February 22, 2011 - Seventh Rule
It’s not hard to see Fugazi’s influence among a variety of modern punk and hardcore bands, and it’s clear that the Swan King (featuring former Planes Mistaken For Stars bassist Jamie Drier) were reared on those aggressive rhythms and guitar riffs. The story doesn’t stop there, however. Built into their sharp-edged corners is an alliance with big, ’90s-melodic-heavy-metal riffs. Eyes Like Knives is an energetic album, for sure, but certain sections of songs transition through complicated guitar runs and thrashy, palm-muted riffs, carving out new, intellectual territory for both rowdies in the mosh pit and studded-jacket metal fans. While splitting the difference seems to be Swan King’s strength, the greatest weakness on Eyes Like Knives is a fierce allegiance to the tone they set early in the album. There’s not much sonic diversity within the realm they occupy, but it’s hard to fault a band for nailing their sound so distinctly out the gate.