Switchblade Switchblade

I think my favourite minimal metal track of all time is the EP version of Trans Am’s "Slow Response” — one chord, a complex time signature, a single refrain and a whole lot of tension make it a superbly slow-burning affair. When Switchblade’s opener (all of the tracks on this debut are untitled) kicks off, it sounds like a young band attempting to cover Trans Am’s "Slow Response” without that band’s mastery of precision. Comparatively, Swedish trio Switchblade is like a math-rock metal band, a balls-out Don Caballero for the hardcore set. Their songs plod along with the best of intentions and to a large degree they’re successful, but there just seems to be something not quite up to par here; things seem a little bit too straight ahead, the album lacks hard-hitting tightness and the loose production kills the band’s huge potential for creating the tension that have made minimal metal Gods of Isis and Sleep, to name a few. But this is still a strong debut that suggests Switchblade could blossom drastically with future releases. (Icarus)