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After checking out numerous youtube videos of this band and their blend of slow, doom-laden songs and brutal death metal flashes, I decided it was time to invest in an album. This, being their debut, was where I figured I should start.
I believe I got this album for Christmas, so there I was on the eve of Christmas Day, that great atmosphere still around in abundance. I put this CD on for a spin, and I was taken away for its duration, to a dark land far away in my mind. This land may be dark, but it is by no stretch of the imagination dull.
The music here starts as it means to go on, dropping in with a thump after a short piano intro. The crunching guitars grind along slowly and fairly melodically throughout the album, churning out some memorable riffs. Nothing extremely technical, but it doesn't need to be to fit in well with the rest of the collective.
The drums and bass work well together, from what I can make out of the bass. The bass is, seemingly to me, quite low in the mix and buried often by the wall of guitars. The drums on the other hand, are very prominent, but not so much that it gets annoying. The stick-work here is very promising, slow tempos handled masterfully, driving forward in the mission of despair for the metal masses. When a flash of brutality is needed, the drums carry it out well.
The vocals on this disc are well placed and fit the music very well. Consisting of mainly low death growls and complemented occasionally with melodic clean singing, they are consistently good and never in the way. The lyrics deal with such things you might expect from a band named "Swallow the Sun", and indeed a band classified as "doom metal".
Recommended? For fans of slow, brooding and atmospheric metal.
This is a surprisingly decent enough band. They are categorized as melodic doom and death metal. But I don’t see how they are melodic; the music they play is just too slow to be considered melodic. It sounds like doom metal and I guess the harsh vocals could be considered death metal if you think about it but that’s about it for that part. Anyways, this isn’t your typical doom metal band. When I think of doom metal I usually think of some depressive dull type like My Dying Bride or that droning shit Sun O))) does. But they don’t sound anything like those types of doom bands, which I kind of like.
The first thing the do good and the best thing they do are setting up the atmosphere. They soothing piano play and the slow guitar riffs help out in this factor. Now the guitars themselves do nothing out of the ordinary, there mostly droning cords or slides if anything. There kind of just there in the background I guess you could say. But when the piano starts playing the atmosphere and doom feel starts to build up. The piano has a very soft and fragile sound to it, which is good for doom metal. Helps make the music depressing, which I like in doom metal.
Also, the harsh/clean vocals help when there in the mix of things. Switching from clean to harsh or vise versa is a good way to change the flow of the music, and a better way to improve the atmosphere of it all. The vocals themselves however are nothing spectacular, especially the harsh ones. Yet having the clean vocals over when the piano is playing sounds wonderful. “Hold This Woe” sounds great with the clean/harsh vocal switches. Although the guitar over the piano in the main verse kind of ruins it. It’s mostly played by holding the same note over and over, like they were going for a drone approach, but the guitar tone is too high unlike it is in doom metal, it sounds like melodic death.
Ok so what the band does well is they set up a sorrowful atmosphere, with some beautiful piano play and some nice clean vocal parts. Yet the guitar tone could have been lower like more doom metal bands, and the harsh vocals and just average at best. But what they do well they can do amazingly. If you want to hear a different style of doom metal I would recommend Swallow The Sun, for they are rather good.
The first time I heard the opening track from Swallow the Sun's debut I was just blown away: the gentle piano interlude turned into a mass of crushing riffage and after a calmer moment the unearthly vocals of Mr. Kotamäki were unleashed. Later on, when I proceeded to actually go and buy the album, I was a bit concerned on the superiority of "Through Her Silvery Body" and recalled the rest being little monotonous and way below it's excellence. I was wrong.
