Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Swallow the Sun - New Moon [2009]

I must complain first: It was supposed to be a review of something totally different, when I suddenly became a victim of mass-Finnish-lovely-metal-drunkards attack! I managed to refuse being blackmailed “we’re not gonna record till you write about us J.” but when Juha came to “One call to Mikael and you’ll NEVER get new Opeth”...

New Moon was released in autumn 2009 and pretty much made my winter turning me into doomy, shadowy bang-your-damn-head monster. Swallow the Sun showed a new drummer and a bit over 50 minutes of metal masterpiece.

We get introduced by melancholic Aleksi’s solo on keys rapidly broken by  powerful guitars building the walls around you (they are obviously aiming to shut you in a music box). Through those walls only one thing will break – highly emotional, almost desperate Mikko’s screaming. All combined, These Woods Breathe Evil is a great start – both to album and concert.

The following Falling World takes us to doomy hallways with heavy, slow riffs and tremendous clean vocals, broken by growl only once. The chorus is pretty epic and I bet all fans know it by heart and sing along during shows. Its lyrics were written by Mikko-the vocalist  and together with ...And Heavens Cried Blood they stand next to other six being Juha Raivio’s (generally most of StS lyrics are his) To me it's one of the best texts and songs in their career.

Sleepless Swans gets even more atmospheric with acoustic guitars, key-background and soft vocals... only until chorus, then StS shows scary side again, really heavy guitars and mix of growls&screams /We are sleepless swans, frozen on the lake/. Around 5th minute Mikko shows another use for his voice – he recites a part of text – doing it in a incredibly sensual way (ok, I know I should obsessing about it;))

...And Heavens Cried Blood starts with driven guitar intro subtly suggesting they must also enjoy sludge works whenever they don’t DOOM DOOM (dam). It’s not a song that gets easily remembered due to its heaviness and a little monotonic slow riffs, but it carries a hidden pearl – beautiful keys once again, especially when they get uncovered in the end.

And piano turned to guitar and there was created  a woman... Lights On The Lake (Horror pt.III) opens with my favourite guitar harmonic technique joined by ethereal female voice. If you ever wondered what does a ghost of murdered woman sounds like – please, check Aleah. The concept of the song is a dialogue between a man and a ghost of a his daughter, whom he killed soon after his beloved died giving birth to her. It’s perfectly hearable in music and artists’ voices. A note of depressed madness facing fading innocence. Wow. One of your highlights dear Finns.

Seems like we can’t get much higher, but New Moon. Title track, accidentally sharing name with creepy book&film. I can’t really put in words what feelings it carries, but even though I’ve been loving Cult of Luna for ages, only after New Moon I started to actually praise to the moon. This song is simply 5 minutes of perfection, of feelings cumulating in you, making you bow your head down and cry with Mikko...

After that, Servant of Sorrow can’t be more than very good, although it has really beautiful guitar passages just like ending Weight Of The Dead – both more traditional, in doomy atmosphere, with a lot of charm, but less surprise.

That became a really long review, so I’ll just praise all members for doing a great job altogether (but I can’t help noticing again that Mikko’s voice gives me thrills every time he opens his mouth) also when it comes to artwork designed by Aleksi helped by Juha – I have the luck to own it, and it’s truly one of my favourite booklets. I see only one failure here - the album ends with spoken /Forgive me all, no more hope/ - if Swallow the Sun wanted to depress me, they failed. The beauty of this album makes me ecstatically happy.
Ok, now I’m waiting for your next word(s) guys!

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