REVIEW: Swarf - "Fall"

By Pat Hawkes-Reed (GothPat)
Photos by Pat Hawkes-Reed (GothPat)

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Fall1.(n)the curly strips of metal waste you get from a lathe. Small, cute and shiny, but hard as nails.
2.(n)Brighton, England based 3 piece band

The first time I saw Swarf was at an Uncle Nemesis gig at the Underworld in London. I did photos of the bands for him to use for promotional purposes on his website, and I figured that I would be suffering through a few songs to get the photos and then head to the back bar area to escape some beginning band's racket. No one I knew had heard of them, so I was expecting the worst.

Well, I was in for a huge surprise, as were most of the people who showed up early enough for the first band. The first song had me entranced. I stayed in front for their entire set, as did a majority of the people there. Liz's voice is what did few industrial, and, even goth bands have a frontperson with such strong, beautiful, soaring vocals. By the end of their set, they had almost everyone who had arrived so far, up front, dancing and applauding. (For photos of this gig, see and go to August 2000.)

SwarfMany people (besides me) asked the band about a tape or CD. Unfortunately, there wasn't one. It turns out that this was only their 3rd or 4th live gig. Luckily, Lee from Wasp Factory was there to pester them about it, and succeeded in signing them to his label. This EP, Fall, is what has come of this so far. The EP includes Fall, Vision and Sorrow as well as 4 remixes of Fall done by label mates Chaos Engine, Exitboy, Tarantella Serpentine and Freudstein.

Fall (original version) reels you in with a catchy melody, and grabs you when Liz's vocals join in. If you aren't dancing (or at least hopping around a bit) when this is on, then you must be dead. Vision is a bit slower and swoopy, but that is no bad thing. Liz's vocals really shine here, and one is given an idea of how impressive a Swarf live performance is simply by hearing her voice. Sorrow is a change of tempo, a slow ballad. The synths maintain a melancholy atmospheric sound which accentuates the lyrics.

SwarfFall (chaosphere) gives the title track a slightly heavier, more techo feel than the original. A floor-filler for those who like to bounce! Fall (falls apart) warps the original totally, twisting it into a gabba-esque free-for-all. Fall (dirty little fucker) also tweaks the original in such a way to have you thinking "is this the same song?" over and over again. This version is almost an instrumental, it uses Liz's voice sparingly. Fall (freudstein) has a bit more of a Dario Argento soundtrack feel to it, which reflects Freudsteins' sound.

Swarf recently appeared at Eurorock, a 3 day gothic, industrial and death metal festival in Neerpeldt, Belgium along with most of the Wasp Factory label bands. They went onstage in late afternoon during Nina Hagen's set (on the next stage over), and, during breaks in Nina's set, lured many punters to their stage. By the time they finished their set, they had a full area of dancing, screaming new-found fans. As far as I know, they were the only band to be able to give an encore that weekend simply because of the sheer amount of cheering and yelling after their set. The majority of people who were there had never seen them or heard of them before this performance, and were won over completely. The babble of excited comments in various languages proved that they have universal appeal.

Swarf are preparing for a full CD soon, which is anxiously awaited by many people in Europe. I hope that the rest of the world picks up on them-I feel that they could be massive! Swarf will be performing at the November Whitby Gothic Weekend as well as various other gigs around England. A word to the wise: future Convergence committees and US gothic/industrial promoters...give this band a listen, and book 'em!

Post: Swarf, Flat 2, 8 Norrfolk Terrace, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 3AD, England

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