Tuesday 22nd September 2020,
The Black Planet

Swallow the Sun – Songs From the North I, II & III

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  After a long wait, the Finnish doom masters return with not one, nor 2, but 3 albums, divided by genres called Songs From The North. Let’s give a look what each record contains:I – The volume I is the typical balance between the heaviness and melancholic melodies that the band used us on previous records. These songs are not as heavier as the previous record, but they have all the essence of the band, and some of them are a step into something more progressive, like the opening “With You Came The Whole of The World’s Tears”, and the closing track “From Happiness to Dust”. “10 Silver Bullets”, “Rooms and Shadows” and “Lost and Catatonic” are the perfect examples of how the band can still involve us in some more than just doom metal, experimenting melodies along with very down low riffs, sometimes appearing a growl here and there through all the thickness. “Heartstrings Shattering” has one of the most beautiful chorus that the band ever recorded, thanks to the angelic voice of Aleah.

II – The volume II is the development of something that the band tried in a shy way on the previous album, which is to make ballads like winter lullabies. The connection between all of them is the northern countryside of Finland, mixing inner human feelings with the autumn / winter season of those lands. Feels like we’re listening to an acoustic session in the middle of the woods, surrounded by snow and mist, with tinny lights appearing here and there, as fast as they fade away as you’ll hear in songs like “Heart of a Cold White Land”, “Away”, “Pray For the Winds To Come”, and “Songs From the North”, which the chorus is in Finnish, singed by Kaisa Vala. There’s no growls on this volume, but in “Autumn Fire” we can hear an electric guitar, hunger to come to the light, but it can’t, staying there leading the chorus. “Before The Summer Dies” is the perfect closure to a very intimate collection of songs, that definitely will delight the listeners of the band, and who knows bring some more into the darkness.

III – Infinite darkness, preludes to war and extinction, and crushing pits from the abyss is what we find in the last volume. It is for sure the strongest and slowest record the band ever recorded in terms of sound, defying funeral doom metal, and no hope at the end of the tunnel. The fans from the very beginning will love this one, the guitars are very angry and there’s almost no clean vocals. In “Empires of Loneliness” we can find a blink of melody despite the rest of the previous songs that follow what is expected in this kind of genre. To end “The Clouds Prepare for a Battle” is a fantastic closure to this 3 chapter story, with a brilliant church chorus.

For such a diverse record, was a natural decision to record it in 3 studios: Sound Supreme, Electric Fox Studio, and Noisework Studio. To sum, it’s very risky for bands nowadays to release a record divided in 2 albums, because some of us will listen to it carefully, some others will think that is some kind of marketing strategy to sell. In this particular case, can’t remember of any metal band that released an album in 3 volumes, all at once, with the stunning quality that Swallow The Sun did.

8/10

 

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