A Swarm Of The Sun - The Woods review

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Band: A Swarm Of The Sun
Album: The Woods
Release date: January 2019

01. Blackout
02. The Woods
03. An Heir To The Throne

Less is more. Slow building is catharsis.

There's something about the very subdued and very patient type of post-rock or whatever that really takes its time to build emotional sounds instead of being bland, tremolo-picking crescendo-core that has, depending on whom you ask, plagued post-rock for the past decade. So, taking more from Godspeed You! Black Emperor and less from Explosions In The Sky, comes A Swarm Of The Sun, a Swedish duo. Quite similar to another one of my favorites, Wrekmeister Harmonies, the Swedes also take the same ambient, droning, and careful approach to a more metal sound - hence why I'm covering them on this website.

The Woods is divided into three songs, each a bit over ten minutes long, each of these being somewhat intertwined in mood and flow. Each track oozes a sort of longing and despair, not that far off from funeral doom but entirely different at the same time. While both have huge emphasis on atmosphere and glacial paces, A Swarm Of The Sun has both a more subdued sound and a more effective emotional crescendo, and the vocals it relies on are purely clean and of quite a low volume, though there may be some moments like the organ-heavy middle section of the title track that give off similar vibes to a Skepticism song, so harsh vocals wouldn't have broken immersion, but the vocals used here still evoke a strained and brooding sense of anguish.

And like that organ, it is often instruments other than the guitar, whose role is still most significant, that really give a lot of the flavour to the music, especially in the opening track, where it feels like the piano, violin, and sparse percussion really take center stage. And with such long songs obviously built on buildups and releases, it's often quite dangerous to have a crescendo that leads to disappointing finales, which isn't much the case here. Not everything falls exactly like a jigsaw into place but there was not a moment that felt awkward or unrewarding. In fact, it is indeed so well-built that it once again feels like it reminds me of why I enjoy music. The colossal guitars only feel so much more rewarding and cathartic when they hit because of how patient the songwriting is. And even when they do take center stage, it's still worth paying attention to all other layers.

And just like that, it's over. A bit over 30 minutes of awe-inspiring and goosebumps-inducing post-rock that avoids all pitfalls and arrives triumphant at all destinations of its journeys. As triumphant as bleakness and sorrow can be.


Written on 05.02.2019 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 48 users
10.02.2019 - 09:31
JoHn DoE
Excellent on first listen, listened to the opening song twice
Needs more listens, if only I had time, then I gotta make some
I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
22.02.2019 - 00:37
Yeah it's not something I could listen to on any day, but certainly the most interesting post-rock I've heard in a while, really enjoy it's ever-present subdued feel

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