Swallow The Sun
Ghost Of Loss


4.0
excellent

Review

by rasputin USER (196 Reviews)
November 15th, 2007 | 48 replies | 16,446 views


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A solid and accessible doom/death album.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

Swallow the Sun is:

Matti Honkonen - Bass guitar
Markus Jämsen - Guitar
Mikko Kotamäki - Vocals
Aleksi Munter - Keyboards
Pasi Pasanen - Drums
Juha Raivio - Guitar


Music is one of the main forms of portraying emotion artistically, along with poetry, and art. In my opinion, managing to portray emotions such as despair and anguish, and doing it successfully is one of the hardest things to do, musically. This is the challenge that every Doom Metal band faces; some succeed, others do not. If, however, a band sounds so intense that you can literally hear the sorrow in the music, then they have achieved what they set out to do. Swallow the Sun is a Doom/Death/Prog Metal band from Finland, and Ghost of Loss is their second LP. I’ve listened to their first release, The Morning Never Came, and that was incredible. Ghost of Loss is equally amazing. It’s almost a classic. Almost. There were several little niggling flaws which prevented me from giving this a higher rating, but I was still astounded by the intensity and maturity the album conveyed.

There are 8 songs on the album, and each of them is incredibly well written. I’m not sure who does the majority of the writing in the band, but simply put, the songs are amazing. Every melody, every riff, every scream, it all comes together to create a single force which takes you through a myriad of emotion. There are moments of melancholic reflection, moments that are slow, and brooding, and moments where it seems the world is falling away beneath your feet. There are no stereotypical song structures on here; the music shifts between different sections and builds up into an album with a plethora of depth. However, as brilliant as Ghost of Loss is, it does suffer from the fact that not every song is as good as the other. For example, ‘Descending Winters’ seemed slightly inferior to the two songs it separates. Not that the song itself was bad, but in relative terms, I enjoyed it a little less. This is not so much a huge flaw, but one of those niggling factors that contributed to my decision of not giving this a perfect score.

Now the actual music itself. If you are looking for a technical album, keep looking. Neither this album, nor most Doom orientated metal, is technical (I am yet to find any exceptions, please correct me if you have). However, it is not really the point of the album to be technical; as mentioned before, this album (and style of music) is all about portraying emotion, not presenting complicated and technical music. Nonetheless, the guitars still sound very good, especially during the heavy, chugging riffs that are scattered throughout the album. They really do sound heavy though, which provides an interesting combination with the mellow parts. The bass definitely contributes to the heavy sound. You cannot really hear it during the heavy parts, but I was able to hear it during most of the mellow parts. The keyboards are utilized quite often, and this helps fill in any voids that the other conventional instruments fail to cover. The drum performance is very good. They really make an impression on you; the very first time you hear them, they will blow you away. After the mellow introduction on the first track, ‘The Giant’, Mikko Kotamäki will release a roar, sparking the drums into an aggressive rhythm. The Giant is probably one of my favourite opening tracks due to this reason. It moves between soft and melodic parts with seamless transition into the heavier, fiercer moments. Another track to mention in regards to this is ‘Psychopath’s Lair’. Kotamäki seems to breathe the first verse, before growling ‘I’LL TURN THE MUSIC ON’, which is then followed by the sky falling down on you. This song reminded me very much of Opeth’s ‘Master’s Apprentice’.

Probably the most important element of the aforementioned smooth transitions, and the overall feel of the album, is vocalist Mikko Kotamäki. Doing both clean and harsh vocals, he really makes this album worth listening to. His voice reflects perfectly the mood that the music is trying to encapsulate; whether it is a mellow clean voice, a medium ranged scream, or his powerful guttural growls. His voice matches the music perfectly. The only complaint I have, and this is another one of those niggling flaws, is that his clean vocals are not perfect. They are by no means bad, do not get the wrong impression, but they aren’t perfect. Therefore, no perfect score.

