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Any real discussion of Success Will Write Apocalypse Across The Sky will, intentionally or inadvertently, lead to discussion of Bodies In The Gears Of The Apparatus. The specter of that late project is never far from this new one, which rather unreasonably has colored many of the central Florida scene's fans with some rather strange expectations of what this new endeavor is 'supposed' to turn out. Then again, the relation isn't quite a bad thing: Bodies In The Gears Of The Apparatus experienced a sort of post-mortem sainting, when around 2006 a sudden wave of interest exploded in the band for various reasons that I won't go into here. To make a long story short, that noisy death/grind setup, with its single demo, EP, and split releases, holds a position that is very near and dear to the hearts of numerous fans of extreme music throughout central Florida. It is only natural, then, that the spiritual successor to that band would receive a great deal of attention at the hands of the public.
That being said, Success Will Write Apocalypse Across The Sky is not Bodies In The Gears Of The Apparatus, nor will it ever be; it was never intended to be in the first place. It's different in a hell of a lot of critical ways, and you can make an argument to it lacking a lot of the elements that made Bodies In The Gears Of The Apparatus so unique. It's not as chaotic, atonal, bizarre, or inaccessible, both musically and structurally as an artistic entity. It's been replaced by other things, though, which are pretty important: cohesion, a renewed sense of vision, and a greater professionalism. This is a band with an actual chance at surviving and making more than three releases total. The band, like the music, seems a lot more stable. It's less experimental, but it's more consistent and logical overall. It's not music designed to appeal to fans of the late band, though it has commonalities that will likely appeal to them. But if you're going into 'Subhuman Empire' expecting that sound, you'll obviously be disappointed.
First and foremost: less grind/core stuff, more pure death. The music that Success Will Write Apocalypse Across The Sky plays is much more grounded in a definably 'metal' sound, with cues taken from bands like Cryptopsy, Aborted, and Despised Icon much more than Human Remains. It's still technical, still fast, and still savage, but it's more collected and less prone to breaking down at seemingly random intervals. The songs are more coherent: there aren't any tracks like 'The Ugliest Smile In Rock And Roll' or other forays into bitter half-jokes. Everything is fully realized, more established, more lucid. It's still enormously abrasive and grinding, but the band has a larger grounding in convention (not a bad thing). Everything is more definite: the riffs are clearer and thicker, the drumming is still creative but is logical and not as completely off-kilter, and the vocals have changed from constantly changing pools of screeching to more conventional varieties of death growls. There are still plenty of tempo and rhythm changes, but even they are willing to maintain a groove sometimes ('The Agenda', though some will hate me for it, totally has a Waking The Cadaver-style groove in it). No, it's not as weird, but I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing.
But let's stop thinking about this band in terms of Bodies In The Gears Of The Apparatus and start seeing it as an independent project. When you divorce it from all previous connections, Success Will Write Apocalypse Across The Sky is excellent in its own right. This EP can easily be seen as some of the finest brutal death/grind out there today, no question. It has good riffs: memorable ones, heavy ones, groove ones and tech ones, with a lot of variation but no inconsistency in quality. It's pretty accessible due to the very good production, playing, and composition of the songs. It doesn't compromise for the listener but it doesn't needlessly make things abrasive either. It's a very balanced release that touches on all the corners of death/grind without enslaving itself to any, and while such variation would harm most bands, this one is able to pull it off very well.
As a bizarre, experimental art piece, I prefer Bodies In The Gears Of The Apparatus. As a listener and death metaller, I prefer Success Will Write Apocalypse Across The Sky. Which one you prefer will all come down to your opinion of what's more important: should music drive the message home, or should the message be used to create more profound music? Personally, I think both bands are on roughly equal footing insofar as quality, so either way: go for it. It'll be a worthwhile addition to your collection most certainly.
This exciting act from Tampa, FL is made up of five equally talented musicians, two being from the legendary grind band Bodies In The Gears Of The Apparatus. SWWAATS is very different than Bodies altogether. While BITGOTA was a kind of angry, abrasive hypergrind, SWWAATS is an even angrier, ballsier, death metal-influenced beast of a band. You cannot judge this band by their name. It has more meaning and thought behind it than it is long. Perhaps if people stopped shit talking and looked up William H. Burroughs, who coined the band's name and is featured in samples on this CD, they might have a better understanding of where this band is coming from on an artistic level. Then again, putting forth any effort isn't a standard in certain people's taste in music.
Grindcore today seems to be either a pretty haircut fest or some arty, trendy, sludge-influenced bullshit. SWWAATS is keeping those old school ideals yet evolves the old school sound. They have the rawness, angst and speed of old school Grindcore and also have the power and technique of good death metal (i.e. Cryptopsy, Suffocation). An aspect that also makes SWWAATS original is their unique guitar tuning that was also used in BITGOTA.
Their singer John Collett has the throat of a lion! Go to the zoo some day and sit next to the lion exhibit. If you listen to it roar, that's John. So many vocalists force their performances out. John actually talks like he sings. He just talks a little louder when he's on stage. It has been admitted that he held back on this recording so when playing live it will bring down the house with more power than ever. Ian Sturgill, second guitarist and ex-BITGOTA, sings backing vocals on this album and they are highly up to par as well. They are a lot less deep than John's but just as pissed off and frantic. It makes you wonder what it would have added to a second Bodies full-length. I hope he continues to sing and I hope on a future SWWAATS full-length he will use them more. John and Ian highly compliment each other! Aaron Haines, also from Bodies, does the other guitar work with pure power. Mike Petrak's drumming style is a kind of blackened trash, adding many creative accents to what is already pretty detailed music.
Personally, I hear a subtle Southern flair in SWWAATS's music. They are just so naturally gritty and rough. Perhaps it's their Tampa environment. Also, the samples of William H. Burroughs really adds to my theory. Though WHB isn't from the South, there's something in his raspy voice that makes you think of a serial killer's ranting.
I'd like to say 90 percent of my musical critisms are based on the actual music itself. There is, however, that 10 percent in the undertow of judgment based on the band's integrity. I try to write about a band's music as much as possible but when I find a band like Success Will Write Apocalypse Across the Sky you can't dispute the heart and soul within them. Success Will Write Apocalypse Across the Sky isn't the sort of band to sell out the people that love them and support them. No fan is insignificant to them. There are other bands affiliated with ex-Bodies In The Gears Of The Apparatus members but none of them are as humble and hardworking as SWWAATS. The band really is paying their dues and the driving force that once was behind Bodies In The Gears is far from gone. In fact, it's more alive now than Bodies in their prime.
(Originally written for The Apparatus)