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"CMJ New Music Monthly"

Something like a cross between early Anthrax and the recent Rogues Gallery compilation, Swashbuckle might be 2006's most awful-yet-amazing anomaly. Basically, they're from Jersey, they dress up like pirates and half their songs are acoustic chanteys while the rest are genuinely blistering thrash. And somehow, the balance actually works, and the ferocity of the music itself overtakes the conceptual and lyrical absurdity, allowing you to find Swashbuckle amusing but not dismiss them as a complete joke.
Ahoy! >>>KH - Ken Herzog

"CMJ New Music Report"

After Pirates of the Caribbean, who doesn't want to be a pirate? Of course, metal isn't exempt from that desire, thanks to New Jersey's Swashbuckle. Following the footsteps of jokester metal acts like S.O.D. and M.O.D., those scallywags in Swashbuckle serve up a side of much-needed humor alongside their splash 'n' thrash attack. There is a delicate balance between funny and laughable, and Swashbuckle toe the plank. The album is surprisingly well-executed metal: On "Attack" and "X Marks The Spot," both blends of modern death and classic thrash, Swashbuckle wield their guitars like swords, and vocalist Admirable Nobeard snorts and grunts like he's got a bad case of seasickness. - Amy Sciarretto


Pirate metal isn't a new thing - several bands, in fact, have tackled this concept before. But in many cases the only real way you know the music is piratey is by the album cover artwork, and maybe the names of the songs. This is because the untrained ear is unlikely to understand the growls and yells, let alone determine if the lyrics are composed of anything remotely relating to pirates. No such problem with Swashbuckle. Their music is metal, true enough, but the lyrics - while still throaty growls - remain clear enough that anyone should have no problem understanding the "yo hos" and "bring on the wenches." But Swashbuckle goes one step further and mixes some traditional Spanish guitar and other period sounds into their otherwise tough metal style.

With some deviation, Swashbuckle's Crewed by the Damned alternates style between each song, offering one metal, the next traditional, and the next metal once again (and so on). The metal songs are full of energized guitars and drums, while angry growls yell out all sorts of piratey lyrics ('avast ye', 'drink up me maties', and 'scalliwagg' are all words and phrases heard in some abundance). The music is fast-paced and kick-ass. The non-metal songs spliced between the metal offerings are primarily instrumental, and much less aggressive in tone. They nonetheless offer their own range of styles, with some being quick and peppy, and others slow and contemplative.

Crewed by the Damned could be viewed one of two ways - for the purist metal fan, or the purist traditional aficianado, this is a case of Jekyll and Hyde, mixing the saint and the sinner (which is which depends on your particular taste). But for the more universally inclined, this album offers a fine taste of two vastly different (while dually piratey) genres. It's an interesting experiment, and one that I think pays off. While some of the metal is a bit abrasive, and some of the instrumental a bit tame, the album overall is well crafted, and certainly worth a spin or two. - Gerard Heidgerken

"Maximum Metal"

New Jersey-based pirate thrashers Swashbuckle have, in the last year or so, boarded and commandeered the local music scene, proving to be the most steadfast and stalwart metal band upon the Mid-Atlantic Main. After signing to Bald Freak Music in the summer of 2006 and releasing their debut full-length Crewed by the Damned the following autumn, it seems like there is nothing that will stop Swashbuckle’s quest for plunder and glory. Many bands that utilize gimmicks or costumes often do not have the material to back up their image, and come across as, well, drivelswiggers. Aside from putting forth an image that seems natural and comfortable instead of fake and forced, Swashbuckle have the musical talent and ability to produce music of the highest quality, setting themselves apart from the unworthy. In true piratical fashion, Crewed by the Damned launches Swashbuckle’s aural pillaging career with quite a loud splash.

