"We wanted to really show that deathcore can be more than just, ‘Kill everybody’ and that whole ‘Fuck you’ mentality."
Signs Of The Swarm recently released their new album ‘Absolvere’ via Unique Leader Records.
Devastatingly heavy and beautifully monolithic on the surface, if you dig a little deeper into the guttural passages and skin-melting breakdowns, you will find a record dripping with pain and vulnerability. Diving into the sort of emotional pools that deathcore doesn’t usually frequent, the band have crafted an album that takes everything that is so striking about the genre and pushes it forward into a new lane, one that could trigger the development of a different strain of the sound.
To find out more about how it came to be and what they had to go through to make it, we spoke to vocalist David Simonich...
Where the last Signs Of The Swarm record found you finding your footing, this record is using those foundations to build something truly spectacular. So, where did that journey begin?
"The initial idea for the record was we just wanted it to be as large as possible. An absolutely massive sound where if you had it cranked up, you would really feel it. We started adding in little spices and other different things to see how everybody reacts to them with songs like ‘The Collection’ and ‘Pernicious’ and took their keynotes to the record. That’s when things started snowballing. We wanted to approach it from writing song one and then work our way through until we reached song ten. Realistically, the order that you hear this album is the order that we wrote it in."
To be able to tell a story through a spectrum of emotions, you almost have to live it as you go. And that’s what you did by creating the album in that way. You were feeling those things as they happened…
"We all went through our own personal challenges through the process. Personally, I lost my mother, and I feel like you can really sense my sadness throughout the record, especially towards the end, which is when everything was happening. The beginning of the record feels very angry lyrically, but there’s a definite mood change as we get further in. As everybody went through their own hardships, they applied that then wrote the music they wanted without worrying what people thought. So we still had our keynotes and moments where we wanted to do what people wanted, but at the same time, there were times when we solely wanted to put a particular emotion in there."
Going into a record wanting to represent a certain emotion, but then reality means that you are feeling a completely different one. It must be a fascinating position to be in when you're creating it and even more so when you realise precisely what you have made…
"We wanted to really show that deathcore can be more than just, ‘Kill everybody’ and that whole ‘Fuck you’ mentality. I wanted to be to express a different mentality. And even to this day, I listen back to these songs and think, ‘Holy fuck’, in terms of what we have been able to create. There was a point when we were teetering on the edge of the world about to fall off, and we now have this treasure. This piece that we poured our blood and sweat and tears into. With everybody going through their own things and coping with them, we were all about to come together and make this. That is such a powerful feeling. It feels like we overcame a giant obstacle. I feel like every band that has pushed through adversity throughout this pandemic, and being in the muddy waters ourselves, we know how good it feels to be through the other side."
And for people to know that you’ve made it through to the other side and are now able not just to show off your music but show off your souls in ways you haven’t before, especially when you were creating it remotely…
"Honestly, it was so hard to capture everything that we wanted to express to each other digitally. Whenever you’re writing in a group setting, you’re able actually to explain things and show body motions and bounce off each other. Then just even putting lyrics together, it all felt so different."
And how has it been to have people respond to these new emotional aspects now that you’re able to be back out in the world?
"On the tour we just played, which was around the time the record was going to be released, we had kids buying it from our merch table, going back to their cars to listen to it and then coming back to the show and talking to me about it. Like that's such an amazing thing, and hearing people react so quickly to it and then listening to their thoughts was so special and cool."
And for you, how does it feel to be able to do what you’re doing with the band now compared to where you were when you first joined?
"When I first joined, I was really fucking stressed. I was scared, and I didn’t have my footing. I felt like I had to measure up to what had come before, and I felt surrounded by everyone watching me. If I made the wrong noise or the wrong move, then I would ruin everybody’s careers and something really good. I feel like now I can be more open and feel less on edge and that I can express myself as an artist. So I’m really grateful for how I could evolve and find my footing and actually express myself and be in this position that I find myself in now. I’m not scared anymore. But those insecurities also allowed me to put in the work and the dedication to develop into the artist I am right now and us into the band we are right now. But from the beginning to my middle to now, we are still evolving and learning so much every day. A whole new page is being written."