Well, it seems that I really have nothing but praise for this album (excepting those few flaws). But, instead of revealing more hidden flaws, I have more good news. The production on the album is excellent. It isn’t the absolute best I have heard recently, but it is very well done and has a certain hollow sound to it, which makes the album sound very nice. I’m unsure if it was done on purpose or that’s just how the album turned out, but the effect it gives makes the album sound very doomy. Furthermore, I have good reason to believe there is a concept behind the album. This just makes it a whole lot better for me, as I’m a complete sucker for (well-made) concept albums. I haven’t been able to find much information about the album itself, but the lyrics do seem to tell a story. However, I normally compare every lyric I hear to something like Opeth’s lyrics, and Ghost of Loss isn’t bad, but it definitely is not as good either. For example, although it’s one of my favourite songs, the lyrics on ‘Psychopath’s Lair’ aren’t too brilliant.

This is a portrait of a clear mind
The profile of my kind
I'll bring flames on your face
And when I'm done
You'll become one of mine
I'll take you down to psychopath's lair
I'll drag you there, to the psychopath's lair
I'll take you down, down to the psychopath's lair


They do, however, get bonus points for being part of a concept. Also, my most hated friend Wikipedia has stated that the album contains numerous references to a TV series, Twin Peaks. I have not watched, let alone heard of it, but apparently in the pilot episode a girl who is murdered is called Laura Palmer, and The Giant is another character. So the concept may be based on this series, but I’m not sure. If there is anyone who has seen the show, it’d be great if they could clarify this for me.

So with a concept in mind, the album just got better. I feel that ‘epic’ is a little strong word to use in this case, especially because it reminds me too much of power metal, and power metal this is not. However, this album is just huge. The amount of depth that is in this album is immeasurable; once you get into the album it’s very hard to get back out. Swallow the Sun have gone all out to make this album the epitome of doom and despair. An example of their innovation is the closing track, ‘The Ship’. The song portrays a variety of moods throughout its 9 minute length, but really takes the cake towards the end. After a few minutes of mellowness, the song breaks into one of the most memorable and heart-wrenching riffs I have ever heard, with Kotamäki sounding equally as distraught. The song then closes off with what sounds like the Apocalypse, a roaring noise which completely envelops you before stopping with an immediate and concluding effect. It just sounds amazing.

With a running time of over 60 minutes, the album is literally huge too. Albums like this make me question why so many musicians and bands think it is okay to make a short album. Sometimes there are exceptions, but on the whole I’d rather get something more with my albums. Ghost of Loss definitely delivers the goods. In conclusion, this album is simply sublime. As I’ve pointed out, there are several small things which keep it from getting a perfect score, but this is still so much better than the majority of heavy metal. I highly recommend this to anybody who has a soft spot for melody and depth in their music, even more so if you like Doom Metal, Melodic Metal, Opeth, Novembers Doom, and similar bands.

Pros:
- It has a lot of depth
- The music really holds your interest
- There are some definite classic songs on here
- Vocals are incredible
- Instrumentally, the album is very well executed
- Production is very good
- I’m a sucker for concept albums

Cons:
- Some songs aren’t as good as others
- Clean vocals could be better
- Lyrics could be better

Recommended Tracks:
The Giant
Psychopath’s Lair
The Ship



Recent reviews by this author
Hoax HoaxHakaristi Hakaristi
Burial Invocation Rituals of the GrotesqueEibon Entering Darkness
Abe Sada / Sub Ordnance Redux / Organ GrinderIron Lung/Mind Eraser/HS/Scapegoat Brutal Supremacy
user ratings (128)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
rasputin
November 15th 2007



14504 Comments


I put a lot of effort into this review, hopefully you guys will like it

NOTINTHEFACE
November 16th 2007



1653 Comments


I desperately want to hear these guys... they sound like something I'd like. They don't have a purevolume, either.

Great review.

plane
Staff Reviewer
November 16th 2007



6073 Comments


I like The Morning Never Came a lot and Hope is good, so I'll probably check this out at some point. Though to be honest, two albums seems enough for Swallow the Sun.