Although Crewed by the Damned doesn’t have a single bad track, several of them stand out as especially well done. “Walk the Plank” is a short, fast, and intense song filled with unrelenting shrieks courtesy of bassist/vocalist Admiral Nobeard as well as the fine riff work of Commodore Redrum and Rowin’ Joe Po. During the chorus, Swashbuckle go into bass-overdrive, as Nobeard seems to rape his instrument with unrelenting force while drummer Captain Crashride goes crazy with his double bass pedal. The song’s conclusion features a gang-vocal chant of “HIGH FIVES! PLANK DIVES!” that would both excite and inspire murderous pirate crews and instill fear into the minds of all who would dare to cross them. If you listen closely to the album’s title track, “Crewed By The Damned,” you can hear the unfortunate demise of Rowin’ Joe Po, as he falls overboard and apparently drowns. There is also a pretty cool lead guitar melody leading into the track, which you don’t see on every Swashbuckle track, as they’re often very rhythm-dominated. The album’s real highlight, however, is the song “Drink Up,” which has in a sense become Swashbuckle’s trademark anthem. From the endearing lead melody that surpasses even the one found in Crewed by the Damned in terms of excellence to the catchy, pirate-to-the-core chorus line, “Drink Up” is one hell of a song. If Swashbuckle ever hit it really big, this song will play a huge part in their ascent to glory.

Aside from all of the thrashing tunes on Crewed by the Damned, Swashbuckle have also inserted many acoustic ditties interspersed throughout the track listing. Among these pieces, the three highlights are clearly the same three acoustic songs that appeared on Swashbuckle’s 2005 demo – “Set Sail,” “What a Ship Is,” and “Paradise Defined.” Each if these songs contain excellent acoustic guitar work, keyboards that provide both melody and atmosphere, and creative percussion on hand drums, tambourines, and the like. All of these acoustic songs sound like real, genuine shanties from a few centuries ago when pirates truly did rule the waters of the Caribbean. Swashbuckle’s ability to reproduce this genuine authenticity, on a primarily metal album, no less, is highly commendable. The foursome would do just as well playing acoustic gigs at Renaissance fairs and the like, although it’s doubtful if that prospect would appeal to their wild pirate nature.

With just one release on a label under their belts, it is clear that Swashbuckle have the ability to become one of America’s next big metal bands. They’ve seamlessly tapped into the thrash metal keg and combined it with the likes of pure piratical power. Although their pirate image should appeal to metal and nautical enthusiasts alike, the strength of their material alone is enough to vault them to nation and perhaps even worldwide notoriety. Crewed by the Damned comes highly recommended to fans of thrash, pirates, or both. And if you’re not already a pirate enthusiast, one listen to “Drink Up” may very well change that. For Swashbuckle, it seems the voyage to ravaging every port upon the Spanish Main has only just begun.
- Veritas


Crewed By The Damned CD (Bald Freak Music)



There be many horrors of the high seas, but none so wretched as Swashbuckle. Their tale begins early in the year 2005. Legend has it that Commodore RedRum met Admiral Nobeard in the all-you-can-eat shrimp buffet line at Red Lobster. Realizing their mutual love for pillaging, plundering, and thrash metal, they set sail, and began work on a four-song excursion produced in their very own scurvy sea studio. Thus, Swashbuckle was born.

Upon completion of the demo, they set forth to assemble a crew of sea dogs even more vile than themselves. Timber-n-Twine wielding Rowin’ Joe Po was rescued from the gallows pole, where he was being tried for savage acts of piracy so evil that they cannot be mentioned here.

Skins-n-sticks brandishing Captain Crashride was found drunk and marooned on the godforsaken Isle of Kayk, where natives forced him to brand his flesh with heathen words... and mud flap-girls. Their fearless crew now complete, Swashbuckle was ready to navigate the treacherous waters of the open seas.

Arising out of the depths of Davey-Jones’ locker, Swashbuckle set the local music scene ablaze with blistering speed and malicious mosh capabilities. November 2005 saw the release of a more musically developed and increasingly complex offer by Swashbuckle - the Yo Ho Demo. Recorded at Riverside Recording in Titusville NJ, the Yo Ho Demo marked a new stage of development for the pirate foursome.

After extensive plundering and pilfering of the New Jersey/New York/Pennsylvania area, the band of black-hearted pirates focused on crafting a full-length metal masterpiece of unparalleled nautical proportion.

Swashbuckle is currently preparing to set forth on their first U.S. East Coast tour in support of their debut album “Crewed by the Damned.”