Blast Rites: Endless Swarm – Manifested Swarms Review

Q: What happens when the Endless Swarm meets the guy from Pest Control?

A: Total destruction.

But on whose side?

It’s a ridiculous (seemingly) hypothetical situation, but it’s … well, yeah, fine, it’s completely ridiculous, but… it’s not hypothetical, really, in that it’s really real. Really. This latest uprising from Edinburgh-based powerviolence collective Endless Swarm was mixed and mastered by Ben Jones from Pest Control, the Leeds-based thrashers whose recent rager was rightfully well-received by my erstwhile compatriot Mr. Obstkrieg, a few Fridays back. (Seriously, if you haven’t checked out Don’t Test The Pest, allow me a split-second to second: Check it out, pest-haste. It kicks ass.)

Release date: March 3 2023. Label: To Live A Lie / Coxinha
All silly asides aside (for a second), a shortened version of this review should go like this: Endless Swarm and Manifested Forms bring the power and the violence to powerviolence — this is slap-yer-mammy Slap-A-Hammy raw hardcore raging, done properly and loudly and angrily — and as you listen, Endless Swarm will squash your skull into your shoulders, so you will be a full foot shorter. Or, if you’re Scottish like these lads (and therefore not allegedly crap), then you’d be approximately 30.5 centimeters shorter. It’s not an exact mathematical science, the skull-squashing, as far as I know, but skull-squashing will happen, when you listen to this, which you should. So, if crushing powerviolence, vague and unmeasurable metric conversions, and your own decreasing height are things you care about, then you should stop reading now (not a terrible idea), and cruise to the Bandcamp link below (a great idea, actually) and get thoroughly and Scottishly skull-squished.

But I see you’re still here, so: Yes, Endless Swarm soundly smashes skulls, and also they smash skulls through sound, tricksy Scots that they are. Manifested Forms is the latest in a list of releases that date back a decade – splits with Pavel Chekov, Lugubrious Children, Gets Worse, plus appearances on tributes to Spazz, Lack Of Interest, and Crossed Out. All of those band names should both pique your interest and give you a big clue what you’re listening to here: This is hardcore pushed to the maximum, turned up and out and in on itself, just pure punked-up rage. Non-guttural but still-throaty barks from Gray Caldwell; short bursts of manic chord-based riffery from Mathew Burton-Webster and Alex Sharp, in lockstep and tight with Dave Taylor’s pounding drums – not metal at all, really, just punkpunkpunk, and yet far and above and beyond even that, this Scottish skull-squishing.

From the opening blast of “Disengage,” Endless Swarm provides a true bashfest. Through the devastating wallop of “Death Denied” and the crossover rage of follow-up “Split Brain,” Manifested Forms manifests in the form of 20 tracks of pure fury. The title track slows itself down to a near-doom trudge, as powerviolence often does, but then… well, you know, it’s back to blasting. Catch, release, relax… explode. “Parasitic Coloniser” rides a fun little “no such thing as a spaceship” sample into a fast-slow basher of a track, sliding neatly into the full-on basher of “Circling Self,” in turn slowing itself down to drop into “Tachyon Code.” Catch, release, relax, explode… repeat. “New Visions” swings, but “Subjugated” swings harder; “Suspended In Vacuum” slaughters and slows again; “Inhospitable” opens with what sounds like the same four chords from Judas Priest’s “The Sentinel,” but, by that point… no one has an unsquashed head left to notice.

Manifested Forms is a ripper, there’s simply no question, and to repeat myself: Endless Swarm brings the power and the violence to powerviolence, and they will squash your skull into your shoulders. So just stop reading now and just go get squished. If you’d done that earlier, like I told you to, it would’ve saved us both some time.

Posted by Andrew Edmunds

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; born in the cemetery, under the sign of the MOOOOOOON...

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