Swallow the Sun
New Moon

I’ve spent a lot of time with this record. New Moon is the definition of a “grower.” Swallow the Suns’ sound has progressed since their debut, yielding dynamics in writing that ultimately has lead them to this point in their career. This band is no longer a straight up death/doom outfit. The Swallow the Sun of today is diverse and comfortable enough to execute a damn near perfect blend of multi-genre darkness that is rich in atmosphere and emotion.

I wanted to let this record age a little before I wrote this review for several reasons. First off, none of the songs stick initially, and this turns a lot of quick to judge fans away. If you’re looking for The Morning Never Came, look elsewhere. What we have here is a record that will stick with patience. New Moon dwells deep into the bands more somber moments and escalates in the black and gothic territory. Like a wondering lost soul across dreary landscapes, New Moon is hopeless and epic all at the same time.

“Sleepless Swans” is where this record starts to get intensely labyrinthine. The technicality of the bands sound is embedded deep within the minimalistic use of chords. Every down-tempo moment is layered with clean guitar picking that is mystifying and bizarre. “…and Heavens Cried Blood” continues creating semblance, braiding clean guitar beauty, superior chord progressions, and gloomy piano lines.

One of the stranger yet brilliant tracks on this record is “Light on the Lake (Horror pt III).” This song has it all, softly whispered female vocals, epic Finnish guitar harmonies that would make Amorphis cry, and black metal shrieks and blast beats. There’s no other way to describe this song except mystical and dreamy. The entire feel of New Moon is trancelike and abstract. This record rests in a gray area, reaching out for light but never quite makes it.

Mikko Kotamkis’ vocals are executed in different varieties, nothing that we haven’t heard on previous records, but he utilizes his clean vocals more (“Falling World”, “New Moon”) and steps up the black metal shrieks. He seems to evenly distribute these styles throughout, applying all in one song at times.

“Servant Sorrow” is very reminiscent of “Swallow” and “Through Her Silvery Body” from The Morning Never Came and the more I listen to this record I come to the conclusion that the band really hasn’t changed that much. The only thing I consider different from other works is the willingness to expand on ideas.

This is a record to submerge oneself in and absorb. The band has leaned heavily towards beauty and New Moon succeeds in conveying atmosphere like no other. It is apparent that Swallow the Sun like to experiment within their safe zone. Anything too drastic and it wouldn’t be Swallow the Sun. Arguably the bands best record, New Moon continues to unfold and it gets better with each listen.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Shane Wolfensberger
February 22nd, 2010

Comments

  1. Commented by: elguerosinfe

    Great review – amazing album.


  2. Commented by: gabaghoul

    nice imagery Shane-o. also enjoyed the use of the word ‘braiding,’ I may steal it.


  3. Commented by: Blackwater Park

    A great album indeed, but its not their best. They will never top Hope, which is the greatest Doom Metal album of all time. You can read my review here…

    http://www.treehouseofdeath.com/?p=654


  4. Commented by: Shane Wolfensberger

    LOL! Well, to each his own, but stating that Hope is the best doom metal album of all time is just silly. Good review though


  5. Commented by: gordeth

    Hope was a snoozefest. I could name a hundred better doom albums.


  6. Commented by: Cynicgods

    Blackwater Park: I wouldn’t even say Hope is the best doomdeath album I’ve ever heard, let alone the best doom metal album of all time. Don’t get me wrong, I like Swallow The Sun very much, but I think you need to hear many more doom classics before you make that assumption.

    Nice review, Wolfy. Very descriptive.


  7. Commented by: Blackwater Park

    Cynicgods… perhaps one shouldn’t simply function on assumption, as the old saying goes, to assume makes an ass out of you and me. I’ve been listening to Doom Metal for the last 20 years, and I have followed the genre very closely in that time. Telling me I need to “hear many more doom classics” is like telling Michael Phelps that he should learn how to swim.

    And Shane Wolfensberger… I find your suggestion that my particular views on music are “silly” a little disrespectful, particularly given that we don’t know each other. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and when it comes to music, everything is absolutely and utterly subjective.

    Peace!


  8. Commented by: Cynicgods

    Well, I didn’t mean it in a derogatory way. I just think Hope doesn’t hold a candle to massive doom juggernauts such as Gothic or Nightfall (just two examples). If it registers that high for you, then so be it. It’s your own personal taste after all.


  9. Commented by: Blackwater Park

    No worries. I just wanted to be clear than I’m not a Johnny-come-lately noob who started listening to Doom Metal last week. I’ve been on board since the early days, and hold albums like Forest Of Equilibrium, Gothic, Nightfall, Serenades, Turn Loose The Swans, and Into the Depths of Sorrow in very high regard. The fact is though, in my view, Swallow The Sun outshined them all with Hope. It is a singular moment of breathtaking genius.
    Cheers.


  10. Commented by: Shane

    I reviewed Hope when it came out and I all but had an orgasm myself. The title track is just epic as fuck. But It hasn’t been in my CD player for years. Maybe it’s time again.


  11. Commented by: Blackwater Park

    Yep, its time. It hasn’t left my player.


  12. Commented by: gabaghoul

    I hate it when Mommy and Daddy fight


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