There’s a joke going around the Heavy Blog HQ (AKA, our Slack group) that I’m addicted to premiering music. OK, maybe it’s not so much “going around” as much as I’ve been saying it myself. But it’s true! One of my favorite things to do with the blog is find great music and then premiere it for you guys. This time around, I was exposed to the band in question, the mighty Swamp Hawk from Lexington, Kentucky, due to their collaboration with one Kelly Schilling, of blog favorites Dreadnought. The second I hear that name, I knew I was in for something good; Schilling is one of my favorite vocalists and she also has great taste in who she works with. But you know what I wasn’t expecting?

I wasn’t expecting getting pummeled in the face by some of the most explosive doom riffs I’ve heard in a while. But Swamp Hawk’s Monster in Color doesn’t really care about what I was expecting or not; all it cares about is deliver some somber, heavy-as-all-hell, and engaging doom metal. And now, it can deliver that all to you, as we’re proud to be premiering the album in full ahead of its March 5th release date. Head on down below to do just that and make sure you brace yourself: this stuff goes hard.

This album just goes so many places. There’s the absolutely stinky riff on “Orphic”, the track featuring Schilling’s vocals; it uses feedback in such a dirty way, setting you up for its lurch and release very well, echoing influences to illustrious bands such as Downfall of Gaia or Pallbearer. There are the opening vocal harmonies on “Leash”, reminding us of more upbeat pop/grunge acts like Torche or Lo-pan. There’s the furiously short “Pissant”, channeling a fair share of punk energies into the stoner/doom tones of its guitars before closer “Amberjack” transports us back into the majestic and unfurling doom at the base of the release with its morose vocals and acoustic guitar. There’s all that stuff and more, condensed into a tasteful nugget of an album, a release with very little fat and all muscle. Perhaps one explanation for what makes the album feel so compact and essential lies in the material realities of its recording. Says Joe, from Swamp Hawk:

There’s not much positive to say about a pandemic, but it sure does a bang-up job of putting the doom and gloom back in your step. This album was directly informed by the isolation and frustrations of the past year. It’s a series of character studies; a forgotten god, the first dog in space, and more than a couple jabs at the maskless asshats populating your local college bars during a global disaster. And sure, we’re one of the innumerable bands who have released or will be releasing something directly related to this piss-poor year, but I’d like to think that it’s a subject we can all commiserate over 127db drop-tuned riffs.

Ironically, Monster In Color also provided us with a pretty unique chance during the isolation to involve some of our busy friends in our music. We were lucky enough to be graced by our buds Josh (of head-throbbing stoner band Dirtbag), Kelly (of the absolutely unreal Dreadnought), and even one of our oldest pals Alex (who played with two of us in the now defunct Ford Theatre Reunion). The spirit of collaboration in such a dark time has put the spring back in our reverbs. Shit, did I just type that horrible dad joke? Anyway, thanks and turn it up loud.”

127db drop-tuned riffs forever, especially when they’re packaged in such a diverse, satisfying, and well executed package. Don’t forget to scroll on back above to pre-order this album before it drops this Friday; it is set to be one of 2021’s most satisfying releases, in the doom sphere and beyond it.

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