Rating:
8.2
Swallow The Sun - Emerald Forest And The Blackbird
1 February 2012


01. Emerald Forest And The Blackbird
02. This Cut Is The Deepest
03. Hate, Lead The Way
04. Cathedral Walls [feat. Anette Olzon]
05. Hearts Wide Shut
06. Silent Towers
07. Labyrinth Of London (Horror Pt. IV)
08. Of Death And Corruption
09. April 14th
10. Night Will Forgive Us


What attracted me to Swallow The Sun in the first place? Hard to say, but it was definitely their take on combining elements of doom and melodic death metal and putting their own spin on the outcome. And while not originators of this not easily defined genre, Swallow The Sun stayed somewhat true to their basic formula over the years.

Then they released Emerald Forest And The Blackbird and I don't even know where to start? While listening to the title track, I still had high hopes since this song at least has some of the "doom, doom, doom" feeling and builds up nicely before fading out to a very nice acoustic guitar ending.

"This Cut Is The Deepest" came on and I was baffled! Don't get me wrong, the song itself is good and Mikko Kotamäki's clean vocals are awesome, but this was NOT my Swallow The Sun. A radio friendly metal ballad?

At least "Hate, Lead The Way" restored my faith in the band's ability to pull of a worthy contender to their 2009 release New Moon. The song is maybe a bit more theatrical, in the roam of Dimmu Borgir's Abrahadabra, but at least it has some kick ass guitar sound in it. Atmospheric with a nice chorus and one can head-bob to the song, not too overly hectic.

Two good songs with one "meh" and I thought to myself, great they got the BS out of their system and we can move forward; well apparently not. I actually had to check if my iTunes was not on shuffle and Katatonia was accidentally playing, well sans the low growls that is.

Emerald Forest And The Blackbird has too much ambience for my taste and not enough doom. Swallow The Sun has become increasingly softer over the years, and the shift away from their doom roots toward the more melodic death metal sound is very apparent on the album. But then again, their 2009 release New Moon should have been an indicator of new things to come.

Listen to ANY song on The Morning Never Came and THIS is what I think of when I hear the moniker "melodic doom death metal". Swallow The Sun has lost their edge and I seriously long for songs like "Doomed To Walk The Earth".

On the plus side, Aleksi Munter on his keyboard is much more dominant on the new piece and Kai Hahto's drumming is astonishing. And hence, the reason why it is very hard to rate this album, since as a stand alone piece it can hold its own just fine. But if I have to rate it as a piece of Swallow The Sun's discography, then it honestly doesn't fair all that well.

Highlights for me are definitely "Hate, Lead The Way" and "Night Will Forgive Us" with "Labyrinth Of London (Horror Pt. IV)" as a close third.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 8


Band profile: Swallow The Sun
Album: Emerald Forest And The Blackbird


 



Written on 01.08.2012 by
D.T. Metal
Editor-in-Chief

Professional concertgoer ... dangerously armed with a camera!
More reviews by D.T. Metal ››



Comments

‹‹ Back to the Reviews
Comments: 27  
Users visited: 335  
Search this topic:  


WorpeX - 02.08.2012 at 01:20  
I highly disagree with this review. I think this album is a masterpiece from start to finish. Every band evolves from their original sound and people just need to accept that. I love the direction that Swallow the Sun has taken because they took their original sound to a whole to level. It's much more atmospheric, varied and doomy than ever before. You feel almost as if you're part of the music when you listen to this album and almost all of the songs bring out a different feeling in the listener. At the same time, they haven't lost elements of their original sound. These guys are absolute geniuses. 9.5/10 from me.
!J.O.O.E.! - 02.08.2012 at 01:25  
Quite a lot of dissonance with the score and review here. An 8.2, a very good score by any regard, shouldn't warrant as much emphasis on criticism as is present. Not hard to gauge though from the review that there was some conflicting emotions going on here
D.T. Metal - 02.08.2012 at 01:49  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 02.08.2012 at 01:25

..... Not hard to gauge though from the review that there was some conflicting emotions going on here

EXACTLY
Some songs are def. better than others and that's why I stated that as a whole it's different to judge than as an album in their discography!
!J.O.O.E.! - 02.08.2012 at 01:51  
Written by D.T. Metal on 02.08.2012 at 01:49

EXACTLY
Some songs are def. better than others and that's why I stated that as a whole it's different to judge than as an album in their discography!

Well that's definitely an eternal question on how to judge an album, whether by its own discog or by its peers and genre history.
Mr. Doctor - 02.08.2012 at 10:40  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 02.08.2012 at 01:51
Well that's definitely an eternal question on how to judge an album, whether by its own discog or by its peers and genre history.


