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Swallow The Sun - When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light Award winner

Swallow The Sun
When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 14 January 2019, 5:22 AM

Finish sextet SWALLOW THE SUN is one of the most seasoned and consistent bands in the Death/Doom genre of today. Formed in the early 2000’s, the released their debut full-length “The Morning Never Came” in 2003. Now, fifteen years later, they return with their eight full-length, titled “When A Shadow Is Forced Into the Light, which contains eight new tracks.

The title track opens the album at over seven minutes in length. Some heavy blasts are accented amidst some ambient keys and a nifty melody line. Soft clean vocals and a gentle atmosphere lead to ripping Death vocals. The juxtaposition works so well here. It begins to get heavier towards the end of the song, with dark clean vocals cutting against it. “The Crimson Crown” is up next, with a slow and cautious entrance. It builds to an alluring song heavy with keys and simulated strings, with a jovial but melancholy sound. Cold clean vocals fill the air, stealing hope stealthily like a thief in the night. The guitar solo gently weeps, followed by emotionally charged harmonized vocals, as delicate as glass but as fervent as steel.

“Firelights” is another melancholy slab of cold, sterile clean vocals.  The guitars have just enough presence but know how to lay back to let the atmosphere of the vocals build the sound. Out of nowhere, the Death vocals rage into play, followed by a very Doomy exit. “Upon the Water” was the second single released on the album. It has a perfectly desperate sound, like the world is coming to an end, but you don’t seem to mind. You are going to let it carry you and all your fears and insecurities with it. The heaviness of the song is almost too much to bear, threatening to crush the life out of you. The clean vocals provide the only reprieve here. “Stone Wings” opens with light keys and guitars in an almost hopeful cadence. From the Doom seeps into your bones deeply, gradually turning the redness of your blood black. When the Death metal vocals come in, they are dark and thick.

“Clouds on your Side” is another melancholy song with clean guitars and vocal laments. The Death vocals come in so strong they might steal away your life with a single note. Clean female vocals in Finnish take the track to completion, with a frosty chill. “Hear on the Black Earth” opens slowly with keyboards and the soft thud of drums. Earnest Death vocals enter the fray, raging and then disappear and return a final time. The sky blackens as he utters his laments, like a hideous beast appearing on the horizon. “Never Left” closes the album, with clean guitars ringing out like bells, beckoning the listener into their world. It’s a despondent plea with clean vocals and a mesmerizing guitar line. Even it its simplicity, the song weighs heavy on your heart.

“When A Shadow is Forced Into The Light” is a fitting album title for this deep, dark, and crushing sound. When you consider something that is capable of swallowing the sun, you think of a massive black hole roaming through space that just opens its jaws and takes in the almighty power of the sun with one gulp. That is exactly what you have here. Beautiful and depressive moments of melancholy that you can easily become lost in are cut by raging Death vocals and an ominous sound that remind you of why you are alive. It's definitely an early contender for "Album of the Year."

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. When a Shadow is Forced into the Light
2. The Crimson Crown
3. Firelights
4. Upon the Water
5. Stone Wings
6. Clouds on your Side
7. Hear on the Black Earth
8. Never Left
Lineup:
Mikko Kotamäki – Vocals
Juha Raivio – Guitars
Juho Räihä – Guitars
Jaani Peuhu – Keyboards, Vocals
Matti Honkonen – Bass
Juuso Raatikainen – Drums
Record Label: Century Media Records
     


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