Slaytan
November 16th 2007



1186 Comments


Nice review. I see you have two reviews up on the board much like myself, haha.

rasputin
November 16th 2007



14504 Comments


oh yeah. if this was Unreal, --> 'DOMINATION'.

Willie
Moderator
November 16th 2007



15774 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

That's a long ass review... thanks for getting to it so quickly... voted.

Neither this album, nor most Doom orientated metal, is technical (I am yet to find any exceptions, please correct me if you have).
Solitude Aeturnus, especially their debut album which is a underrated classic of the genre.
Also, my most hated friend Wikipedia has stated that the album contains numerous references to a TV series, Twin Peaks. I have not watched, let alone heard of it, but apparently in the pilot episode a girl who is murdered is called Laura Palmer, and The Giant is another character. So the concept may be based on this series, but I’m not sure. If there is anyone who has seen the show, it’d be great if they could clarify this for me.
It's been a while but that sounds right. It was a twisted series, and really good....

Digging: Teramaze - Esoteric Symbolism

Shattered_Future
November 16th 2007



1539 Comments


Good review, but I don't like this album as much as the other two. The keyboards aren't brought out enough, the production is kinda dull, and the songs just aren't as interesting as what's found on The Morning Never Came and Hope.

BallsToTheWall
November 16th 2007



44164 Comments


Descending Winters is all i've heard from here, great song, but not as good as Hold This Woe from TMNC. Another great review.

freudianslipknot
November 16th 2007



803 Comments


Good review. I really enjoy Swallow the Sun. Sometimes I think this is better than The Morning Never Came. It's pretty close call. I don't have Hope yet. I need to get that really soon.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
November 16th 2007



15990 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I still need to buy this album.

Digging: Thergothon - Stream From The Heavens

ZapatoDiablo
November 16th 2007



167 Comments


I’m not sure who does the majority of the writing in the band, but simply put, the songs are amazing.

Juha Raivio composes most of the music according to their website. It took me a while to really get into Hope, but so far this one is pretty good too. The Giant owns.

jrowa001
November 16th 2007



8749 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i like this album, but i dont listen to it as much as i listen to their other two

Commortus
November 16th 2007



237 Comments


There were several little niggling flaws which prevented me from giving this a higher rating

The only complaint I have, and this is another one of those niggling flaws, is that his clean vocals are not perfect.

You're using niggling incorrectly. The verb niggle means to criticize. I think you're thinking of nagging flaws, which is a much more commonly used phrase.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
November 16th 2007



15990 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just bought this! :D

botb
November 16th 2007



9284 Comments


I really really like these guys. I'll be getting this soon.

Digging: Cult Leader - Nothing For Us Here

rasputin
November 16th 2007



14504 Comments


You're using niggling incorrectly. The verb niggle means to criticize. I think you're thinking of nagging flaws, which is a much more commonly used phrase.

You have raised a fair point, but in my defense I'll tell you that I was using the word as an adjective, not a verb. When used as an adjective, it has a slightly different meaning.

Solitude Aeturnus, especially their debut album which is a underrated classic of the genre.

That sounds good, I'll have to look into them.

Willie
Moderator
November 16th 2007



15774 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

[quote]Solitude Aeturnus, especially their debut album which is a underrated classic of the genre.
That sounds good, I'll have to look into them.[/quote]You won't regret it, especially if you can find their debut. "Through the Darkest Hour" is another good album of theirs.This Message Edited On 11.16.07

EyesWideShut
November 17th 2007



3028 Comments


Found "Hope" to be kind of boring after a few listens but I will give this a shot.

rasputin
November 17th 2007



14504 Comments


Hostile101: This isn't a really big difference from Hope, so if you found it boring then this might not hold your interest.

Willie: Their debut is Into the Depths of Sorrow? If so, I've found a torrent, I'll let you know what I think as soon as I listen

Willie
Moderator
November 17th 2007



15774 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Willie: Their debut is Into the Depths of Sorrow? If so, I've found a torrent, I'll let you know what I think as soon as I listen
It is, and it is awesome. Especially "Mirror of Sorrow". You know, that album doesn't have a review for it either...hint hint ;)



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy