Desertdrive – Released April 20, 2018
Reviewed by Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler
Gergely (Greg) Kovács (vocals)
Zoltán Bereczki (guitar, vocals)
András Makay (guitar)
Márton Veress (drums)
Sándor Szabó (bass)
Queen of The Dirt
Hello once again my fellow tasters. Here at Taste Nation LLC – A Music Consortium we strive to bring fans and musicians of all genres together. To do that we scour the internet and our local music scenes for music submissions by fans and bands from around the world. One of our most recent submissions comes from a band called Red Swamp.
After downloading the band’s 2nd album Desertdrive and adjusting the sound settings to rock, I got an earful of ‘Hell Yeah!’ Wanting to know more about the band I went to their Facebook page were I learned the band hails from Hungary’s capitol city Budapest and the names of the members and little else. I could have just went with that and this review would just be a short blurb about some Hungarian metal band but the music sounded to good to let my review be a blurb. So I decided to contact them and ask them a bit about their band as I am not at all familiar with the Eastern European metal scene.
Formed in 2015 by its 3 founding members vocalist Gergely (Greg) Kovács, guitarist // vocalist Zoltán Bereczki, and bassist Sándor Szabó, Red Swamp seemingly hit the ground running when they entered the music scene. With little more than a 3 song EP that they circulated throughout the stoner/sludge/doom music blogs and pages, they earned rave reviews. It was these earlier releases that lead to Red Swamp being 1 of 500 applicants in 5 general categories, accepted into the Talentometer (one of Hungary’s biggest musical talent competitions cultivated by the A38 Ship concert venue) and winning 1st place. With their prizes, Red Swamp hit the open road Headlining their own “Support the Habit” tour and opening for local and international bands where they played sold out shows with Karma to Burn, Clutch, and Sons of Morpheus. They have also played Hungary’s Rockmarathon twice and EFOTT where they got the audience so nuts they turned the joint into a huge mud hole. All of which resulted in the release of their debut album Tiszassippi on September 21st 2016.
After touring the Hell out of their album Tiszassippi in Hungary and Austria, Red Swamp sought to keep the momentum and went right back into song writing mode for their Sophomore album Desertdrive and recruited Márton Veress (formerly of Pokolgép Hungary’s biggest metal band and ex member of Chris Amott’s Armageddon, and now member of Aelonia, which is Jake Pitt of the Black Veil Brides project.) Whew!!…Now got all that out of the way I can tell you what this means to the band and their latest offering. Unlike Tiszassippi which created the basis around Red Swamp, Márton Veress’ skill has allowed the band to polish and refine its overall sound.
Tiszassippi was mastered by maestro Jens Borgen of Fascination Studios who is best known for his work with At The Gates, Soilwork, and Arch Enemy. Tiszassippi is the result of Red Swamps evolution as a band in the 1st year in which they developed their sound which swift current beneath a sludgy surface resulting in something that sounds akin to heavy southern rock. Thus the album title that combines the names of Hungary’s and the United State’s Mississippi rivers.
When I first heard Red Swamp I was in a bit of a conundrum. I found myself asking How do a bunch of musicians from Hungary sound so Southern Fried? Of course after a bit of thought I recalled the British Blues Rock scene of the late 60’s and 70’s and came upon my answer. Influenced by many different bands, Red Swamp seems to have taken a sort of VOLBEAT type of approach to Desertdrive by concentrating on catchier hooks and clear vocals backed up by harsh vocals rather than slam the listener with ten tons of sludge. While the band may attribute quite a bit of this to their new drummer I believe the addition of his skill and presence to the line-up is a huge confidence booster because it allows them to get the exact sound they want.
All in all I’d say Red Swamp did one Hell of a job. From getting their album recorded under Hungary’s acclaimed Hunnia Records, to getting the support of Hungary’s National Cultural Foundation, and the sponsorship of the Hanfoglaló music program that they used to record Desertdrive. Red Swamp’s own guitarist Zoli Bereczki mixed and mastered the album. I love all of the 8 songs on this album but, my favorite is ‘Waste’ and its music video which is a damn good introduction to the band for us Yanks here in America. All one has to do is watch it to see why its climbing the rock video charts in Hungary.
Among my other favorites are the albums title track ‘Desertdrive’ which feels sort of like a tip of the hat to VOLBEAT with Márton Veress’s bouncy drums Greg’s Anthem vocal hook “You had every piece of me except the one” backed up by Zoli’s leads and harsh vocals. While Red Swamp calls itself stoner/sludge; track ‘Castaways’ treats the listener to some thrashing guitar breakdown combined with Sándor Szabó’s rolling bass. This is an album that is definitely worth getting on CD or vinyl and a band I would love to see come to the States. Show Red Swamp your love and support! If you are an American Band Promoter or somebody that can make this happen, drop them a line and tell them you were sent by The Ancient One!