This is an act of emotional, guitar-ridden music with a varying tempo, which never actually reaches the deepest pits of funeral doom but neither goes to fast blast beats. The songs are around 5-9 minutes long with none of them reaching the 10 minute mark so often crossed by doom metal bands. They're not a very conventional doom metal band anyway, as the vocals are not the every day ultralow grunting but rather unique, raspy roaring that at least for me is familiar from Funeris Nocturnum's "From the Aspect of Darkly Illuminated", though the music is totally different. The percussion work is quite medium paced and works as a frame for the guitars and bass instead of taking the mainrole. There are some keyboards which are used in a subtle and scarce way, just to create the mood but not to dominate the music. The grand piano parts sound very convincing but when the synthesized violins are introduced the mood is instantly slain. Specially in the last track which is a bit longer and heavier-sounding Christmas carol oozing darkness the violins have a tendency of turning it into a mediocre goth song.
The most powerful tracks are the absolutely magnificent "Through Her Silvery Body" but also "Swallow (Horror pt. 1)" and "Silence of the Womb". Those ones have the most beautifully haunting guitar melodies which echo loss and death, especially "Swallow" because of the almost scary mood it sets in your head. In "Silence of the Womb" we get to hear some clean singing also which suits the track perfectly along with a cleaner guitar sound playing around as a mood-creator. The lyrical content on the album is a bit unclear because the lyrics sheet provides only a glimpse of the sung words in the form of a line or two but on their website lyrics to half of the songs can be found. As far as they go, they deal with death and loss, drug or poison addiction (in a darkly romantic sense, not in a junkie style) and eternal darkness, which all seem to fit this romantically inclined ensemble.
Of course, nothing is flawless and that is true with this record as well. The songs seem a bit monotonous once in a while, in particular the ones I didn't mention above, and the absence of lyrics (how pseudo-artistic that might seem) is more than irritating and the synthesized violins just NEVER work. The overall impression after listening to this CD for dozens of times is that the music is beautiful and melancholic, if not a bit clichéd, and the powerful vocals in accordance with the melodic and crushing guitars keep this record way above the normal gothic doom metal acts.
Finland's doom metal band Swallow The Sun exists for 4 years, has released one demo earlier, debut album "The Morning Never Came" later in 2003 and it looks like they might be a new hope for doom metal. The perfection these guys managed to create on their first album cannot be described easily! "The Morning Never Came" features amongst the best doom/death metal tunes I have heard in a while. Slow and powerful riffs are carrying enormous strength, while keyboards are taking you on a long journey to a somewhat different world. So atmospheric, and so good played, without any lead parts - just staying there in the background, well hidden, yet playing very important part in the music. Dark aura that surrounds this album created really great and depressive atmosphere. Soft parts in their music are really soft, but the hard ones just blew you away. Just listen to songs like "Out Of This Gloomy Light", "Through Her Silvery Body", "The Morning Never Came" or "Swallow (Horror Pt.1)" - pure darkness! This album was released by (Finland's as well) Firebox Records, who have dozens of great bands under their wings. The production is awesome as well, I couldn't not say anything bad at all. Lead guitars remind me of Opeth in "Blackwater Park" / "Still Life" era. Swallow The Sun are not well-known yet, but I think things are going to chance soon. I can't wait for next album, and until then, the only thing to do is to enjoy in this masterpiece. Close the windows, pull down the curtains and enjoy until (if) the morning comes...
Scandinavian countries emerged in the Metal community and quickly established with success thanks to very strong scenes, where so many styles got continuously created and recreated by surprising acts. Doom Metal has its roots in Sweden, when Candlemass appeared in the 80’s with “Epicus Doomicus Metallicus”. Years later, already in the following decade, the Peaceville Records English trio My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost and Anathema started a revolution and became popular with their aggressive style that combined Doom with Death Metal. However, Finland can be proud of, today, being one of the most talked countries between the admirers of this genre. Swallow The Sun is just one more reason to continue like that.
Melodic Death/Doom with slight Funeral Doom influences is a good definition for their sound; something like new Hypocrisy meets My Dying Bride, knows Shape Of Despair. Not really an accurate approach, but “The Morning Never Came” isn’t exactly easy to label, you get the impression you’ve heard something similar before but you will never realise what or who, they end up having their own sound. They use mainly deep grunted vocals, creepy keyboards and heavy riffs arranged in slow songs with many tempo changes that keep the album very atmospheric and interesting on each moment, in a depressive but enraged environment.
