Contrary to what many may or may not think, the release of a new SWALLOW THE SUN can be a significant event. With their fourth album, New Moon, SWALLOW THE SUN have written some of the best death/doom metal heard in recent years. Expansive, deep, and pretty damn solid, the album is a showcase of everything the band does well. Simply labeling SWALLOW THE SUN’s distinctly Finnish music as “death/doom metal” can be misleading for these guys are more versatile than virtually any band in the genre. Whether it be versatility in vocal styles, different moods and feels, melodies, or how they can flawlessly pull off funeral doom and folk metal (i.e. AMORPHIS), SWALLOW THE SUN can do it all.
Opener, “These Woods Breathe Evil,” is heavy way to start things off and has a very black and black metal tone. “Falling World” has a decidedly different tone with its delicate and melancholic tone, complete with beautiful guitar melodies and clean vocals. “Sleepless Swans” sees the band getting heavy again with the crashing funeral doom of the last song section. “…And the Heavens Cried Blood” is the sound of tortured soul. “Lights on the Lake (Horror Pt. III)” starts off in a peaceful mood and soft female vocals before eventually smashing through with blast beats and crashing guitars, and coming back around again. The title track features some tasty guitar solos, a dimension to SWALLOW THE SUN’s sound that is used very sparingly. The song also has the catchiest (clean) vocal lines on New Moon. “Servant of Sorrow” may be the least distinct number on the album. That’s not to say it’s bad in any way though. The song got some nice complimentary parts between the two guitars. SWALLOW THE SUN ends things with an epic doom finale with the 9:05 minute “Weight of the Dead.” If there was one song on New Moon to showcase what it was all about, this would be it.
New Moon is the kind of album that personifies how good underground metal can be when done right. If you’re late to the party, it’s OK as you can redeem yourself with some SWALLOW THE SUN. (Spinefarm Records)