I always preffer to see an album as how it stands on its own rather that taking the whole discography into account since for me that serves no purpose at all unless there's an obvious sense of continuity within the discography.
Thyroid - 02.08.2012 at 14:48  
I have mixed feelings about this album also. Sound is very polished, and lots of times this sounds very radio friendly.... yet, this has also absolutely beautiful moments, and also very very heavy parts. Songs are good, and well written. There are no absolutely filler songs on this album - maybe some moments that are little bit boring though. So what's the problem? Credibility? Good ol' "their-first-demo-was-amazing-and-then-they-sold-themselves-and-are-pure-shit-nowdays"-syndrome? I get this feeling sometimes, for example when listening Alcest. It's absolutely great, but it feels so... safe?

Anyway, I think 8.2 suits fine this album. And I think that this is slightly better than two StS albums before. Not that they were bad either.
AngelofDeth - 02.08.2012 at 21:49  
Written by WorpeX on 02.08.2012 at 01:20

I highly disagree with this review. I think this album is a masterpiece from start to finish. Every band evolves from their original sound and people just need to accept that. I love the direction that Swallow the Sun has taken because they took their original sound to a whole to level. It's much more atmospheric, varied and doomy than ever before. You feel almost as if you're part of the music when you listen to this album and almost all of the songs bring out a different feeling in the listener. At the same time, they haven't lost elements of their original sound. These guys are absolute geniuses. 9.5/10 from me.

FANBOY ALERT!

I like this album, though I dont think its as good as their past albums. But it is still entirely unique both to there past and their peers. It has a VERY slowed down pace and drags out in multiple places but if your in the right mood its a great change of pace. When you want to relax and chill this is the album to put on.

In the right mood this is a great album, but any other time and you might get bored..

7.5/10
Stoned Crow - 03.08.2012 at 00:33  
Written by MechanisT on 03.07.2012 at 22:25

Man, this is really overrated. Doesn't hold a candle to New Moon, let alone their debut. It has some entertainment factor to it, but the thrills most certainly do not last.
A very underwhelming experience.
lamboy - 03.08.2012 at 03:44  
Come on guys! this is awesome!!!
Night Sight - 03.08.2012 at 12:08  
It is very mellow i dont appreciate this kind of atmospheric and ambience and slow doom metal
i like heavier stuffs,though i never was a big fan of them
i am agree that they have lost their edge and they wont play songs like doomed to walk the earth any more
i have not any special favorite track in the album but i enjoy emerald forest and the blackbird and the cut is the deepest
but these are very common doom metal songs
Merchant of Doom - 03.08.2012 at 14:46  
I think a lot of haters would have loved StS to screw up with this LP, but they haven't...
Mr. Doctor - 03.08.2012 at 15:11  
Written by Merchant of Doom on 03.08.2012 at 14:46
I think a lot of haters would have loved StS to screw up with this LP, but they haven't...

Nah, the haters think they fucked up from the very beginning. Jokes aside, I don't think much about this band considering how irrelevant they are to me and doom metal of course. Just another band that got big for no reason other than marketing... They do have some catchy tune here and there though, I'll give you that.
Merchant of Doom - 03.08.2012 at 15:23  
I don't get all the hate, though. They produce good sounding albums, with good tunes, maybe a bit inconsistent and inoffensive. Radio-friendly doom. So what? There is a market for that too...
R'Vannith - 03.08.2012 at 15:55  
Radio friendly doom. I doubt doom and the ol' radio get along like a house on fire. Or maybe I've been tuning into the wrong frequencies?

Its very difficult to stomach this album after stuff like The Morning Never Came, there are moments when they nearly hit that level again but they seem incapable of sustaining those heights anymore. I'm not as familiar with what came between their debut and this but they're clearly a shadow of their former selves, as cliched as pointing out that fact has become.

Still.. seems like a bold shadow to me. Competent is the word I would use.
Merchant of Doom - 03.08.2012 at 17:57  
Written by R'Vannith on 03.08.2012 at 15:55

Radio friendly doom. I doubt doom and the ol' radio get along like a house on fire. Or maybe I've been tuning into the wrong frequencies?


well, no... radio-friendly as in doom for the masses...

Written by R'Vannith on 03.08.2012 at 15:55

Its very difficult to stomach this album after stuff like The Morning Never Came


it's the same stuff, just more polished, more approachable, less extreme (if StS were ever that extreme). Bands grow old and get mellower...
R'Vannith - 03.08.2012 at 18:19  
Written by Merchant of Doom on 03.08.2012 at 17:57

Written by R'Vannith on 03.08.2012 at 15:55

Radio friendly doom. I doubt doom and the ol' radio get along like a house on fire. Or maybe I've been tuning into the wrong frequencies?


well, no... radio-friendly as in doom for the masses...

