Skull has agreed to periodically contribute a review to this blog now and then, so I asked him if he would be willing to do a brief write up of "New Moon", the latest full-length from Swallow The Sun. First, though, here's a brief introduction from Skull.
Dave has graciously given me the opportunity to contribute to his blog in the form of album reviews. I have already submitted some show reviews to him in the past, but am now finding that those are a cakewalk and album reviews are a completely different animal. I met Dave when I was 14 through neighborhood friends and we quickly developed a strong and enduring friendship. When I met him, I was into metal of the mainstream variety but Dave soon turned me on to the more extreme side of metal and for that (and his continued comradeship) I will always be grateful.
I just want to make it clear that I am not an industry insider, nor am I a musician. I do not have Dave’s encyclopedic knowledge of bands, labels, and recording styles of metal. I know what I like, and I know why I like it. Any reviews that I write are coming from the point of view of just a regular guy from suburban Chicago who has loved metal since the early 80’s, and is still continuing to discover and explore the art form.
Swallow The Sun- New Moon
So, my first assignment is "New Moon", the latest release from Finland’s melodic doom masters Swallow The Sun. Doom is not my preferred genre, but I do get in a mood now and then, and have plenty in my library including STS’s discography. Released on Spinefarm Records, "New Moon", the sextet’s fourth full length release, continues moving forward from where "Hope" and their last EP, "Plague of Butterflies", left off with plenty of haunting guitar work and melodies filled with angst and sorrow. Mikko’s transitions from rough to clean vocals are seemingly effortless and smooth. The production is thick and flawless, and it becomes quite easy to get caught up and carried away with the flow of this album.
"New Moon" starts out strong and continues to hold my attention throughout all eight tracks. Of particular note is “The Sun-Lights On the Lake (Horror Part III)”, which is the most dynamic of the already enjoyable "Horror" series. With fantastic and, strangely enough, unaccredited female vocals alongside some surprising blasts of speed with STS’s already well established power, this song will surely become a metal classic that will transcend the genre. The title track of the release, “…And The Heavens Cried Blood”, and “Sleepless Swans” deserve mentions as standouts, as well.
STS has once again piqued my interest in Melodic Doom and "New Moon" is an essential acquisition for any doom enthusiast’s collection. For those unfamiliar with the genre, I can’t think of a better introduction to the field. I foresee some long, cold nights for my copy of "New Moon" because it has just made my regular rotation, and is now doomed to spend a long Chicago winter in my rolling laboratory.
I should also note that STS will soon be embarking on an all Finnish tour of the United States with Moonsorrow and Finntroll. The tour hits Chicago in April...
Swallow The Sun Official MySpace