Swarmlife is the long-awaited third full-length release from Oslo based progressive rock experimentalist Delvoid.
From its opening bars to closing finale the record is a demonstration of a precisely executed concept which stands with conviction in its ideas and sonic presentation throughout.
Ethereal soundscapes familiarly crescendo on stand-out tracks ‘Techtree’, ‘Urras’ and ‘The Master’s House’, paying off with great satisfaction via methodically planted riff work. Such explosive passages are often interspersed with unusual, even unconventional drum patterns and time signatures, but always lay the foundation for some degree of devastation.
Vocalist Alex Delver’s pained vocals sing of rebellious spirit and complex self-reflection whilst effortlessly adapting to the album’s cooler, calmer moments, but is yet able to hold its own amidst impressively loud walls of reverberating guitar-led textures.
Climactic waves of sound and aforementioned riff work, that perhaps wouldn’t initially appear to slot in with previous elements of the song, when looked at holistically actually further communicate a delicately skilful songwriting ability here.
Whilst an easy comparison could be made to Karnivool, there is a real air of youthfulness to the music presented; guitar work, lyrical melody and song structure are approached not with complexity or showmanship, a hallmark of the genre, but instead with a degree of welcome minimalism.
With that being said, drum aficionados will also find a showcase of fluid, jazz-inspired drumming on a wonderfully recorded and produced acoustic kit, which, on tracks in the latter half of the record builds a sense of an intimate jam taking place amongst gifted friends.
Delvoid in short offer up reflective, contemplative music with some hooks, especially pleasing to those partial to big climatic riffs following ethereal textures soundscapes. The album does not hurry itself to make a point, but in fact, like much progressive music, works best as a sum of its parts.
Review: Mike Lockheart
Swarmlife is released on April 29th 2022 via Banditt Media