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Swallow the Sun : Hope

An introduction of Swallow the Sun should be unnecessary by now I believe. Anyone who has never heard of them is probably not interested in Doom Metal at all. The time has come for their third full length release, 'Hope'. I've heard a certain phrase many times: "The third album is a very important one!" Why the third should be any more important than the first, second or even the seventh is something I can't understand. It's all about making good music and, if you want to get big, releasing it the right moment. Like them or not, Swallow The Sun is one of the more known bands within the genre for a reason.

If there is a band that could be labeled 'technical doom metal' (I hope that will never happen) it's Swallow The Sun. The drums have that certain something that is missing on so many other Doom Metal releases. Unless you listen carefully, you might miss all the nice details that make the whole so much better. The bass guitar is another schoolbook example of how to actually use the instrument as something else than just a third guitar that happens to have fewer and thicker strings. In short, these guys know how to use their instruments, and they do it well.

Good musicianship is one thing, and making good songs is another. Personally, I never learned to love 'Ghosts of Loss' as much as 'The Morning Never Came'. With that in mind, my expectations could have been higher for 'Hope' from the start. My first impression of 'Hope' being a genuinely great album does not last forever. The first four songs are absolutely outstanding. You get everything that you might have hoped for. Jonas Renske of Katatonia has a guest appearance on 'The Justice Of Suffering'. His voice fits very well within the music and makes the song stand out from the rest.

Unfortunately all songs aren't as great after hearing them a couple of times. Although they're all really good, none of the later songs on the album can compete with the earlier ones. Perhaps that opinion comes from that there are no surprises left after hearing half of the tracks of 'Hope'. You still get the same quality music, but without the feeling that you're hearing something fresh and new. The bonus track 'These Low Lands' (originally performed as 'Alavilla Mailla' by Timo Rautiainen & Trio Niskalaukaus) is a great track that sounds just like any other song by Swallow the Sun, with the vocals (performed by Tomi Joutsen) as an exception. I've never heard the original so I was a little disappointed to find out that it was a cover.

As a whole, this album is almost worth calling fantastic! There are no real weaknesses except for the few ones mentioned. The future looks promising for these Finnish guys.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Hope
2. These Hours Of Despair
3. The Justice Of Suffering
4. Don't Fall Asleep
5. Too Cold For Tears
6. The Empty Skies
7. No Light, No Hope
8. Doomed To Walk The Earth
9. These Lowlands (Bonus Track)

Duration : Approx. 64mins

Visit the Swallow the Sun bandpage.

Reviewed on 05-09-2007 by Kristian Larsson
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