Albany New York quintet Downswing might not be house hold names as yet but with a pair of prized guest vocalists appearing on their debut full length, that should be something that changes before too long. Former Animal trio in guitarist Anthony Salvaggio, bassist Brandon Jared and drummer Nick Manzella got together and switched their allegiances from Metalcore to a more Hardcore orientated sound. Along the way they recruited vocalist Brett Colvin, known for his work in Pop-Punk bands and guitarist Chris Arnold. Together they dropped a three track demo going by the name of “Swingstyle“. That’s where The Acacia Strain connection comes in, as Vincent Bennett heard that demo and endorsed it on social media so his presence here is one of a fan doing the band a favour. November 2017 saw the release of a five track EP “Dark Side Of The Mind” via Rise Records. Both of those previous releases are on Spotify.
Beginning this new chapter of life for Downswing is 74 seconds of pick slides, chugging Hardcore Punk riffs and a certain amount of old school Metalcore guitar tone in “Fate”. That’s just a warm up for the album title track “Good Intentions” which takes things up a notch and incorporates an A Day To Remember style clean chorus before plunging to the depths for a brutal barked section before the next one. It’s those clean vocal parts that have been added to the bands sound for this album and were nowhere to be seen on their Rise Records EP. Breakdown riffs are piled upon each other while the guitar work has a loose live adrenaline feel to it. Vincent Bennett of The Acacia Strain appears on “Carbon Copy” and he provides the weight of vocal gravity behind Brett Colvin’s screechier parts as the breakdowns and mid tempo chugs keep coming in wave after wave. When Bennett does get his own verse, he decimates the weak and is given a suitable powerhouse riff to do his work over.
Taking some Everytime I Die influence for the verse and bringing back the sung chorus for “Sever” which is a whirlwind of tempo changes works really well. The downtempo pre-chorus section is delicious and the chorus itself will get more than its fair share of fans singing along at shows. It’s very much easy listening Metal with a catchy hook that delivers a satisfying crunch. Having a Pop-Punk feel with some tribal percussive moments “Disgrace” still manages to be heavy enough to crack a smile and will no doubt be a gateway track for some to heavier bands. “Cold Blood” on the other hand is the total opposite. A rager of a Hardcore Punk track that gallops like a prize race horse through the pack, it is a sonic style shift that might make some think it’s the work of another band. But the opposites attract and the end result sounds like it could belong to Dealer if it was in a different guitar tone. Combining the styles of the previous two tracks to create single “Breaking Point” that has an introspective verse and Nu-Metal melloncholic vibe to it is a nice touch. It has some gloriously bright lead flourishes along with that sing-a-long ability.
Former AlphaWolf and current Dealer vocalist Aiden Holmes appears on “Despair” which starts out as a more melodic cut that gradually gets heavier. An angst laden lyric “I’m just a let down, in time you’ll see” and some quality breakdowns light the blue touch paper and what would end up as a woe is me track for a lesser band ends up being Mosh friendly. Returning to toe Hardcore Punk with “Alibi” which Colvin rants and raves like a madman through lifts the tempo once again and continues the flow of quality. Is it an alibi or an excuse to get away with something you know is wrong? 90s Hardcore downtempo breakdown? Check! “Pain Over Pleasure” means one thing. All killer no filler. It slow bounce riffs with Metallic Hardcore edge like Sanction or Judiciary make way for an atmospheric closing moment and this is something we can recommend [8/10]
Carbon Copy (ft. Vincent Bennett of The Acacia Strain)
Despair (ft. Aidan Holmes of Dealer)
Pain Over Pleasure
“Good Intentions” by Downswing is out now via Stay Sick Recordings