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The Finnish melodic death\doom metal band "Swallow The Sun" is tainting all the walls of the doom\death metal scene with the new record "Emerald Forest and the Blackbird". This album is a total aggression and depression eclipse, the existing of life is fully obscured by the aggression and the charming compositions and performance, The album is a cryptic poem and the members used their instruments to write its words and the vocals declare every word perfectly, absolute gloom of sixty-five minutes are enough to steal you from your world and get you trapped within this epic poem.
This is the fifth studio album after the successful releases (The Morning Never Came, Ghosts of Loss, Hope, and New Moon), a new direction has been made by the band with this record, and this release features guest vocals by Nightwish vocalist Anette Olzen, and she has done a great job in the track "Cathedral Walls" that has been released with a music video in the beginning of 2012. The artwork shows a Emerald eye surrounded by black feathers, with a scene of forest inside the eyes and with some taints around the whole figure.
The album opens its door with the track "Emerald Forest And The Blackbird" that contains a huge size of fast and slow riffs, this track features guest vocals by Aleah Stanbridge (she also did guest vocals on "Lights on the Lake (Horror pt. 3) from the album New Moon), many passages of clean vocals parts and halls of aggressive harsh and vocals you will cross while listening to this track, Kai Hahto on drums did great efforts by making the drum line capturing the violence of guitar sounds, about ten minutes of a fascinating carnival ends with an acoustic guitar section by Juha Raivio. The using of the spoken vocals in the beginning of the song evokes many touching feelings and it also gives a good prediction about the direction of the whole song, the chantings of Aleah Stanbridge behind the spoken vocals and behind the total sound added more angelic sense to this amazing track. The song "This Cut Is The Deepest" is my favorite track title in this album, this track is one of the softest tracks in this record because it didn't contain any harsh or growling vocals, only clean and spoken vocals filled the atmosphere of the song. The track starts with a Strumming Guitar section, and as the clean vocals of Mikko Kotamaki sink deeper into this deep song, a vital bass work by Matti Honkonen appeared to complete the sound of the drums beat. Many feelings can be felt When the distorted guitars appear to add grimness to the structure of the total sound, and the lead guitar work completed this beautiful work with some fascinating melodies, making this song one of my favorite in this album.
The track "Hate, Lead The Way" is a violent piece of art, this song shows darker style and more aggressive direction than the other songs in this album, the amazing vocals work that Mikko Kotamaki has done in the Finnish black metal band (Alghazanth) has been summoned once again in this track, six minutes of roughness melted in a doomy taste, the guitar riffs cover the encircled drums-beats utterly fiercely, creating one of the darkest track for Swallow The Sun. The fourth song is "Cathedral walls", the majestic performance in this track speaks a million words, the delicious taste of depression and roughness is used here to write one hell of a song, every single melody in this song is a long story of flooding despair and hopeless life. Anette Olzon and her angelic voice was the completeness of this song, her melodic vocals range helped to beautify the performance of the band. The song "Hearts Wide Shut" faces its birth with a soft acoustic guitar section that has been followed by a slow drums beat and an essential bass line, and a lead guitar enters the field to make this song similar to the previous song, making this song "Cathedral walls part two", but this song has more vital melodic keyboards work by Aleksi Munter. The song "Silent Towers" is the shortest track in this record with only four minutes of length, more melodic clean vocals has been done by Mikko and the composition of this track reminds me of the Swedish band "Katatonia".
Labyrinth Of London (Horror Pt. IV) is the fourth piece of the conceptual musical story "Horror" after the three tracks "Lights on the Lake", "Don't Fall Asleep" and "Swallow" from the previous albums. The song is drenched in thrilling melodies, a huge size of melodies are contained in this track and the band performed this song in a very talented way making it a highlight song, you will lose yourself easily inside this track as the keyboards work and the guitars are unveiling your anticipation. The song "Of Death And Corruption" starts with a growl and a charming mid-paced guitar riffs, and suddenly everything fades into the clean vocals of Mikko, and the growling starts after the end of the part with a very mighty keyboards work, this song contains a great lead guitar works and a guitar solo before the ending of the song. The track "April 14th" shows more main role for the drums and the keyboards, Kai Hahto (who also plays now with Wintersun) is one of the winning cards in this record because his work was really flawless and mighty, the spoken vocals parts in this song reminds me a lot of the English band "My Dying Bride", and the clean vocals also reminds me of "Katatonia", so this song is simply a mixture for two of the greatest doom metal acts in the history of the metal music. The final song in this record is "Night Will Forgive Us" and it presents a fantastic variations of styles, the using the acoustic guitar sections and the distorted guitars and the clean\harsh vocals added this song to the same category of the other songs in this album. The general beautiful taste of Swallow The Sun remains constant until this track, no one single average track can be glanced in this record.
This album is a huge musical work, it's definitely one of the best doom\death metal albums of all time, If you are a fan for this kind of music then this album must be capturing the first place on your library, and If you are not a fan for the doom\death metal world then this album can be your gate to enter, this is truly one of the most professional metal albums.
Level Of Originality : 8/10
Level Of Ferocity: 8/10
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