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Review: Swallow the Sun - New Moon
Swallow the Sun
New Moon

Label: SpineFarm Records
Year released: 2009
Duration: 53:45
Tracks: 8
Genre: Doom/Death

Rating: 4.75/5

Review online: November 21, 2009
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
New Moon

Rated 4.11/5 (82.13%) (47 Votes)

The dark return for Swallow The Sun, who broke out in 2007 with the masterful Hope album. New Moon is their fourth album, and a darker, bleaker sequel to the already bleak Hope is difficult to imagine. After the more experimental Plague Of Butterflies, this band is back with their tried and true style of highly melodic Doom/Death metal, creating what is perhaps the most oppressive album of the year.

Powerfully melodic, New Moon is not quite as heavy as its predecessor, but contains all the haunting guitar phrases and dark atmosphere you could want. As before, the melancholy brooding of the album is subtly horrific, reminiscent of Novembers Doom at their best, though I don't know if anyone else writes melodies as hauntingly beautiful as those to be found on songs like "Sleepless Swans" or the absolutely magnificent title track – one of the finest Doom/Death songs ever written by any band. This is a more sensitive album than the last one, and as such to harsh vocals stand out to me as maybe a bit out of place here and there, and sometimes the transition from smooth melody to guttural bellow is a bit jarring for me. That is a pretty minor quibble, but overall, despite some dizzying highs, I don't think New Moon presents quite as unified and powerful a feeling as Hope. Now I think Hope was one of the best albums in its genre ever recorded, so that is not exactly a huge caveat, but it is there.

When Swallow The Sun are at full power – as on the magnificent title track to this album – they create Doom about as good as it gets, and this album is dripping with the kind of sorrowful melody and bitter atmosphere that fans of this style crave. Definitely one of the best albums this year.

Other related information on the site
Review: Emerald Forest and the Blackbird (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: Hope (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: New Moon (reviewed by Adam Kohrman)
Review: Songs from the North I, II & III (reviewed by Bruno Medeiros)
Interview with Juha Raivo (Guitars) on November 21, 2009 (Interviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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