Review Summary: In which Swallow the Sun keep it true (and we yawn)
Swallow the Sun will be remembered as a melodeath band amongst the hundreds that hit the mainstream and established a rather dependable but unremarkable name. The band hasn't formed any certain style or a distinguishable characteristic that will preserve its name within the metal community or press. However, given the fact that innovation is mentioned less and less inside a genre that has gathered wide attention, Swallow the Sun's latest release, Emerald Forest And The Blackbird
, raises questions concerning the way of approaching the scene as whole: should it be seen under the hollow prism of consistency or as a product merely of a trend that's soon to eclipse or evolve into something else?
Usually referred as a melodic death/doom metal band, Swallow the Sun seem to ultimately lack the elements that would place them in one of those categories more concretely. More like a baffled hybrid, Emerald Forest And The Blackbird
lacks both the sonorous austerity of doom and the excessive sense of melody that characterizes modern melodeath. Of course, such a thing alone isn't blameworthy, but the Finnish metallers still haven't shaped a sound that survives after a couple of listens. While the production is typical of their genre -that means crystal clear-, and the sound is warm and friendly to even the least trained ears, Swallow the Sun's songwriting is mediocre. The awfully typical riffing, the drowned in synthy waterfalls background and the acoustic parts constitute the basis in which the band unfolds its subtle aesthetic. Balancing from mellow heaviness ("This Cut Is the Deepest" ) to pissed-off-and-still-stylish-attitudes ("Cathedral Walls"), the record falls sort of authenticity. A couple of threnetic guitar leads echoing throughout "Of Death and Corruption" manage to offer some moments of intensity, but the pseudo-doominess strikes back ("April 14th"), shrouding the better moments into obscurity. Eventually, what is left is an indistinguishable taste of bleak monotony bespattered with rare drops of inspiration.
It is by no means easy to doom Swallow the Sun into oblivion, judging them from a perspective that demands novelty, diversity or concreteness. The band seems neither to be under any inspirational upheaval, nor an identity crisis. Emerald Forest And The Blackbird
is a focused, streamlined album, suitable for specific audiences - and this is a well known fact to most of these who are reading this review. Still it is destined to remain in such territories and accept several amounts of praise from the genre's followers. A step neither back nor forward.