Directed & Edited by Denholm Hewlett
Footage by Mantas Kvedaravicius & Mariano Chavez
Masks & Sculptures by Mariano Chavez
Music by Metal Preyers (Jesse Hackett)
Following 2020's acclaimed self-titled debut album, Metal Preyers take the left hand path into a gloomy backwater filled with haunted creatures and fraught with peril. "Shadow Swamps" again finds London-based Jesse Hackett handling the music and Chicago's Mariano Chavez fashioning the album's visual identity, which this time includes a short film and book for a fully immersive experience.
"Shadow Swamps" is the soundtrack to a pitch-black fairy tale about a father and daughter as they journey through a swamp avoiding gremlins, red swines and crater creatures. Musically, it pivots between the clattering Czech new wave experimentation of "Valerie and her Week of Wonders" composer Luboš Fišer, or the magical, eccentric lounge of Birmingham's Broadcast, and the grinding industrial grot of Italian pioneer Maurizio Bianchi.
This time around, Hackett has roped in production assists from his six year-old-daughter Wonder - who used phone memos to record herself singing - veteran Metal Preyers collaborator Lord TusK, and Manchester-based painter, DJ and producer Richard Harris, aka Sockethead. The crew inks an unsettling, richly textured sonic landscape, with claws of rhythmic smoke curling around chiming otherworldly xylophone, disembodied fiddle drones echoing over screwed 'n chopped beatbox dirt and half-heard magical vocals buried under clouds of white noise.
It's an eerie experience from beginning to end, somewhere between 1980s DIY tape music and the quirky soundtracks to the Quay Brothers' cult stop-motion animated shorts.