The harrowing video we’re presenting today for Bodyfarm‘s “The Swamp” is open to interpretation. It may be that the modern-day protagonist is suffering from a psychotic or schizophrenic episode, and that what he sees and experiences is a figment of his own mind. Or it may be that he is caught in some kind of time loop or state of possession, in which he really does frantically trade places with a soldier fighting for his life on an old battlefield. Or it may be a metaphor for the violent battlefield of human life today and in all ages.
However you choose to interpret it, it’s an unsettling thing to see, but the power of the song itself is if anything even more massive and emotionally devastating. It’s also the kind of song that has the hallmarks of an instant classic, a melding of crushing death metal heaviness, ravaging vocals, and intensely affecting melody, and a reminder of just how daunting a force Bodyfarm still are, after more than a dozen years following their inception.
photo by Stefan Schipper
This Dutch band’s last album, 2019’s Dreadlord, was released not long after the tragic death of their founding vocalist Thomas Wouters. Later, the band had an amicable parting with longtime drummer Quint Meerbeek. Yet in time the band forged ahead, bringing in new vocalist and bassist Ralph de Boer and new drummer David Schermann, with former bassist Alex Seegers becoming a second guitarist along with founding guitarist Bram Hilhorst.
They’ve explained that all worked together, building upon the arrangements mostly written by Hilhorst and Seegers. The results of their collaboration are captured in the band’s new album Ultimate Abomination, which is set for release on February 24th by Edged Circle Productions. It’s an album that presents a variety of experiences — different tempos, different moods, different stylistic variations on the band’s past works, and “The Swamp” is one compelling example of that.
It’s a mid-paced crusher, and the vocals are startling in their far-ranging savagery, but the melodies in the song are themes of hopelessness, despair, and agony. It’s no wonder that the band chose to open the song with a deeply sad string performance, and the segue from that to the even more daunting tremolo’d opening riff is beautifully fluid.
That riff is a big grim hook, and comes back to dig in deeper, but the song is also a rumbling and jolting tank attack. The drums boom like cannons and clatter like shrapnel. The vocals rise from bestial growls and snarls to unhinged screams. Fluid guitar leads surface with a melody that amplifies the song’s moods of confusion and despair, and it gets stuck in the head too.
As the song builds to its closing crescendo, the vocals become insane; the vibrating riffage roils and hammers; the lead guitar moans, wails, and convulses; and the rhythm section put on a bone-breaking assault, creating a ravishing encapsulation of pain and peril.
Credit for directing and editing the video goes to Sebastiaan Spijker for Multi Media Music Video Production.
This is the third song and video that Bodyfarm and Edged Circle have presented on the road to the new album’s release, and “The Swamp” is being released today as a single. The first two singles, “Torment” and “Blasting Tyranny“, show you just how much dynamic variety this fifth Bodyfarm album Ultimate Abomination holds in store, and just how catchy and groovesome the songwriting is. Those two songs were also presented with excellent videos, and we’ve included both of them below.
As for the album’s themes, Bram Hilhorst explains that the songs focus on psychological warfare. “Views from a violent and devastating psychological sight from the dark depths of our minds and human behavior. You can parallel it to ‘wars in the battlefield of life itself.’ The songs are all stories in themselves, but all relate to this subject.”
Opportunities to pre-order physical editions of the album (which feature stunning cover art by Daemorph Art) are available now: