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Perverse Osmosis - "Swarm, Kobold, Swarm!" (CD)

Perverse Osmosis - "Swarm, Kobold, Swarm!" CD cover image

"Swarm, Kobold, Swarm!" track listing:

1. Planet of the Vampires (1:05)
2. Super Skunk (0:31)
3. Kobold Swarm (0:58)
4. Make It Today (0:45)
5. Know Your Enemy (0:49)
6. Don't Disturb the Crawler (1:13)
7. Berserker (0:56)
8. The Breathing Dead (1:49)
9. Tiger in an Ascot (1:49)
10. Test Tube Circle Pit (2:27)
11. Unnamed (1:16)

Reviewed by on May 5, 2009

"It almost seems wrong to deride the album in any way, as the band members are obviously having a ton of fun and they don’t appear to actually want anyone to take them seriously."

Metal is an incredibly diverse genre that spans a huge number of styles and has a massive amount of influences from other ends of the musical spectrum. Because of the large pool of resources to draw from nearly every metal album out there has some sort of redeeming quality that makes it worth hearing at least once. “Swarm, Kobold, Swarm!” comes very close to shattering that notion, as there is basically no audience for the sounds created in the debut album of Baltimore band Perverse Osmosis.

The band members have stated that they frequently can’t tell the difference between thrash, any other form of metal, and punk. “Swarm, Kobold, Swarm!” is a fourteen minute testament to that statement. There’s no actual drive behind any of the songs and they just wander wherever they want without any sort of end goal in mind. Each instrument gets thrown haphazardly into the mix without any sort of real thought about how it will interact with the others. Each song is just a big mass of chaotic sound barely held together by the thread of the lyrical themes. Thankfully the tracks are all mercifully short, usually clocking in at just a round a single minute each. Despite the extremely short length the first four songs still all sound almost exactly the same and easily could have been condensed into a single track.

The only draw for the album is the humorous subject matter, as nearly every song is an ode to some obscure aspect of the Dungeons and Dragons role playing game that only serious gamers would even understand. The title track explains, in quite some detail, how the party of adventurers made it passed the swarm of yapping kobold creatures in an underground cavern. Hardcore Dungeons and Dragons fans will get a kick out of hearing about how a character made their saving throw to avoid the pit trap and then the party’s mage cast the “create water” spell to end the fiery oil menace, but anybody else will probably just want the noise to stop.

Other role playing references pop up throughout the various songs, such as on “Know Your Enemy” when the listener is advised to find the weaknesses of monsters in the Monstrous Manual so the party can be saved from annihilation. “Don’t Disturb The Crawler” is an instructional on how to avoid unnecessary combat by sneaking around the dreaded carrion crawler. The final song on the album then drops all vestiges of humor and instead just creates what seems like an unending screech of godforsaken noise, even though it’s just slightly over a minute in length. The production on the track is so incredibly bad it seems like they are actively trying to make people’s ears bleed and send their listener’s colons onto a pants soiling spasm fest. Anyone who has recently bought some snazzy new jeans should skip the song altogether.

It almost seems wrong to deride the album in any way, as the band members are obviously having a ton of fun and they don’t appear to actually want anyone to take them seriously. Of course, none of that changes the fact that there is absolutely no one who would actively choose to listen to “Swarm, Kobold, Swarm.”

Highs: Sometimes the lyrics make you chuckle

Lows: Absolutely terrible music that no one would actually want to listen to

Bottom line: There is no audience at all for this chaotic amalgam of Dungeons and Dragons themed "songs"

Rated 1 out of 5 skulls
1 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)