It was great that they included the songs from their demo because, first, I didn’t knew them and possibly would never be able to get that work, and second, because “Through Her Silvery Body” and “Out Of This Gloomy Night” are impressive and definitely among the best they have done so far on their still very short career, it would be a shame to leave them out.
Listen to this if you like extreme Doom Metal and expect just that. Swallow The Sun seems to be full of ideas and this album is really great.
Ugh, this album is such a disgrace to doom metal. It’s so damn tame, safe, in a word: CALCULATED! It’s labeled as doom – yet it completely defeats the purpose of doom, which is to create a dark and depressing atmosphere with ultraslow, heavy music! I downloaded this album (thank God I didn’t waste my money on it) expecting some memorable, emotional music, but what awaited me instead was a load of bubblegum fake shit. It’s not even mediocre; it is a complete atrocity and probably the single worst thing to ever happen to the doom metal genre. On a strictly musical level, it’s not bad at all, though. If you’re looking for a decent metal album with some good riffs and catchy melodies, you will like this. But if you listen to this knowing it’s supposed to be a doom metal album, let alone something remotely emotional, you will be terribly disappointed. On an artistic level, this isn’t worth shit; it has already been done to death before by much better bands. It adds absolutely nothing new to the genre, it is by no means groundbreaking, and more importantly, there is nothing behind the music; just a bunch of guys playing doom metal for the hell of it, instead of trying to be unique and creating music that has a soul behind it. It is 100% generic from beginning to end, and thus may probably be seen, in a couple of years, as one of the albums that killed doom metal.
Technically, they did invent a new subgenre, I call it Fake Doom Metal, and Swallow the Sun are most definitely pioneers in that area. So, Swallow the Sun, take notes: first, never try to be “extreme” like Esoteric or Thergothon, because that is the recipe for failure. Instead, make some cheesy bubblegum “doom” that will sell well in the metal community. Eventually make a strong name for yourselves and become a legendary cult band that will influence hundreds, if not thousands of unoriginal crappy bands in the future that will all sound the same because they will be following the stupid trend that you have started and all have the same personality behind them. Those with basically no creative ideas will thus be able to copy and clone at will and yet succeed in the music industry. Oh dear, I so wish someone could kill all the members in StS...
As a conclusion, if Swallow the Sun tried playing melodic death metal instead, they would be far from a horrible band (although not great by any means). But sadly, as a doom metal album, The Morning Never Came is an awful piece of crap that suffers from a COMPLETE lack of real substance. I cannot hear anything remotely human behind the music; there are no emotions, no desires, no fears. Burzum, this is not. If you like doom metal at all, do yourself a favor and stay very far away from this.
Depressing, bleak, disheartening, dismal, sombre, dreary, and dispiriting, are some of the words that can attempt to describe the mood set on The Mourning Never Came. Firstly, the production and instrumentation is top notch, nothing lacking in those departments whatsoever. The second thing that deserves mention, is that all the band members can be heard, nothing seems to outweigh anything else. This sometimes is not the case for a lot of doom bands, where sometimes the keyboards will be too upfront, or the guitars too loud or whatever.
Most of the vocals delivered are deep and guttural, although there are some nicely written clean vocals lines in some songs, and sometimes they even delve into more mid-ranged vocals and even higher, pain-filled screams. I dont know what much I can say about the guitar, bass, drums and keyboards. They each have such a great sound, and all work together so perfectly, they really help the music to flow. The songs are long (nothing under five minutes here) and neither the individual songs, nor the album become boring. Even though the speed is generally slow there is enough innovative variation to keep the listener interested. The album, like I mentioned before, flows very nicely. An album of strong atmospheric doom...heavy, and gloomy. A fine debut - 85 %