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Swallow the Sun : New Moon

Let me confess something: I consecutively bought the second and third album of Swallow The Sun. Listened to them, put them on a shelf, looked vaguely at them while grabbing one of my Evoken or Morgion albums. One day, I traded them. Not sure what I got in exchange, but this was surely more to my taste. STS. never did it for me... Until now.

The fourth full-lenght is here, I didn't buy it, I really hadn’t the intention to do so. But it happened Spinefarm sent me a digital file. I must say, now they're convincing, now I could join the praising masses and say: “This is good”.

'New Moon' is definitively a step forward. The Finnish have added a sharper edge to their Doom, some black-ish spits of anger, some coldness and meanness that noticeably make the - now no longer predominant - mellow parts more dynamic. The opening track is a blast in the face; it let me wanting something huge right behind... Something that didn't really materialize.

There are still those clean vocals part which, topping languid guitar lines and a heavy bass, keep that strong link with Katatonia (Renkse was featured as guest on 'Hope'). STS. have a debt toward that band, that's obvious. But, and that's what I always respected about them: even though I didn't dig their albums, they manage to have a distinctive sound, something in the round texture, the deep growls, the guitar's cascading effect, the dark romanticism that can't be confused with any other.

Every time that sharp black razor cut in the greasy Doom flesh, I think they're up to something. It gets an energy, dynamics that work as a whip and make the music goes on in a nice direction. Another good idea is the use of a female voice in form of a mournful and sombre chant that works as a clever complement to the the dark and ominous moods. On the keyboard department, I think it is better than ever; it releases sparse piano notes that adds a melancholic and a decadent flavour.

This isn't a perfect album as I still think many of the tracks are too much alike. There are differences in details but the moods and power - or lack of power - are quite equal from beginning to end. The album dwells in that typical brooding atmosphere which never escapes the stubborn heavy-soft-heavy pattern that the band has get us used to from the start.

Black-ish accelerations, female parts, these are new tools that are more than welcome (1, 5, 8 are songs that really stand out); they make this album a bit more diverse and effective, bringing a certain kind of tension. This is the sort of small steps forward that could bring the sceptic ones to become new fans. What I am still not.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1.These Woods Breathe Evil
2. Falling World
3. Sleepless Swans
4. ...and Heavens Cried Blood
5. Lights on the Lake (Horror pt. III)
6. New Moon
7. Servant of Sorrow
8. Weight of the Dead

Duration : Approx. 54 minutes

Visit the Swallow the Sun bandpage.

Reviewed on 03-04-2010 by Bertrand marchal
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