Swarm of the Lotus

Sure, some might say that us metalheads spend all our time being gloomy and doomy, but when the apocalyptic mire sounds this good, what’s the point in being happy? Baltimore’s Swarm of the Lotus are following in the footsteps of the usual suspects (Neurosis and Isis) and have done a good job at not just replicating but innovating. Utilising shorter songs (most of the time) and a slightly more upbeat, listenable dirge than their contemporaries, When White Becomes Black is a 50-minute journey into the depths of all things unpleasant; the epic chords and relentless drums provide the forward momentum while guitarist/vocalist Pete Maturi screams his cryptic lyrical venom in a scratchy bellow. The band mixes up tempo and dynamics enough to avoid the lethargy that can often overwhelm this kind of stuff. It becomes a bit much to swallow by album’s end; there’s only so much aural abuse one person can take. Still, impressive for a debut and the end result is satisfying as all get out, even if it might feel like you’ve heard it once or twice before.

This is pretty serious music; what sort of non-musical influences drive you to make this? Maturi: I'd say anything and everything in life. Every action causes a reaction, and these reactions are our music. Every emotion is reflected in the songs that we write. I believe music has a life of its own, living and breathing independently. It has its ups and downs; sometimes very pissed, sometimes very delicate and calm, like that of a human being. From manic to almost catatonic and back again. In essence, the four of our lives being chewed up, swallowed and spit back out directly at you.

Do you ever smile while you’re playing this stuff? Yes, a lot actually. I've actually been keeled over laughing before in the middle of playing. Bottom line, it's all about having a good time. If you can't do that, then that is something I can't and don't want to understand. Yes, the music is serious and abrasive, but for as much as we are serious people, we are loons just the same. I'm smiling right now.