Written by R'Vannith on 03.08.2012 at 15:55

Its very difficult to stomach this album after stuff like The Morning Never Came


it's the same stuff, just more polished, more approachable, less extreme (if StS were ever that extreme). Bands grow old and get mellower...


Radio friendly and doom for the masses are two different things in my mind, though I'm probably taking things too literally.

I would say their debut is more accessible than this one, simply because it's so much better. But that's really only my personal reflection, this particular album rarely strikes me as something which I would describe as more accessible. I don't think its so much an issue of accessibility as just a matter of quality.
WorpeX - 04.08.2012 at 00:17  
Written by R'Vannith on 03.08.2012 at 18:19

Written by Merchant of Doom on 03.08.2012 at 17:57

Written by R'Vannith on 03.08.2012 at 15:55

Radio friendly doom. I doubt doom and the ol' radio get along like a house on fire. Or maybe I've been tuning into the wrong frequencies?


well, no... radio-friendly as in doom for the masses...

Written by R'Vannith on 03.08.2012 at 15:55

Its very difficult to stomach this album after stuff like The Morning Never Came


it's the same stuff, just more polished, more approachable, less extreme (if StS were ever that extreme). Bands grow old and get mellower...


Radio friendly and doom for the masses are two different things in my mind, though I'm probably taking things too literally.

I would say their debut is more accessible than this one, simply because it's so much better. But that's really only my personal reflection, this particular album rarely strikes me as something which I would describe as more accessible. I don't think its so much an issue of accessibility as just a matter of quality.


We get it, their first album is fantastic. No one is arguing that point. I have no idea why people are so vocal about hating on this band all of a sudden. They produce fantastic music and this album is no exception. No, this isn't an exact copy/paste replica of their first album. If you want a band that doesn't grow and evolve from album to album go listen to Manowar.

For me, this album is great. Some of the riffs in this album just blow me away with how original and fantastic they are. I particularly love the ones in Of Death And Corruption and Night will Forgive us. Not to forget the vocals which are extremely polished this time around in comparison to their earlier albums. The singer has really gotten his clean vocals down well. I also love how this band packs so much into one song. I can listen to this 50+ times and still hear little details that I've missed previously. Absolutely mind boggling. This album has become my favorite by this band and that was a tough feat to accomplish considering their debut and "New Moon" were also great.

Lastly, to AngelofDeth: While I am a huge fan of this band, I wouldn't say that I am a fanboy. I've yet to hear "Hope" and "Ghosts Of Loss" wasn't really all that great in my eyes. Couple of good songs here and there, but nothing mind blowing. Just because someone likes an album and scores it well, that doesn't automatically make them a fanboy who has no insight into what they're talking about.
hadriel - 04.08.2012 at 00:45  
Been listening to them since the beginning and MNC was always one of those albums that I knew wouldn't be trumped by subsequent albums. That being said, I'm actually really enjoying the evolution of StS inclusive of this album. They show a lot of variation here, reviewer specifically mentions tracks 2 & 3, and I think it's those jumps between more extreme styles without compromising the flow of the album that really lets this album stand on its own. Their sound is no doubt changing, but I don't really see that as a bad thing. They've been leading the charge on bringing this melodeath/doom style back to the forefront of metal and its nice to seem them continue to change their sound and keep things fresh.

I found this album to be a nice throwback/tribute to Rapture (a band who I've always felt had largely influenced StS's sound to begin with)...Rapture always managed to fit in some very soft tracks that I felt were some of their strongest. StS does a pretty good job of emulating the same feel from this album, while still maintaining their own unique doom atmosphere that they've been known for really revolutionizing back when they released MNC. It's nothing groundbreaking, but I'd have trouble arguing that its not a solid album still...and I definitely don't think they've lost their edge....unless the mentioned 'edge' is blatantly referring to the fact that this album isn't MNC
Troy Killjoy - 05.08.2012 at 01:17  
I definitely agree with the review, but not the overall score (which I'd personally lower by at least a full point, if not more). This is easily their most tame release, to the point it almost feels toothless. Melodic radio doom for the masses, which isn't drastically different from their previous efforts, but by comparison this is just watered down way too much.

