I reviewed 6:33’s The Stench from the Swelling two years ago. I had a lot of fun with it. 6:33 write fun/funny music that combines swing, dance, metal, carnival, and Patton-esque vocal technique.
I was pretty excited to hear this when I heard it came out, because I think they are quite good at what they do. I think we should start by explaining that a little better. Lots of reviews of this band point out that they are derivative of Diablo Swing Orchestra, uneXpect, and Mr. Bungle among others and then claim the album is bad because of this.
I think this sort of misses the point. The band is trying to make a certain type of entertaining music that happens to fall in a line of influence from these bands. The album still has to be evaluated on whether it is successful in doing this.
I have to stick to my guns on this one. This band is extremely good at what they do. They can set up some hard hitting grooves and put together fun songs full of twists and turns. Everything locks into place tightly, and they can create long, suspenseful builds and then deliver on the climax.
The songs are intricately constructed, so you can continue to find all sorts of hidden gems on repeated listens. The styles are all over the place, and just when you think they can’t do something different they throw something that could fit in a “wild west” movie soundtrack.
Let’s move on to some bad aspects. The production has some issues, and I’m not one to normally notice such things. I’m listening on high quality Bose headphones, and the low end has major issues. The bass drum (and a few bass notes) in particular comes through as very muddy and covers a lot of the other sounds coming through.
The other part of the album I don’t like is the album long “joke.” The album seems centered around a divine comedy. There are hymn-like parts, organ parts, gospel chorus parts, and so on throughout the album which all contribute to this feeling. This is actually good, because it ties the album together as a whole.
Unfortunately, it culminates in a funny song/play about morality. The fact that the funny aspects of the album are so joke-oriented is bad for repeated listens. Just like a joke you’ve heard too many times makes you cringe when someone starts to tell it again, the same happens for me with this album.
The opener “Hellalujah” (haha, um, I guess…) reminds me of what I’m getting into. I can forget about it for a time, but there continues to be cringe-worthy gimmicks throughout.
So how’s that for a mixed review? In summary, they are excellent at what they do, which you can’t expect to be some completely original thing. It is detailed and intricate enough that the first three or four times through will keep you interested, but the gimmick causes the album to steeply drop off in entertainment after that point.
Overall, I’ll give this a 6.5/10. Here’s a sample: