It can’t be for nothing!
-- Last Of Us --
[METAL SHREDDER REPORTING]
I recently received a physical copy of Last Of Us’s debut album from my good friend and business partner Mike De Coene from Hard Life Promotion. Since Mike had already given me plenty of awesome underground rock and metal stuff in the past I knew that this was going to be yet another sweet album to shred! So let’s get started!
[THE SHREDDING BASICS]
Swarm is the first album from the Ninove based instrumental post-metal band Last Of Us, featuring 3 former members of the now defunct black metal band Nagrach. The album is released independently. The album starts off with strong with “Omen,” a track that slowly builds itself up without getting overly climatic as it goes through its 6-minute runtime. Most of the songs on Swarm follow the same structure, starting with a gentle yet moody guitar or drum beat and gradually increasing in intensity towards a series of fast and frantic beats and finally cooling down and fading away to the next song. In addition to the classic metal arsenal of guitars, drums and bass, Last Of Us also employs many ambient samples (mainly during the endings) as well as violin in the track “Verlossing.”
Although I’m not a big fan of overly long tracks, I’m happy to admit that the songs on Swarm don’t feel as long as they appear to be. It feels like one single track on Swarm is actually a compilation of two or three mini-songs compiled into a single, coherent tune. Especially songs like “Breed I Hybrid” as well as “…And The Swarm Came To Harvest” feel exactly like that. And that’s the whole beauty of this album, in addition to its atmosphere, which is post-apocalyptically dark. In fact, while listening to the album I often thought about the iconic PlayStation videogame franchise of the same name. Both Last Of Us’s take place in a post-apocalyptic world. Both feature plenty of moments of danger, grimness and doom but also of hope. Both have high-octane action filled parts and slow, moody parts. Yes, it all comes together now!
[THE SHREDDING VISION]
Last Of Us’s pyramid logo on the front cover of Swarm reminds me a lot of the Illuminati logo, with that big circle in the middle looking at me like an eye. The surrounding building blocks kind of look like a city landscape and the white particles flying through the air actually remind me of the cordyceps spores from the Last Of Us videogames, spreading around the derelict city and infecting humans everywhere!
[THE SHRARPEST SHREDS AND BLUNTEST BLADES]
I already talked about Swarm’s opening track “Omen” and I can’t help but feel impressed by the way Last Of Us managed to build up the tension and atmosphere for this track and album as a whole. A great first encounter! But my top pick goes to the second track, “Anomalie.” Not wasting any of the buildup from the opening song, “Anomalie” opens up with an epic instrumental part that reemerges a second time at the end of the track as a sort of “chorus.” This set of riffs in particular kept playing inside my head for a very long time. It’s thunderous, it’s badass and above all else, hopeful! Like a glimmer of light to illuminate the album’s overall darkness!
However, I would’ve cut the V For Vendetta and Great Dictator monologues from “Breed I Hybrid” and “…And The Swarm Came To Harvest” respectively. They’re distracting and don’t add anything to the stories of their respective songs. The album’s final track, “Hope(less)” is the only track that features vocals but in this case they’re used more efficiently as demonic howling heard in the background without stealing the spotlight from the song’s main melodies. In the end, however, I believe Last Of Us are better off letting their instruments do the talking. Which they do for the most part, so they’re getting…
[THE SHREDDER’S SCORECARD]
7,5 cordyceps spores out of 10! Last Of Us’s first release is a very enjoyable post-metal album that I’d love to see being performed live in its entirety one day. Swarm tells a long but engaging post-apocalyptic story told with genuine heart and soul. So get yourself a good drink, pop in the first Last Of Us game (because we’re still waiting for the sequel) and enjoy this namesake band. Here’s a track from the album! It’s “…And The Swarm Came To Harvest.”