardcore play significant roles in the band’s repertoire, but Swallows Nest also put a great big tick in the screamo box. The group features members who’ve played in punk outfits like Machine Rex and Yung Nat$ – who’ve both appeared on Six Noises in the past. Swallows Nest’s three-song split cassette with like-minded US band Snag was released a fair few months ago now. But it’s never too late to chat about first-rate deafening punk, right?
Swallows Nest contribute two songs to their split with Snag. “Dark Hamz” and “Apathy as an Infinite Manifestation” feature dual vocals indulging in full-throttle shout ’n’ response battles. Instrumentally, Swallows Nest tear into their tracks with the chaotic intensity dialled up to 11. And shuddering bursts of dissonant noise push the band’s songs into red-lining realms – both sonically and emotionally.
Snag contribute a (close to) six-minute song entitled “Violence” to the split. “Violence” is an aptly named and fittingly explosive track that charges forth with Snag mixing post-hardcore’s mercurial temper with screamo’s go-for-broke passion.
Passion’s the word of the day for Swallow’s other split release from 2018, which they share with Chicago hardcore/screamo band Crowning. The 7” split features four pummelling tracks, and Swallows Nest’s frenzied contribution, “A Subtle Knife for New Doors”, morphs from a slow grind into a breakneck bruiser that’s boiling with vitriol and urgency. Sonically, there’s enough harshness/rawness here to draw blood. Psychologically, all the gut-punching howls are guaranteed to leave you feeling scarred yet wholly exorcised.
Crowning’s three tracks deliver a similar mix of caustic music and emotional catharsis. “Coil”, “Old References” and “Nerve” all lean heavy on screamo’s tempo and attitude. But more brutal blast beats, blackened noise, and heaving breakdowns add a hefty amount of metallic weight to Crowning’s sound.
(Aotearoa fans note: Local distro/label Dance Happy Doom Crew now have copies of the Swallows Nest/Crowning 7” split in stock.)