Switchblade is a completely enigmatic group to me. They do not seem to consistently release records with the same labels. I was first introduced to them via their Icarus Inc. - a division of Deathwish Inc- album a couple of years ago. I liked what I heard. These guys are a mostly instrumental behemoth that usually produces long passages of music for people to attempt to wrap their heads around or just plain old enjoy, either way. There are a couple of things that I have learned; one they do not title their albums. Two, they do not title their songs - usually they are listed as the length of time the song takes to be completed. Three, Switchblade lay some dense sound that makes for a challenging listen.
The first track, 19:30, is long. It is very chill music with a menacing undertone and not in the heavy in order to make it sound "evil," but in the way and the type of chords used. I was completely unprepared for the vocals about four minutes into the song. Talk about abrasive. The white noise just out of ear shout lays down a calm bed for what the instruments are doing. The vocals grate incredibly against the mood but do further the whole anxious feel of the song. The whole process reminds me of Khanate actually with the long drawn out music with distant percussion beats that barely hold the whole arrangement together. It is an odd arrangement, but I am drawn to continue listening to the track like one would watch a suspense/thriller movie. The quiet section in the song is eerie. It creates quite an effect. There is a multitude of interesting sounds and sound effects that Switchblade utilizes to create this piece. You have to listen to it at high volume to catch it all. And then it ends in a strange abrupt manner; it is weird.
The second track, 16:45, the vocals make their play early this time.
There is a total lack of abrasiveness in the vocal arrangement this time. There is a less oppressive mood about this track as opposed to its predecessor. It may even be slower overall. It sounds otherworldly to be perfectly honest. The tempo actually picks up a bit as the track progresses while the ominous tone slowly begins to pervade the song at the same time. I could consider this one to be more easily listened to than the first track, but this one is much more straightforward. Towards the end all the instruments coalesce into a functioning unit while, at the same time, increase in intensity. It is more reminiscent of the band's earlier material.
With their 2006 offering, Switchblade challenges its listeners with new musical exploration and expansion of their style and sound. I would not recommend this to someone who has never heard them before this record, but those that follow them will probably be excited by the new steps and progression that they accomplish.
6.2 / 10
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