Signs of the Swarm find themselves on the cusp of not only releasing their latest effort, Amongst The Low & Empty, and establishing a fresh new beginning for the band. With a string of singles leading up to the album’s release, the band has shown that there is no step down in brutality, energy, or most importantly, quality - a testament to a simple, indisputable truth - they'll never let hardships hold them back.
The band first surfaced strong back in 2014, and have since had faced some serious adversity to accompany the brutality they put forth. But, the ability to take things in stride and keep going, that perseverance and resolve, has made Signs of the Swarm one of the most formidable, still ascending acts in the new wave of deathcore. It has also certainly led to the creation of one of the most hotly anticipated albums of 2023.
Sitting down with both drummer Bobby Crow and vocalist David Simonich, we discuss the album's themes, inspirations and the surprising moments Signs of the Swarm has in store for us.
“I feel like with this record, it came together really fast,” Bobby stated. “It was more about making something that was genuinely 'us.' Every record has been a little different. It's been an expression of who was in the band at the time. This was our first album with our bass player Mike and he’s got a great style that he brings to the band. It’s been great getting to hear the individuality of everybody. Dave opens up a bit more on vocals, both expanding and going back to his roots a little bit. It’s a really cool amalgamation of who we are as people.”
“When I listen to the album, I can hear all of the influences from everybody in the band and I’m really excited for that.”
“I’m really excited to show the diversity of the record,” shares David. “We showcased a lot of elements that we normally don’t use with the band. We were trying to just do something different. Given the circumstances of how we wrote this record, I feel like there’s a lot that happened in the moment. I’m very excited to showcase just how many different vibes that we put into the record. It’s a full experience from start to finish. It takes you on this rollercoaster.
“I’m excited for people to tell me how that rollercoaster ride was. Because we put blood, sweat and tears into this and I’m ready for it to be let loose.”
The wonderful thing about this generation of deathcore artists is that inspiration can come from anywhere. No longer formulaic, bands bring in influences from the most unexpected places.
“‘Amongst The Low & Empty’ was inspired by ‘Dead and Bloated’”, explained David. “We wanted to do something that was a heavy vocal line and then went into something heavy. But the vocal line just didn’t fit the song we were trying to use it in, so we said “What if we did something ignorant and just let it bang.” And that’s how “Amongst The Low & Empty” was born. I actually honed in on my metalcore roots a bit more on this record. There is this one part in “Dream Killer”, there is a high-mid yell that I do that’s some Parkway Drive shit! It was really exciting honing in on my roots.”
“The “Dead and Bloated” thing is so funny,” laughed Bobby. “We kept saying it and thinking we can’t do that because it’s so silly, but it just fit so well.”
“That’s the kind of stuff my mom and step-dad were listening to when I was a kid,” David explained.
“There’s a lot of Deftones influence to the record. Meshuggah, they’re the kings of heavy and it definitely shows that they influenced us a lot.”
“I feel like you can hear what we all grew up with,” Bobby reminisced.
“Our previous records, it was more like “we need a breakdown here because we haven’t had a breakdown in awhile.” It felt like a formula and on this record we tried not to do that. It was more about trusting your gut and going with it.”
“We really tried to, where if you were expecting a certain type of sound, to do something that feels right, but is not that.”
And the band does certainly take some unexpected turns on this album! “I mean, we have an EDM break at the end before we conclude it.” David shared.
“It feels more like movie soundscaping rather than intense brutality,” says Bobby.
Given that this album marks a new beginning for the band, both Bobby and David had their thoughts on which song best encapsulates who Signs of the Swarm is now and the direction they want to take things moving forward.
“If I had to choose a song to introduce people to the band out of the four singles, I would say “Tower of Torsos” or “Amongst The Low & Empty”. “Tower of Torsos” and “Pray For Death” are my two favorites,” said David.
“The album covers a lot of ground,” Bobby added. “There's some really heavy stuff, there’s some melodic stuff, there’s some more traditional elements and then there’s some just crazy shit. Like “Pray for Death” is just heavy and there’s not a lot of repeating parts. I feel like that stuff will appease our older fans. We also have some songs that are longer and more epic as well.”
“I think “Shackles Like Talons” covers all these pieces of the band. The intro sounds like something from our 3rd record, while the chorus is very fresh, and there’s this big interlude, and the ending is more like our 2nd record. It’s a really good representation of us taking all these things and bringing them together. My favorite song though is “Faces Without Names,” though.”
Signs of the Swarm has a packed 2023 planned with touring galore. They will hit the road this August in Europe, before returning home to the states for a run with Carnifex, To The Grave, and The Last Ten Seconds of Life this fall.
“I am personally looking forward to playing “Pray For Death” at Summer Breeze,” shared David. “I wrote that song with that image in my head. We are having our first opportunity to play Summer Breeze and I was thinking “What would I scream to almost 40,000” and I’d want everyone to “pray for death” because they’re about to lose it. I’m so eager to watch people go absolutely batshit.”
“Another one is “Borrowed Time”. It has some of the same energy as “Amongst The Low & Empty” but it's a little more bouncy and chorus driven.”
“I’m not looking forward to playing “Between Fire And Stone” because that song is going to beat the shit out of me live (laughs). That one’s just non-stop, relentless force. They let me off the chain on that one and I just did what I wanted to do.”
“I feel like with the bouncy stuff, the crowd is taking to that more,” Bobby added. “‘Amongst The Low & Empty’ it’s an immediate vibe change in the crowd. They’re very jumpy and high energy. The room just explodes, it's a wall of people jumping.”
Signs of the Swarm has had their share of ups and downs throughout their almost 10 years as a band. And while this album may not be their first, it is deeply personal for each member and was a cathartic experience unleashing the past 10 years.
“I hope people can take the album and live their best life,” says David. “I put so much of my personal emotions and experiences for people to relate to and I hope it really connects with them and gives them the outlet that they need. I used this whole genre for myself back in the day, and I hope I can help at least one person and make them think 'This dude’s spittin’ my life right now.' I want my music to be connectable for people who are going through some shitty circumstances and let them know that they’re not alone.”
If you’re down here at the bottom of this interview, then you know what is about to come. The burning question that separates the boys from the men. What are Bobby and David’s favorite dinosaurs?
“I’m gonna go with velociraptor. It’s just so cool. I love the pack mentality,” says Bobby.
“I can’t remember the name of it, dude!” exclaimed David. “It’s the one with the rock for a head. [Pachycephalosaurus]. That thing is a force to be reckoned with. I remember that shit on Jurassic Park and it was crazy! It could be a perfect Pokemon for me. We’ll just chill, I won't make him mad and he won't break my bones.”
Amongst The Low & Empty is out now via Century Media Records.
Pre-order the album - HERE
Catch Signs of the Swarm live as direct support on the NECROMANTEUM tour this fall with Carnifex along with special guests To the Grave and The Last Ten Seconds of Life. See cities and dates below.
Get tickets - HERE