CD Review: Swirl - SWIRL

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Short Introduction 

Swirl was formed by guitarist Duane “DT” Jones in Washington State. The earliest version of the band scheduled a recording session in Southern California, but due to a scheduling conflict the original drummer was a last minute cancellation. One brief phone call later brother Brian “Bam Bam” Jones was brought in to record drums and became a permanent member of the band. Swirl went on to release their debut CD ‘Out Of Nowhere’. The disc was produced by Carlos Cavazo (RATT/ Quiet Riot) and Matt Thorr (Rough Cutt/ Jailhouse). Swirl toured the United States and Japan in the early 2000’s and achieved moderate success.

In 2008 “DT” entered the recording studio of Cinderella drummer Fred Coury with vocalist Alfred Ramirez. That session gave birth to the songs “Adrenaline” and “Sleepwalker” (both songs were produced by Fred who also played drums on the tracks) and reignited Swirl. The two songs led to management interest and tour offers. “DT”, Brian and Al recruited bassist Shane Carlson to finalize the new touring lineup for Swirl which began criss-crossing the US several times (to the tune of 50,000 miles) as the support act for the bands RATT, Extreme, Slaughter, George Lynch and others in 2008-2010.

Between 2011- 2012 Swirl had a musical makeover and began writing and recording new music. The band removed themselves from the LA area to record at Baxter Rd studios in Wildomar, California. The members of Swirl decided to use the lessons learned from previous recording session mentors to self produce the new material with post production and mastering done in Lake Elsinore, California with James Rieger.

Released on March 25, 2013 worldwide via iTunes, the new hard rock disc, ‘SWIRL’  finally saw the light of day.

(c) by Swirl, used with kind permission

According to Swirl, the “Message” behind the music has to do with standing up for what you believe in – not giving up and going for what you want in the face of those who put road blocks in front of you, it’s staying the course, staying focused and not giving an inch in any other direction, but the road you have carved out for yourself. Sometimes you will fall down, sometimes you will lose your way, but in the end the only way to win is you have to get back on your feet, dust yourself off and carry on so are you ready to “Rise Up”?

Summary / Purchase Link / Player

This album is sort of a special release for me. While on the one hand it's a typical US Hard Rock / Metal band with tracks having a length for airplay on radios it's on the other hand not a commercial release at all.

The band-sound comes very edgy and rough with a very own, raw note and melody. The guitars are set on fire and the solo's sound different and make you want to listen to them closer. It's absolutely not one of those bands that has this soft touch to it where Metal or Hard Rock plays the inferior role with more the party music playing in the front. It shows that this band has more depth to offer than similar acts.

You can listen to the music multiple times and will still find new parts in it. That's something that not too often comes along on those records. If you like the US metal style but look for something more rough and outworked in the details I suggest to check out Swirl. I think you'll be surprised. That's the way it came around for me at least.

You can purchase the physical album CD directly from the bands homepage for 7 Dollar plus 3 Dollar shipping and handling. If you prefer to download the songs directly to your PC you may like to check iTunes to buy your copy of the songs.

For a quick look inside I suggest to listen to the songs "Time to fly (Adrenaline)", "Rise Up" or "Spell". Those give you a good insight into the band's sound while the other tracks will need a bit close listening to fully release it's content to you.

Make also sure to follow the band through their website or check Facebook for updates.

Track-by-track Review

1. Fourth of July
A hard pushing track from the beginning the song is filled with blistering guitars that along with the high vocals give the track a very rough note. The only piece of music that is not so much of my taste on this record.

2. Spell
Yeah, a cool bass solo kicks in to "Spell". A quite fast number that comes in very straight. The refrain comes more edgy than on the other tracks The solo section rips it up nicely. The song feels somehow rougher after the solo and remains in this state for the remaining time. 

3. Rise Up
A cutting sharp short riff opens up this one and groovy drums start to move right in with the tune. The music spreads a uplifting energy fitting to the lyrics. It makes clear that it's here to keep you up and running for what you fight and stand for. The refrain seconds this with it's faster and pushing speed and melody. 

(c) by Joe Schaeffer, used with kind permission

4. We Are Alive
A pushing drum part brings you into a cool tune with easy riffing. The refrain goes in with harder guiatrs and effects. Towards the end there is a calm with vocals and drums only saving the guitars some time to power up before a blast part sets out and brings a even more energetic level towards the end of "We are alive".

5. Message
A clear and hard riff starts this one. Very catchy track, the vocals stick to your mind once you've heard'em. A siren signal shortly before the end comes as a surprise but gives the song a unexpected yet cool round out.

6. Time to fly (Adrenaline)
A compact riff opens up this one. It gives the track instantly something you can remember. The melody and refrain bring up a good vibe so If you're feeling good this one totally fits to that feeling. 

7. Mad disease (Sleepwalker)
A sharp riff opens up this stomping track. Much high pitched variations in the vocals, which are very remarkable. This track needs some repeat to fully bring on it's full power. Very different from the other six songs of the disc.

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