Swashbuckle - Back To The Noose
Nuclear Blast
21 songs (41:47)
Release year: 2009
Swashbuckle, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Elias
Crap of the month

Swashbuckle are a thrash power trio hailing from New Jersey who dress in pirate clothes and apparently (if one is to give credence to the lyrics) spend most of their time drinking, sailing, and preying on other nautical vessels captained by men of superior financial stability. While pirating in itself is a theme as metal as they come, I’ve always wondered what musical inspiration it could possibly offer. Are we going by music played by pirates? Not much to offer there, unless you want to record an album of repetitive chants, and we already have Manowar doing that. Could it be traditional music from the pirating era? All right, what the fuck where people playing in the Caribbean in the 17th century? Or are they simply trying to evoke the atmosphere of the pirating world? My guess is that Swashbuckle themselves don’t even know.

Of course, the first question that comes to mind upon witnessing pirate-themed Metal is, “aren’t Alestorm enough?” While musically two entirely different animals (Alestorm actually being capable of writing decent tunes), the comparison is bound to surface due to the obvious similarities in aesthetic fashion and choice of apparel. Even the bloody cover looks exactly like what Alestorm might produce. Whether a blatant attempt to cash in on an already passé fad or just an honest yet unimaginative attempt at aesthetic entertainment, I do not know. Nuclear Blast definitely seems to think it’ll sell. So what are they trying to sell?

Presenting a collection of messily thrown together riffs, chants and acoustic instrumentals, Swashbuckle somehow manage to use every compositional gimmick in the book and still end up with a forgettable product. They’ve got the pounding double bass, the virtuosic bass guitar wankery, the violently fast riffs, and even the occasional breakdown, but it never means anything. The songs have neither head nor tail; melody is either indecipherable or dull; and dynamic is nonexistent. Variety is attempted by means of acoustic interludes resembling Caribbean cruise music (or the soundtrack to a Hawaiian holiday resort advertisement) that manage to retain the pointlessness of the metal compositions and even betray Swashbuckle’s inability to write interesting melodies by robbing them of their incoherent distortion and yelling. While I’m not the biggest thrash fan or connoisseur, I doubt anyone who did consider himself such would find anything of value in this record either. It truly sounds like no more than half an hour was spent on each song. They probably spent more time mixing Admiral Nobeard’s obnoxiously pretentious bass playing than they did writing and arranging. Nor were they afraid to fill extra minutes with ridiculous narration made by what appears to be a half-crazed muppet with a bad accent and pointless 40 second long “songs”. You’re not Napalm Death, you can’t send a message in less than a minute.

All this is a huge shame, as the musicians themselves are undoubtedly capable, as can be heard throughout the record. Drop the pirate gimmick, find someone who knows how to write songs, and you might actually have something deserving of a place on the Nuclear Blast roster.

Killing Songs :
They all sound the same, why bother differentiating?
Elias quoted 30 / 100
Thomas quoted 48 / 100
Other albums by Swashbuckle that we have reviewed:
Swashbuckle - Crewed By The Damned reviewed by Kayla and quoted 72 / 100
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