• 7.8/10
    BLACK SWAMP WATER - Awakening - 7.8/10


Label: Mighty Music
Release date: August 20, 2021

User Review
5.75/10 (2 votes)

Things seem to go in threes…

The third album is often a landmark in any band career. Critics view the third release as the album of maturity, confirming a musical formula with the adjusted mix of originality and influences. It is not entirely the case with Black Swamp Water’s new album Awakening.

Their second album (Distant Thunder) showed some encouraging skills in composition but was undermined in part by a messy production. This time, they drifted away from their rock influences to evolve in a heavier, rougher and more compact direction. The Southern, country influence is still present, reduced to its essence, however, not to the detriment of melodies. Acoustic guitars are discreet. It is only with the midtempo “Send Me Away” that you can find echoes of their previous sounds, such as the excellent “Bitter Harvest”. Despite the homogeneity of the album, “Better Days” brings a bit of fresh air to the overall composition.*

“Or children of today are children of the grave”

Covering a classic Heavy Metal anthem such as “Children of the Grave” can be a dangerous exercise. The result is decent with a modern twist (modern perhaps only because you cannot hear the static of the old vinyl.) Ozzy Osbourne vocals remain arduous to imitate and compared to the original the bass line lacks some punch. Black Swamp Water is too good a student to divert too much from their model. A downside to their skills is the overall production of the album. The drums and guitar are mixed properly. The bass and vocals could gain from an emphasis in the opening songs. It gets better throughout the album.

With their odd balance between Black Sabbath and Electric Mary, Black Swamp Water offers you admirable work. One could guess that their compositions would reveal their whole potential on a stage.

*If you ever need a better days playlist, you can complete it with another “Better Days” song by the Sticky Boys


  • Séverine Peraldino

    Reviewer, interviewer and apprentice photographer for Metal Express Radio, Séverine comes from a small place in the Southern French Alps, near Grenoble. Her taste for classic Heavy Metal is a family heritage and after growing up listening to Iron Maiden, Dio, Metallica and Angra she expanded her horizons with almost every subgenre of Metal, from Power, to Prog, a little bit of Death and Black Metal. She mostly enjoys albums telling stories with originality. When she is not travelling around for concerts and festivals, you can find her reading a good book, or playing board games with friends.

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