Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Swallow The Sun "When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light" (2019)

Finish Doom Metal band Swallow The Sun have been around for many a year, however this is the first time I have heard of them. Its their seventh full length release as the group approach a second decade of existence. That experience shows in these classy compositions and my initial listen to this record was like a revelation. A seemingly "new" take on Doom Metal and the gothic, sorrow soaked dynamics of shifting between the bleak black and melodic melancholy was initially mesmerizing. It led to my binging of the eight songs and ultimately transitioning to a more neutral position as the freshness wore off and its construct and genre tropes became clearer.

When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light is a deceptively brilliant approach to the age old formula of grandiose, symphonic, Death Doom hybrids. Its a genre I am not well versed on but reminds me fondly of a gem by Desire, once plundered when dipping my toes into the musical history of Doom. Its as if all the components have been pulled apart, given a polish and put back together again, the final result feeling different, yet objectively similar. There is plenty of sorrowful, emotional melodies bled slowly alongside gothic lyricism and the occasional use of contrasting heavies. Deep guttural groans of darkness make an appearance with other typical stylings. I think what separates it at the surface is the vocals which more often than not bring howl more akin to Black Metal and plenty of palatable clean singing approaches, both male, effeminate and occasionally esoteric.

The music itself is wonderful, a pristine fusion of sounds. In its darkly avenues ripping distortion guitars and throaty howls can suck the listener in. When suspended in the dreary states of limbo, rising synths, sparing stringed instruments and clean plucked notes on glossy guitars carry the suspense as foray of vocal styles mourn in human sorrow. Its propelled onward by punchy drums, a driving, slow, powerful momentum that solidifies the sense of scale. Over the fifty two minutes it finds many sweet overlaps and progressions that dial the various elements in, usually finding its way to climactic moments within the thematic setting. Clouds On Your Side does this best in its mid section where it feels like all elements collide and climax.

For all the obvious glory, I think I may have binged this one a little too hard. Its been utterly riveting and some distance will make it a fond arrival whenever the magic of shuffle blesses some absent minded listening. This record has convinced me more than other that there is more to be found in the Doom Metal genre, however over my experience I also became all too aware of its tropes and common practices which I apriacient and enjoy with a little more distance than that of other Metal counterparts. Great record, well worth a listen if your a fan of heavy music.

Favorite Tracks: The Crimson Crown, Clouds On Your Side
Rating: 7/10