"Ghosts of Loss" (Firebox; 2005)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Over time I enjoyed Swallow the Sun’s debut “The Morning Never Came” a lot more than the three chainsaw rating below might suggest. In fact, I began to think that Swallow the Sun were the only band over the last six or seven years that had any hope of truly challenging top notch doomsters My Dying Bride, Candlemass, and Novembers Doom in terms of sheer creativity and staying power. 

It took a while for me to sit down to listen and properly review Swallow the Sun’s sophomore effort “Ghosts of Loss” even though I had listened to it enough to justify putting in my Top Twenty of 2005. With “Ghosts of Loss,” there is definitely no sophomore slump – the great things I anticipated from the band are evident on the new disc.

“Ghosts of Loss” fittingly starts with the epic “The Giant” with deliberate pacing and an impressive inclusion of new melodic elements.  “Descending Winters” fits the mold created by the first set of songs on the band’s debut. “Psychopath’s Lair,” the third track, continues by incorporating more of an English doom sound – which is new to the band’s sonic palette. “Forgive Her…” was actually issued as a single in the band’s native Finland – despite its length it is a catchy, melody-infused gem. “Fragile” continues the stellar song-writing by adding a gothic overtone during the verses that provides startling contrast with the alternating harsh/clean vocals, done so well my Swedish melo-death outfits, is really done well here by Swallow the Sun in a doom setting.  “Ghosts of Laura Palmer,” casually referencing Twin Peaks, is indicative of the band’s stellar use of layers of sound. “Gloom, Beauty and Despair” is a top-notch example of how Swallow the Sun captures the sound of sorrow in musical form with a strong, sad melody. The disc ends with “The Ship” which puts a solid stamp on the disc’s entire bleak mood by balancing desperation and aggression.

“Ghosts of Loss” is evidence that Swallow the Sun’s style has been tweaked enough to move closer to perfection, yet not so much as to stray from the band’s originality – which is what separates them from the pack. 

“Ghosts of Loss” was produced by Swallow the Sun. The album was recorded, engineered and mixed by Sami Kokko. 

Swallow the Sun: Miko Kotamaki on vocals, Juha Raivio and Markus Jamsen on guitars, Matti Honkonen on bass, Aleksi Munter on keyboards, and Pasi Pasanen on drums.

For more information visit http://www.swallowthesun.net

"The Morning Never Came" (Firebox; 2003)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Swallow The Sun are the latest surprise to emerge from the Firebox label. Swallow The Sun is a band that weaves melodic doom with a host of death metal references for a sound that is both sturdy and engaging.

The two prominent features of Swallow The Sun are raspy death vocals and a strong underpinning of keyboards. I guess one could lump Swallow The Sun along with a band like Garden Of Shadows without raising too many eyebrows. It's obvious that Swallow The Sun are more doomy than Garden Of Shadows, but my comparison is still a good reference point. And I'm also impressed that "The Morning Never Came" is the band's debut full-length CD. This only leads me to believe that Swallow The Sun is capable of great things in the years to come.

Quite frankly, I just like some records for what they are without undue comparisons to other genre giants, even if a band doesn't break new stylistic ground or perfect their already unique sound. Swallow The Sun is one of those bands that hit me just right. Others might not agree with me, but I'm not really worried about that.

"The Morning Never Came" was recorded and mixed by Sami Kokko.

Swallow The Sun: M. Kotamaki on vocals, J. Raivio and M. Jamsen on guitars, M. Honkonen on bass, A. Munter on keyboards, and P. Pasanen on drums.

For more information visit http://www.swallowthesun.net

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:46:19 -0400.