01. Reset 02. Lovesick 03. The Guatemalan 04. Breathless 05. The Handshake 06. Nurse 07. Dr. Shaw 08. Pretty Girl 09. What Tears Are For 10. Birds 11. 3 Fools2002 Tribunal Records
After listening to Swift, I've finally realized the fundamental distinction between a hardcore breakdown and a nu-metal breakdown: the former is palm muted while the latter is not. And while this miraculous little revelation may seem trivial, Tribunal Records must have noticed it when they signed a band that actually sounded different in comparison to their current roster. Good job, Tribunal. With producer and drummer Jamie King at the helm, Swift is able to sport a very appealing brand of hardcore infused nu-metal that takes emotion, sincerity, melody, and rock, and combines them in a way which preserves the full potential of each, yet creates something starkly different. Drawing influences from Glassjaw to Incubus, this album is exactly the direction nu-metal should be taking. Imagine Eighteen Vision's "Best Of" mixed with the Deftones' "Adrenaline" and you'll get a rough idea of what's in store. There's plenty of raw screaming to get you pumped but just as much heartfelt singing to calm you back down. The musicianship is tight, and the production is as sound as any mainstream record. In fact, I found nothing wrong with this album except it's repetitive song structuring, which doesn't detract much from the overall power and emotion derived from it. Furthermore, Swift is pretty fortunate to have the aforementioned Jamie King drumming for them. For those of you who don't know, Jamie has produced albums for Tribunal Records (Bloodjinn) as well as a few others (Between The Buried And Me, Swift), and could very well be the drummer version of Kurt Ballou. Needless to say, the band didn't have to look far when finding a good producer to work with. "Reset," The opening track for "Waging War" explodes right from the start with tons of groove and energy. The song itself is a little mediocre, but it's much more engaging than most of the generic hardcore out there. The second track is a step up from that, the singer eerily chanting "It's not because I'm lovesick" before erupting into a melodic chorus which includes high notes that Justin Timberlake would have trouble hitting. And "The Guatemalan," a very Incubus-influenced track, has probably the catchiest sung line I've ever heard as vocalist Gary Forsyth belts out "Save me, I don't wanna die; don't just stand there" with all his heart. Other tracks, such as Breathless are strait up rock tinged with punk while other tracks like "Dr. Shaw" and "Pretty Girl" revert back to an earlier mid 90's nu-metal sound brimming with chunky bass lines, hard-hitting, rhythmic guitar riffs, and unrestrained drum work. The final offering is, though I hate to say it, an acoustic track. It's not terribly bland, I'll admit, but just wait and see, 'cause one day Slipknot's going to have an acoustic track if this trend continues. Bottom Line: Swift do what they do with a kind of zeal and enthusiasm that's hard to come by in the hardcore scene and almost non-existent in the world of mainstream music. Personally, I found it a little embarrassing when I began to enjoy this album due to it's explicit nu-metal sound, but after a while it grew on me so much that I was reluctant to take it out of my normal CD rotation. And even though it has a viable "radio rock" tincture to it, I can easily see your average hardcore/metal kid getting into this, too. In other words: watch out, 'cause these boys from North Carolina might just get really big.
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