Monday, May 22, 2017

Swaylex - Raging Rapids

Swaylex - Raging Rapids 

No more record companies, no more self-appointed gatekeepers. Musicians like Swaylex have become the norm in recent years, rather than odd standouts, thanks to the increasingly willingness of performers to upload their wares to platforms like YouTube in an effort to reach their audience directly. Despite the video presentation, in this case quite unfettered and direct, the music still has to connect. There’s no danger of that with Swaylex’s tunes and this one in particular, “Raging Rapids”, has straight ahead rock muscle that announces itself from the first and never relents. It has excellent construction, however, and never lacks for musicality. Instead, there’s an equal mix of melody and heavy riffing in this track that has the right balance without ever veering too far in either direction. He brings the sensibility of a seasoned musician to this work and it makes it an even more enjoyable musical experience.  
You will be forgiven if you don’t think there’s going to be melody based on the song’s first few seconds. Instead, it seems like he’s intent on crafting a bit of music for some movie soundtrack, but just as you grow accustomed to that idea, Swaylex’s music takes a turn into one of its consistent strengths. He can hammer home a riff, driving it deep into listener’s memory, but “Raging Rapids” proves he’s equally adept at marrying that approach to a talent for really putting over some understated melodic virtues. The lead and rhythm guitar sounds have a deep warmth that will lure listeners in and even the intensity of the song never attacks listeners in such a way that they may feel compelled to turn away. There’s certainly a claustrophobic air about the progression and how he plays it, but we are inside an imaginative experience here and his total confidence in how it should unfold wins us over as well. 
The bass is rather rudimentary, but it provides great ballast for the drums, rhythm guitar, and lead work to play against. The lead and rhythm tracks are ideally matched and Swaylex creates enough space in the music that allows it to breathe without ever sacrificing any of its intensity and energy. He deserves plaudits for that alone. Moreover, his decision here, like elsewhere, to refrain belaboring his musical points with the audience assures us that he will never risking boring us in an effort to prove his chops. Those are apparent from the beginning. Nor will you ever listen to this performance and wish for a singer. There’s a dramatic edge to the song that will keep you figuratively on the edge of your seat from the beginning and he plays that aspect just right.  This is the sort of series of solid artistic decision making that we associate with experienced musical hands and it’s clear that this young man is something of a prodigy in that regard. “Raging Rapids” will entertain and grab you physically.  

Scott Wigley

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