SWALLOW THE SUN – Emerald Forest And The Blackbird
When you deal with harsh winters, days of darkness and a stoic, almost tranquil nature to personal contact- you gain ideal conditions for a musician to channel some form of consistent stressors into a metal outlet. It shouldn’t be surprising that many musicians from Finland turn to equally diverse sounds – using their environment and experience as a soundtrack for their lives. Beginning at the turn of the millennium – Swallow The Sun have been one of the acts breaking through in Europe and North America, as their albums and EP’s display the right concoction of extremity and beauty into palatable songwriting.
Their fifth studio record “Emerald Forest And The Blackbird” doesn’t waste any time focusing on the first aspect of the sextet when you open with the 10 minute title cut. Low haunting keyboards and slower acoustics break up the heavier doom riffs and roaring growls- only for the band to turn on a 70’s Pink Floyd meets Celtic trip for the follow up “This Cut Is The Deepest”. The rhythms and counterpoint guitar parts that Markus Jamsen and Juha Raivio send delight and chills up my spine- evoking melancholy, sadness, and brooding relief through highlights like “Cathedral Walls” and the hypnotic “Of Death And Corruption” (shades of classic Type O Negative throughout this one).
10 songs over 68 minutes normally signals warning bells for boredom- but you must remember when a band delivers music at a tenth the speed of an average power or death act, the arrangements naturally will be longer to accurately express their ideas. Another killer album and consistent with their work on “New Moon”, for those who live for death/ doom Swallow The Sun capture ethereal atmospheric musical contrasts head and shoulders above their contemporaries.