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The first time that I heard of Swallow the Sun was through New York's Ballet Deviare, a ballet composed to heavier music. As soon as I heard them, I decided to pick up The Morning Never Came and Ghosts of Loss. I was instantly amazed by the feeling that came over me. A sense of despair and loss is always felt while listening to anything by Swallow the Sun, simply because the sad melodies and doom elements are too much for any metalhead to shrug off as a simple musical enchantment. To say the very least, Swallow the Sun's work is beautiful and well put together. They always create the exact atmosphere that they are working toward with their albums.
Hope is no different. I have been excited for this album for several months, ever since I heard of a new album in the works. I knew that it would be amazing, but I underestimated this album by far. The first track, the title track, had me instantly attached and captivated to the swirling soundscapes of guitar melodies, clean and harsh vocals, keyboards, and simple but unique drumming patterns. Kotamäki never fails to surprise me with his inherent ability to switch from clean vocals to deep, harsh growls. Both styles of voice mix well with the music, and add to the feeling of despair that is constantly looming over the musical atmosphere.
Raivio and Jämsen both hold their own as metal guitarists, interlacing heavy open notes with soaring solos and chords that are higher up. Nothing technical or even that difficult is played. But hey, thats doom metal, right? I didn't hear too much bass work on Hope, but it's always there when it is necessary and needed. (which is a good thing once in a while).
Aleksi Munter uses the keyboard as more than an instrument. The beautiful sound of the keys soars high above the rhythmic undertones and adds even more to the epic atmosphere of everything. The constant atmosphere and looming sense of sadness add so much to the music. It makes this album so beautiful, and by far worth listening too.
I recommend this album to a true metal fan, one who is prepared to hear something that's not a constant blast beat or an anti-christian bitchfest. The music is simple, but the atmosphere is far from it. This album is beautiful and definitely one of my all-time favorites.