Review SWALLOW THE SUN ‘Moonflowers’

I guess that Jyvaskyla is one of the most important cities in Finland when it comes to rock and metal. More than just a handful of bands call the city their home and one of the is Swallow The Sun.

The Finnish sextet premiered in the early days of the new century with an album entitled ‘The Morning Never Came’. It was not just the title of the debut album but in a way also summarizes the sound of the Finns very well. If you ever had a chance to experience the long Scandinavian winter nights, it isn’t a surprise that such an environment has an impact on mood and music.

‘Moonflowers’ that is the title of Swallow The Sun’s newest offer which is an eight songs comprising longplayer that follows the 2019 release ‘When a Shadow is Forced into the Light’. The first things that stands out is the artwork of the album. Not only that it spreads the dark blooming aspect of Swallow The Sun’s music. It is also special that the flowers are dried ones and have been collected by Juha Raivio. If you wonder about the red colored circle, it includes the blood of Raivio which makes the artwork very personal, beyond the motive itself.

The music on ‘Moonflowers’ and the artwork connects very well. The dried flowers, in a way, reflect a beauty of something that is lifeless with the blood being the vivid counterpart. The eight songs on ‘Moonflowers’ are mood-wise placed within these poles, and it all begins with ‘Moonflowers Bloom in Misery’.

The song is a gloomy six-minute epos that sets the tone for the album. Calm passages, fueled with sadness are alternating with harsh outbreaks. The moonflower doesn’t bloom in colorful brightness. Like on the cover artwork, it is the red colors that stands for the evanescence and is surrounded by lightless black.

The songs, written by Swallow The Sun guitarist Juha Raivio, show for a next time an emotional depth that pulls you into a world of melancholy. There is not too much light and hope. Still Raivio manages to create an atmosphere that fascinates, like in majestic ‘Woven Into Sorrow’. The cinematic ‘All Hallows’ Grief’ is another highlight as it is the bittersweet ‘The Void’. What makes ‘All Hallows’ Grief’ to a special track on the album isn’t only the intensity. That’s a common denominator throughout. The decisive element is the guest appearance of Cammie Gilbert, known from Oceans Of Slumber. Her female voice is a perfect fit with the basic pattern of this songs and adds an extra layer to ‘All Hallows’ Grief’. Last but not least there comes a massive highlight at the end of the album. Sticking to the general motive it is frontman Mikko Kotamäki, who changes from growls to hoarse screams with a blackened vibe. What an ending.

Swallow The Sun continues with ‘Moonflowers’ what they started 21 years ago. These flowers and blossoms of melancholy is what make the album to an emotional journey towards the hidden depth of the human soul.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. Moonflowers Bloom In Misery )
  2. Enemy
  3. Woven Into Sorrow
  4. Keep Your Heart Safe From Me
  5. All Hallows’ Grieve
  6. The Void (
  7. The Fight Of Your Life
  8. This House Has No Home

Label: Century Media

Genre: Dark Metal

Release Date EU: November 19th, 2021

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