At the end of last year, Swallow The Sun blessed us with their latest triple album; a heavy-awaited meal for all Doom Music lovers with different tastes. Swallow The Sun combined the magic of the melodic riffs, sorrowful melodies, and tunes of music, as well as soft female vocals, the warmth of folk, and attractive acoustic riffs. Not only that, they also preformed a bit over a month and a half ago here in Egypt by Metal Blast, if you’ve missed it, check it out here.
Disc 1 – Gloom
The first disc is the longest, it carries 8 tracks and with 59 minutes of length.
The first disc of Songs From The North, carries melodic heavy tunes, the traditional form of Swallow The Sun. To be more accurate: Disc 1, is like a new step in the same direction the band has been following in the past few years, it continues the work of their earlier discography.
It has many folk riffs, as well as more clean vocals and clean acoustic riffs, along with the attractive-aggressive strong drums and clear bass lines. Disc 1 also carries a variety of vocals that goes between brutal, growling and clean, as well as spoken parts and female vocals presence. It combines different modes such as atmospheric mood, and ambient touches. Impressive melodic rhythms, sweet depressed keynotes.
The concept of Disc 1 is more psychological as it reflects depression, gloom, evil, darkness, conflicts and inner thoughts and emotions.
Disc 2 – Beauty
It is the shortest disc of the three. Although, it contains 8 tracks, the disc’s length is 42:33.
Honestly, it’s my personal favorite Disc of the three. It is suitable for everyone. The album is not pure metal, it travels beyond its lines. It’s a calm impressive piece of acoustic music with clean and female vocals with some soft speaking. Atmospheric touches and the sounds of nature like crawling of the wolves and the sounds of the birds is something distinguishable.
I want to emphasize more about how this part is related to Finland. It carries the taste of Northern folk; Finland carries a combination from different cultures due to its location. According to history, many kingdoms tried to conquer and control the lands of Finland; to them, it was a magical land. It shows well in this track ‘Songs From The North’ through its lines.
“Oh Mother North, eyes like blue sapphires.
I’m lost in your wilderness, in your arms”
Disc 2 is more into an ode to the beauty of the nature, the whiteness of the snow, the warmth of the north and the pain of the soul. ‘Songs From The North’ has a part written in Finnish which is a praise for Finland where Swallow The Sun belongs.
“Niin laulut Pohjolan kun sammuu, hiipuu hiljaa.
Hallatar kun viljaa lyö, ja yö tuo kuninkaan tuon talven maan.
Niin routaan kaivetaan, lepoon oman maan.
Ja laulut Pohjolan mukaan vain saan.”
They mention the northern lights which is scientifically known as “Aurora” and the portraying some Finnish landscapes. Disc 2 carries 2 beautiful instrumental tracks which are ‘The Womb of Winter’ and ‘66°50′N, 28°40′E’. It is a magical, emotional journey that carries the geographical location.
Disc 3 – Despair
The last phase of our journey with this Disc. It contains 5 tracks and is 51:57 minutes long.
The genre hyphens up from acoustic to funeral doom metal. It is considered the heaviest Disc of the three. It carries some melodic riffs and strong presence of keys. As the first disc, it also has some atmospheric and ambient touches; again the vocals varies between growling and brutal. It could be considered as the darkest and the most evil phase of the three, which really reflects its concept: Despair.
Before ending this review, I have many notes about the album. I think Swallow The Sun has faced the same problems that Opeth has faced after releasing their latest album Pale communion. To simply put it, both Swallow The Sun and Opeth break the rules and the musical boundaries that the fans expect. Swallow The Sun represents unusual 2 musical forms and moods in their second and third discs.
All doomsters will fall in love with this disc, if not already, especially people who like the sweet depressed music by Anathema and Katatonia. We are standing before a unique impressive work. I highly recommend the second disc whether you are a Swallow The Sun fan or not.
Edited by: NJ Bakr