If we do believe in the myth that a third album happens to be a crucial one for a band, then Swallow The Sun does a cunning move to eternal fame with 'Hope'. Of course, the debut 'The Morning Never Came' and the compelling successor 'Ghosts Of Loss' were albums that made us think: "By jingo, this band has something special". Well, ladies and gentlemen, this once unfolding talent has come to full development on 'Hope' and we can come up with superlatives frankly.
On top of that, in Swallow The Sun's case it is heart-warming to see that I am not the only one who is really impressed by this band. In the past they have been laurelled with nominations, unexpected assaults of hit charts and widespread respect of all who's getting to know the Finnish band. And this tendency of expanding success and signs on the wall that this is going to be massive, is going on: recently they are signed at the major Spinefarm Records and on 'Hope' one can find vocal contributions of Jonas Renske (Katatonia) and Tomi Joutsen (Amorphis). These are renowned eminences in the genre.
But in fact all honour goes to the band itself who wrote some genuine outstanding doom compositions. The thoughtful, almost fragile passages with murmuring lyrics and peaceful instrumentation pass fluently into pulverizing outbursts with grunts (and yes, sometimes even vocals close to black metal). But this time everything is even better: melodies are more captivating, drums are more elastic, melancholic guitar runs move you deeper, and… the production is still better.
Since this is nothing but one massive celebration of doom; I just pick out some conspicuous songs. 'The Justice Of Suffering' is the song where we hear the familiar voice of Jonas Renske. Magnificent as ever and a matchless contrast with the ferocious grunts of Mikko Kotamäki. But the next song has a bit of a Katatonia tinge as well in the repetitive guitar-notes. 'Don't Fall Asleep (Horror Pt. 2)' is the song that you will recognize first when you are learning to know the record and in such a manner it is a sagacious decision to release it as first single. In the meantime it has started its victorious march in the Finnish charts. Mark the perfect transition - once more - from shivering introvert moments to majestic doom eruptions. In 'These Hours Of Despair' I want to mention the overwhelming keyboard pads. These are constantly adding a zest to the whole, but here they create a fairly gothic atmosphere against the tight, dignified riffs. 'The Empty Skies' is the heaviest track of the record and in 'Doomed To Walk The Earth' we hear ethereal, high female vocals in the background of the jetty palette that features this regale doom. This is the summit of elegiac charisma! Obligatory stuff for every fan of dark music that pierces you to the very marrow. Do buy the limited digipack with the song 'These Low Lands' relished with beautiful (clean) guest vocals of Tomi Joutsen. Do not miss Swallow The Sun when they visit our Lowlands in April, together with Moonsorrow!
Lords of Metal