Note that this is an EP - the 60:25 playing time is deceiving. The first track is new, at 34:35. The remaining tracks 2-5 were all included in the excellent previous release "The Morning Never Came". I'll focus my comments on track 1.
Track 1 is divided into 3 chapters: Losing the Sunsets, Plague of Butterflies, and Evael 10:00. It isn't clear to me when I listen to the track when one chapter begins or ends. (the track has several quiet interludes and tone changes, but not just on chapter boundaries) But the printed lyrics are included, and if you follow along with the lyrics, it looks like chapter 1 is about 12:15 long, and chapter 2 ends at around 26:45 minutes. The lyrics are in English (even though the band is Finnish), and are beautifully sad poetry, and match the music well. Without the printed lyrics, I cannot understand the vocals most of the time. The vocals alternate between clean soft vocals and deep gruff growls, and sometimes screams. The music is deeply emotional, and the general theme is overwhelming loneliness in the woods.
This band is 6 people: 1 vocals, 2 guitars, 1 keyboard, 1 bass, 1 drums. The music varies between soft gentle passages, and heavy guitar-driven parts. Most is slow-paced. To just call this "doom metal" or "death metal" seems too restrictive and doesn't give the full picture.
The band originally planned this music to accompany a ballet, but that was cancelled, and they now plan to match it with a short film.
I am not sure if the title intentionally references the classic book by Timothy Findley- "Butterfly Plague". Both works seem to refer to the juxtaposition of beauty with decay and destructiveness.
I recommend this EP, as well as Swallow the Sun's previous releases.
P.Gibbs (Ohio, USA)
Plague of Butterflies is an undeniably unique and extraordinarily atmospheric addition to the genre/subgenres of Doom Metal. Swallow the Sun takes a step further outside of the norm in this 35-minute epic with extensive tempo shifting and a much wider vocal range than in previous works. Mikko Kotamäki's nigh unmatchable command of growled vocals (combined with solemn cleans as well as several instances of higher screams) grabs hold of the listener from the first heavy crunch of guitar to the very last. One can't help but hope that these guys continue making music for a long time. Doom needs more metal like this!
Also included are four bonus tracks from previous works, though Plague is more than worth it just for the new material. Anyone who liked any of StS's older stuff should enjoy it, especially if you loved Hope.