The diehard fans will of course defend this to the death, however. If this album makes them happy, so be it. I tend to prefer more challenging and interesting listens when it comes to doom, though.
R'Vannith - 05.08.2012 at 12:06  
Written by WorpeX on 04.08.2012 at 00:17

We get it, their first album is fantastic. No one is arguing that point. I have no idea why people are so vocal about hating on this band all of a sudden. They produce fantastic music and this album is no exception. No, this isn't an exact copy/paste replica of their first album. If you want a band that doesn't grow and evolve from album to album go listen to Manowar.

For me, this album is great. Some of the riffs in this album just blow me away with how original and fantastic they are. I particularly love the ones in Of Death And Corruption and Night will Forgive us. Not to forget the vocals which are extremely polished this time around in comparison to their earlier albums. The singer has really gotten his clean vocals down well. I also love how this band packs so much into one song. I can listen to this 50+ times and still hear little details that I've missed previously. Absolutely mind boggling. This album has become my favorite by this band and that was a tough feat to accomplish considering their debut and "New Moon" were also great.



I can't recall where I gave the impression that I was 'hating on' the band. I agree with you, to an extent, this album is not exceptional but a fine addition to their discography. And I'll pass on the Manowar offer.

You've explained why you like this quite clearly there, I agree that there is a lot of material in this album. Personally though I find it overly strained at times and it doesn't have the same impact that their debut has, which was the purpose of my mentioning it. Largely though I think its the shift in style they I can't appreciate as much.
moe5512 - 05.08.2012 at 14:04  
I think it's weird that you wrote so much negative stuff but still rate it 8.2.. Anyhow, I like this album because of the fact that it's not as doomy as the other ones
WorpeX - 05.08.2012 at 15:54  
Written by R'Vannith on 05.08.2012 at 12:06

And I'll pass on the Manowar offer.



Are you sure? I hear their new album is fantastic!
Boxcar Willy - 06.08.2012 at 19:05  
I thought this was extremely boring.

(the album, not the review )
Lit. - 12.08.2012 at 02:42  
Nothing past The Morning Never Came will be as good. This is no exception.
Marcel Hubregtse - 12.08.2012 at 10:43  
Written by WorpeX on 05.08.2012 at 15:54

Written by R'Vannith on 05.08.2012 at 12:06

And I'll pass on the Manowar offer.



Are you sure? I hear their new album is fantastic!



where did you hear that?

I heard it and it's just as bad as the previous one.
Eddie Misery - 17.08.2012 at 06:55  
Total disagreement here for my part.

I'm not gonna go all "fanboy" as some of you lovingly label others..but, like someone already mentioned, the criticism in the review does not match the overall rating the reviewer gave it. I personally don't care if someone rates it a 1 or a 10. But at least be consistent in your opinions.

I happen to really enjoy the album. Maybe not as much as some other albums of theirs, but I was pleasantly surprised by what it had to offer. It's a little more mellow in some parts, features stronger keyboard/ambience parts and of course, more in the way of clean vocals. What's really grating my nerves is people saying that they've "lost their edge", are "going soft", or it's "less doomy" or "radio friendly doom." I understand that it's more of a figurative approach when people say "radio friendly doom", but it's entirely inaccurate either way.

If you want to label anything on the album as more "commercially accessible", surely it would have to be track 4, with Annette from Nightwish, Nightwish being one of the most commercial and radio friendly bands in the industry (not to mention overrated..). I was scared when I heard that she was in a StS song. She did really well with the part though, even though she sounds remarkably identical in that song to Liv Kristine Krull.....but I digress. I guess what I'm getting at is that nothing about doom metal will ever be "for the masses", as much as you might like it to be to justify your claims of being a fan only of "the earlier material", before "the masses". Get over it. No, there will never be another "Doomed to Walk the Earth". There will never be another "The Morning Never Came." Stop living in the past. These people who complain that bands have softened or lost their edge b/c the newest material is nothing like the old material are the same band wagoners who would call those same bands stale or unoriginal for sticking to the same formula every album.

Furthermore...can doom really be quantified? Can any genre? If it's doom, it's f*cking doom. It's not "well, this album is sorta 60% doom..." The fastest songs on the album clock in at about the same tempos on the "fastest" parts, those songs being Hate Lead the Way and Labyrinth of London, at about rought 140-150 bpm by my count. Everything else is sloooooooow. There aren't many "radio friendly" songs that are slow in tempo like a doom metal song. Another thing, regarding vocals...every song on this album has growling/extreme vocals, with the exception of two tracks. Softened? Lost their edge? Bands like StS will never be commercial or radio friendly as long as they're "doom" anything, by virtue of the fact that doom, along with anything containing any "extreme" metal elements, is simply not "for the masses." Why do "the masses" even matter anyway? Are we to think that the bands we have loved from the outset record their personal musical pieces only to please a select few? Only to please us? How self-serving and arrogant...How DARE they play something that even a few more people might like, right? Let alone, something they themselves might like and feel satisfied with.

