Majestically, Swallow the Sun always manages to enter the room in a distinct crystallized grandeur with their new releases. The band takes pride in depicting through the audial strain their unique vision of aesthetic pleasure in the darkness of melancholy. As always, Swallow the Sun displays an attraction, a kind of allure to frozen landscapes and dramatic painted pictures of woe and loss. Featured within the cold barren landscapes artistically crafted though are small fires -- that is, small blazing potential infernos that sometimes ignite in the middle of nothingness and desolation to paint the world in an erratic but chromatic display of warmth, light, and fury. Spinefarm Records newest offering "Hope" finds Swallow the Sun standing anew, with a more ferocious sound. 2007 finds Swallow the Sun standing in the blizzards of old with fists clenched, standing ready with only their fury burning in their hearts. While there are still many remnants from it's 2005 predecessor, "Ghosts of Loss", "Hope" adds far more schemes to the picture that has been slowly coming together during the band's now 7 year existence. With expressive and even slightly exotic tracks like "The Justice of Suffering" with Jonas Renkse of the imperatively newly-inspired band Katatonia being featured on vocals, "Hope" puts forth more images, or rather, missing pieces to the band's sound. While "Ghosts of Loss" found the band sounding slightly bleak or hollow, somehow Swallow the Sun has established an extra layer of something to their music to give it an extra kick.
"Hope" is quite like an anthem to this enduring existence, consistently pushing one's artistic expression and process of thought further as the tracks roll on. Rather, "Hope" seems to express a message that is unjustified by its title, or rather the contrary of what one would expect and album with a title like "Hope" to put across. The opening track seems to suggest that hope is found through suffering, and that those dreams are not only sometimes not realized, but not even heard by those from whom we wish to hear them. Like a wound that festers in the honor of one's lost love from a disillusioned mind, we find ourselves gazing into an almost amour-sickened furor that is destined to pass into oblivion along with its bleeding dementia. The story written, perhaps, may tell us that hope is not real, but only an illusion created by our own will and displaced thoughts. Swallow the Sun have no doubt worked tirelessly to bleed their hearts dry of this new-found expression, and it has paid off in ways unimaginable to older fans. "Hope" has truly found the occurrence of evolution and now we must adapt..
Mikko Kotamäki's are as brilliant as ever, with every epic note being played to perfection throughout this lovely masterpiece. While some may see this album as a typical doom metal release, I urge all of you to look deeper into the music than what is initially obvious. Swallow the Sun somehow always work in seemingly hidden messages in their songs, possibly without even realizing it. There's an almost spiritual exaltation that has found itself weaving through the band's career, only now coming into light from the shadows to push them further than they have gone before into melancholy. While the overtones are discouraging towards one's will to live as is the usual with such acts, there is something strangely uplifting about the album. I suppose this is one of those releases that must not only be read about, but experienced. Another top quality doom release from these symphonic overlords.