Swordwielder, Wielding Metal Massacre (Not Enough Records, Profane Existence, 2023)

For over a decade, the crushing drive of Swordwielder has been a leading force in the stench-ridden battlefield of crust punk.

These Swedish heavyweights have been carrying the banner of what can only be described as the true essence of the stenchcore spirit, and each release gives hope to a punk rock world saturated by constant sonic cloning. 

Swordwielder have graced our trenches with a demo, two LPs, various comp tracks and now their latest 5-song mini-LP titled Wielding Metal Massacre where they continue to hold the banner high while swinging their mighty axe.

It goes without saying that these guys have much appreciation for the seminal sounds of Axegrinder, Deviated Instinct, Amebix, and every other influence that’s given rise to the proper crust genre. But with the evolution of the crust sound, there’s not overly used d-beat or manic double kick with this ensemble…they don’t need it.

It’s a galloping barrage of heavy-as-fuck songs with a battle cry into the fog drenched wasteland that is our society. 

Opening with “Weapons of the Dark Age," you get the taste of Amebix with the rapid-fire bass picking as guitars build into a burst of mid-tempo crushing groove that sets the mood for what’s to come. The use of lyrical content such as “Dark forces advancing, beneath the sky and sun, the moon and the stars…swords are sharpened” gives rise to a subject that may be medieval in context but paints a picture of what we’re up against today.  

Other tracks such as “Beneath a Blood Red Sky” gives an almost 7-minute ode of solid, and true to form stenchcore. The first few minutes gives us an atmosphere of subtle synth while lightly picked guitars give way to a softly spoken monologue which builds into a legion of epic heaviness.

This is a great release from this horde of crust enthusiasts and each release never disappoints. If you’re familiar with these guys, then you can point out the signature elements that keep getting better on each release.

Swordwielder are stenchcore idealists and they give this lost art an injection of purism that’s been hard to find in a world saturated by an infinite spectrum of genre confusion and overtly use phrases such as “blackened crust” or “d-beat crustcore."

It’s simple, they’ve brought life back into what was lost ages ago and personally, I thank them for re-igniting that flame. 

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