This album, like it or not, has all the makings of a doom metal album. I defy anyone to present an entire song to someone who is not a doom listener and see how they react...I'm quite sure they'll start with telling you the same shit we all hear at some time, "you can't even understand what he's saying!" Followed by "it's so slow, I'm falling asleep" and "this is depressing....are you okay?" It may not live up to the arrogant standards of some who are trapped in the past, but it's illogical to label it as radio friendly and for the masses just because it's not a repeat of one of their past successes.

*end rant*
Passenger - 24.10.2013 at 01:03  
Written by Eddie Misery on 17.08.2012 at 06:55

Total disagreement here for my part.

I'm not gonna go all "fanboy" as some of you lovingly label others..but, like someone already mentioned, the criticism in the review does not match the overall rating the reviewer gave it. I personally don't care if someone rates it a 1 or a 10. But at least be consistent in your opinions.

I happen to really enjoy the album. Maybe not as much as some other albums of theirs, but I was pleasantly surprised by what it had to offer. It's a little more mellow in some parts, features stronger keyboard/ambience parts and of course, more in the way of clean vocals. What's really grating my nerves is people saying that they've "lost their edge", are "going soft", or it's "less doomy" or "radio friendly doom." I understand that it's more of a figurative approach when people say "radio friendly doom", but it's entirely inaccurate either way.

If you want to label anything on the album as more "commercially accessible", surely it would have to be track 4, with Annette from Nightwish, Nightwish being one of the most commercial and radio friendly bands in the industry (not to mention overrated..). I was scared when I heard that she was in a StS song. She did really well with the part though, even though she sounds remarkably identical in that song to Liv Kristine Krull.....but I digress. I guess what I'm getting at is that nothing about doom metal will ever be "for the masses", as much as you might like it to be to justify your claims of being a fan only of "the earlier material", before "the masses". Get over it. No, there will never be another "Doomed to Walk the Earth". There will never be another "The Morning Never Came." Stop living in the past. These people who complain that bands have softened or lost their edge b/c the newest material is nothing like the old material are the same band wagoners who would call those same bands stale or unoriginal for sticking to the same formula every album.

Furthermore...can doom really be quantified? Can any genre? If it's doom, it's f*cking doom. It's not "well, this album is sorta 60% doom..." The fastest songs on the album clock in at about the same tempos on the "fastest" parts, those songs being Hate Lead the Way and Labyrinth of London, at about rought 140-150 bpm by my count. Everything else is sloooooooow. There aren't many "radio friendly" songs that are slow in tempo like a doom metal song. Another thing, regarding vocals...every song on this album has growling/extreme vocals, with the exception of two tracks. Softened? Lost their edge? Bands like StS will never be commercial or radio friendly as long as they're "doom" anything, by virtue of the fact that doom, along with anything containing any "extreme" metal elements, is simply not "for the masses." Why do "the masses" even matter anyway? Are we to think that the bands we have loved from the outset record their personal musical pieces only to please a select few? Only to please us? How self-serving and arrogant...How DARE they play something that even a few more people might like, right? Let alone, something they themselves might like and feel satisfied with.

This album, like it or not, has all the makings of a doom metal album. I defy anyone to present an entire song to someone who is not a doom listener and see how they react...I'm quite sure they'll start with telling you the same shit we all hear at some time, "you can't even understand what he's saying!" Followed by "it's so slow, I'm falling asleep" and "this is depressing....are you okay?" It may not live up to the arrogant standards of some who are trapped in the past, but it's illogical to label it as radio friendly and for the masses just because it's not a repeat of one of their past successes.

*end rant*

Right on!

Advertise on Metal Storm


Login or register to post here.



Similar topics

Forum Topic Similarity Started
Funny stuff Swallow the Sun - Emerald Forest and the SR71 BLACKBIRD 10.5 11.03.2012 by Array
Articles On The Road With Swallow The Sun - North America Tour 2012 8 03.10.2012 by Array
News Swallow The Sun - Don't Fall Asleep CDS And Video & Gig At Lutakko 7.5 11.01.2007 by Katatronik
News Swallow The Sun - N. American And Finnish Tours Announced 7.5 15.09.2008 by Dark Blood
News Swallow The Sun - New Album Samples Available 6 20.11.2006 by Passenger



Hits total: 4658 | This month: 74