|Review: Twilightning - Swinelords|
Label: SpineFarm Records
Year released: 2007
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: November 14, 2007
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Rated 2.84/5 (56.84%) (19 Votes)
It looks like the shadow of originality has been cast over the Twilightning camp, and as a sacrifice to the Dark Lord of Commerciality, they have produced "Swinelords" and failed to please him. Or their fans. Yes, I've read some pretty excoriating reviews from fellow "Delirium Veil" worshipers, and the news ain't good, boys. They all hate it. They all hate you. And if it wasn't for the countless evenings of 'It can't be that bad can it?' and 'I'll give it just one more shot', I'd have joined them long ago; marching outside of Spinefarm HQ with my fellow witch hunters, brandishing 'Twilightning Doesn't Strike Twice' on a board in one hand and a flaming torch in the other. But thankfully for me, I have grown to accept "Swinelords" as an experiment that somehow got out of hand, and with a bit of luck, one they won't be trying again any time soon.
The first thing to really smack you in the face with "Swinelords" is the absence of keyboard player Mikko Naukkarinen, and he seems to have taken all the power metal elements of their sound with him, because generally there isn't much power or metal to be found on the band's third album, and in its place, the hedonistic Finns have pushed the 80s hard rock vibe further than ever before, presenting us with an album overflowing with cheap lyrics, innocuous riffs, boring drums and lacklustre vocals. This will hurt a little harder if, like me, you happened to hold their first two albums so dear. But despite this awfully odd shift in identity, the ideology behind the band still remains, and you can hear shivers of their past work with tracks like "Reflection of the Cuckoo", which is the only song to feature double bass and flips out with a screaming metal chorus. The others are hit or miss. Opening track "Isolation Shell" is more progressive rhythmically, and until the bouncy chorus hits you full pelt, it's hard not to imagine you've accidentally stuck a Motley Crue album in your stereo. The guitar work of Sartanen and Wallenius is pitifully simple this time around, although within the mixture of 80s cock rock and southern bluegrass there is a hint of their quirky runs and shredding lead work. Vocalist Heikki Pöyhiä is a favourite of mine, and is deceptively laid back here, but from time to time he still rattles those high notes with precision and panache.
It is the melodies that save "Swinelords". Every track has at least one decent vocal passage or memorable hook, the biggest of which comes from the worse song the band have ever penned. Named "Vice Jesus", this egregious concoction of American blues and acoustic flamboyance peddles along with a piss-poor excuse for a riff when suddenly it reveals a splendid chorus, like the Twilightning of old, and you'll be lucky to shake it off after a couple of listens.
Pagan's Mind still gets my vote for disappointment of the year, but Twilightning comes a close second, due solely to the use of originality. For fans of the band, I suggest you approach with extreme caution.
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