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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Swarm Intelligence - "Faction"

Artist: Swarm Intelligence
Album: Faction
Year: 2014
Label: Ad Noiseam
Genre: Dubstep, Industrial, Ambient
Website: www.adnoiseam.net

Swarm Intelligence is the newest addition to the Ad Noiseam roster, and adds to their ranks of dark, industrial dubstep producers. "Faction" is an ultra heavy, sludgy album of crushing, dubby basslines and plodding mechanical percussion.

When I think of slow, industrial-strength dubstep the act that immediately comes to mind is, of course, Scorn. And Swarm Intelligence carries the torch nicely. His music invokes images of darkened, mechanical catacombs and the innards of abandoned, futuristic cities on dead worlds. Decaying star bases, rotten sewer systems, steam valves - it's all here like the most depressing re-imagining of an Alien(s) movie your mind can imagine. You've got the huge, languid basslines, noisy atmospherics (and warbling synth bits that bring to bring a broken spaceship console), and stomping industrial percussion that hits like a sledgehammer (though in rather slow motion). The darkened, minimal, drifting atmospheres remind me of Haxan Cloak, while the drums and dank quality of the songs also bring to mind a slowed down Underhill or Zeller. "Destroyer", with it's driving, super distorted bassline, reminds me of good ol' classic Vex'd.
While I absolutely love the imagery this music makes me think of, and I can definitely get into this stuff for a few songs, each track utilizes the same general sound and elements, so I tend to get bored and not want to sit through the entire album. The tracks could also benefit from a bit more in the way of progression.

While I certainly enjoy elements of this, overall Faction is a bit minimal for me personally, but considering the success of acts like Haxan Cloak and similar ultra heavy, slow dubstep/ambient/industrial hybrids, I can see this obtaining a nice following with Ad Noiseam fans. Tracks like "Antenna", "Outpost" and "Departure" are absolutely punishing and should definitely be on your playlist, yet others like "Motionless Sky" and "Infiltration" don't really have much going for them and can be skipped. Bottom line is that if you want dubstep with a more doom-y and mechanical feel, than give this a shot. I'm really curious to hear how he progresses in the future, especially if he can expand & diversify his sound palette.

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