The whole doomy, sludgy, 'stoner metal' thing never really caught on with me. Although this might be the case with most bands that have these genres associated with them, Swarm of Arrows are able to have a unique enough and interesting enough sound to keep any metal fan entertained for the 40 minutes this album lasts.

The first song is a great starting point in hearing this Philadelphia-based band. "Alive Like Death" is full of winding, harmonized and sometimes dissonant guitar work. The verses are slow and beefy, and the solo at the end is melodic and takes the song to its highest point. "The Sky Will Save us All" starts out like you're going to hear a thrash song, then it turns into a grindcore-like passage. After that is just a voice, a bass line, and a high hat/bass keeping rhythm. The band has a great sense of dynamics and musicality. There are some technical parts, but the parts are never over-played and always seem to fit. It helps that the production sounds great.

You can get a feel for the band's more sludgy side with songs like "Gravel and Gold" and "Little Marching Vipers." "Little Marching Vipers" might have my favorite guitar work on the album, with a down-right filthy opening riff and great mix of dissonant and melodic riffing. The thing that I like the most about the band at this point is their impressive mix of soft/loud, slow/fast, and harsh/melodic. It's definitely not generic in any way, and I wasn't anticipating any of it. What caught me the most by surprise was the track "Damage Generator." The first half sounded more like a Hatebreed song than anything else on this CD.

This album is a great example of how you don't have to label a metal band and constrict them by placing a genre tag to them. I wouldn't even classify this band if I didn't have to, but they encompass a great variety of all things heavy. Even when they're laid back, it's still crushingly heavy which is not an easy feat.