The first time I got contacted for an album review, it was by a new band who had just released their debut project: Devilstrip. I am so happy to announce that they are now steady on the road to making it big and have recently made it as Europe’s support act. Very well done!
I was recently approached by another band asking me to consider them for a review: Swirl. Having made an assumption about them being new and world unknown, I was surprised to find out that they have been around for a while. Obviously not that popular on the old continent – but totally worth it!
Swirl have been the touring support act for many established rock artists (some of them amongst my all time favourites): RATT, Extreme, Cinderella, Skid Row, Slaughter (whose name seems oddly out of place in this succession, but comes to show the versatility of Swirl’s work), LA Guns, Souls of We, Red Dragon Cartel. They have travelled 50,000 miles in the US between December 2008 and November 2009 on the previous release. Pretty impressive, right!
It is fairly rare for me to like a band from the very first track I hear, and I must say that this can be a bit of a deal breaker. However, they totally converted me, so – review it is, then.
This Southern Californian band describe their genre as hard rock/rock/metal. This definitely sums them up, but I would also be inclined to give them another “label”: modern alternative rock/metal. I can hear influences of some of the best representatives of that stream: starting with Faith No More, through Soundgarden, all the way to Rage Against the Machine. Which doesn’t mean that Swirl’s music blindly copies or follows any big names. Not at all. Their work brilliantly amalgamates the best of the past couple of heavy rock decades, but carries their own distinctive signature.
Swirl’s music is highly energetic and, frankly, rather contagious. I find that it grows on me very fast. It doesn’t bore me either, as it is intentionally rough and raw (“We Are Alive”, “Message”), but also perfectly polished as rock chart material (“Time To Fly”). Their tunes are catchy and make you want to rewind and listen over and over again.
Track List (with My Comments):
“Forth of July” (featured in the movie “Ditch Day Massacre”)
Track with very good rhythm. Change of pace halfway through makes it interesting to listen to. I am not too sure about the vocal harmonies, but overall a pretty impressive opening.
I love the intro. Alfred Ramirez shows off his vocal skills by taking a slightly hoarse direction, which sounds good, especially mixed with clear, classical type singing. Again I am not too sure about about vocal harmonies, but maybe it’s just me, as I am into classically aligned backing vocals. Good melody, beat and drumming.
“Rise Up” (featured in the movie “Ditch Day Massacre”)
Very catchy tune. Song with great potential. Good vocal work, but in my opinion backing vocals are not too strong. Melody gets a bit blurry/disappears between the backing vocals and main singer. Not one of their best songs, I think.
“We Are Alive” (also featured in the movie “Ditch Day Massacre”)
Bloody hell. Explosive intro is almost punk. Aggressive chorus, energetic, good. Raw sound in RATM’s best traditions.
Now, this is when I can’t help drawing links to Soundgarden and RATM. Rough energy. Brilliant. Love the vocal work, and melody is perfectly drawn.
“Time to Fly (Adrenaline)”
Co-written, mixed and produced by Fred Coury from Cinderella (also on drums). Perfect hit that has the potential to top the charts. Polished to perfection – in a good way. In the traditions of the big and the best, like Dep Leppard. Melodic, clear tune and perfect vocals. Lovely orchestration. I can see this one flying high.
“Mad Disease (Sleepwalking)”
Co-written, mixed and produced by Fred Coury from Cinderella (also on drums). Rough and raw. Reminds me the likes of Paradise Lost or Soundgarden. Alternative taste, bloody good singing.
And Some Facts:
“Ditch Day Massacre” won the “Best Feature Film” award at the 2014 Burbank International Film Festival and stars Emmy Award Winning Bill Oberst Jr.
How the band describe their hard rock disc “SWIRL”: “strong, powerful, hook laden, song writing that is synonymous with Swirl music but, captured in a modern sound and production style that creates instantly memorable, emotionally im-pactful songs.” I’d say this pretty much sums it up.
This spring the band has seen a significant rise in global presence: reviews, interviews and “Band of the Week/Month” awards from Japan, Germany, The Netherlands, Canada, France, The UK and Saudi Arabia.
Alfred Ramirez – Leading vocals
Duane T. Jones – Guitar
Shane Carlson – Bass
Brian Jones – Drums
Here is where you can check them out:
SWIRL website: http://www.swirltheband.com/
SWIRL EPK: http://ue3promotions.com/swirlepk/
SWIRL Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/swirltheband
SWIRL Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/swirl- dt
‘SWIRL’ on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/swirl/id627466984
SWIRL “Rise Up” Lyric Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=_JVm9uFo9Eo
SWIRL Reverbnation: http://www.reverbnation.com/socalswirl
SWIRL YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/swirlgtr
SWIRL Instagram: swirltheband
SWIRL Twitter: @Swirltheband
SWIRL PR: Belinda Thomas at Entermediamusic@aol.com
SWIRL e-mail: email@example.com