Swallow the Sun is a Finnish melodic doom death metal band founded in 2000 in Jyväskylä, Keski-Suomi, Finland, by guitarist Juha Raivio. The band has produced eight full-length albums, one triple album, one EP, one demo, and seven singles, all of which stand out for their majestic and mournful death-doom style that stresses melody and atmosphere and occasionally crosses into the gothic and black metal arena.
Swallow the Sun released their debut album, ‘The Morning Never Came,’ in 2003. It was followed by ‘Ghosts of Loss’ (2005), ‘Hope’ (2007), and ‘New Moon’ (2009). These early recordings cemented the band’s position as a dominant force in the Finnish doom metal scene, and they garnered a devoted following both in Finland and abroad.
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The debut album ‘The Morning Never Came’ was immensely popular, featuring songs such as the excellent opening track ‘Through Her Silvery Body,’ a melancholy and atmospheric beginning, and the devastating ‘Hold This Woe,’ which are among the eight tracks on the album. ‘The Morning Never Came’ extensively explores the borders between mood and anger. The band uses slow, dirge-like tempos and harsh growls to produce an album that is both heavy and gloomy.
The keyboards are prominently utilized to give the record a more majestic atmosphere, while the bass sound and style are similar to Type O Negative. The composition and musicianship in ‘The Morning Never Came’ are outstanding. Despite presenting nothing especially new or revolutionary, the band manages to hold the listener’s attention with sheer intensity and refuses to let go, such as the eight-minute plus epic ‘The Morning Never Came,’ which is a dismal elegy that embodies the spirit of doom metal at its finest.
Overall, ‘The Morning Never Came’ was a fantastic debut album highlighting the band’s tremendous talent and compositional abilities. This is an album that will linger with listeners for a long time and be remembered for years to come.
Swallow the Sun has since released several additional albums, including ‘Emerald Forest and the Blackbird’ (2012), ‘Songs from the North I, II, and III’ (2015), and ‘When a Shadow Is Forced into the Light’ (2019).
Swallow the Sun, however, upon release of ‘Emerald Forest and the Blackbird,’ a shift from their typical doom metal style that included elements of gothic metal and post-rock occurred. The album was a critical and financial triumph, solidifying the band’s position as one of Finland’s most prominent and influential metal bands.
Their most recent full-length studio album, ‘Moonflowers,’ was released worldwide on November 19, 2021, via Century Media Records and encompasses eight songs. Before the official release of their album, they released a classical string version of the opening track, ‘Moonflowers Bloom in Misery,’ which was recorded using a violin, viola, and cello, as played by Trio NOX and recorded at Sipoo Church in Finland.
Guitarist Ruha Raivio commented, “After I had finished writing all the music for this record in the fall of 2020, I started to write these small instrumental versions of the album songs for the violin, viola, cello, and piano, mostly because I was wondering how it would feel like to hear all these songs first as these intimate versions instead of a full band album.”
He continued, “It was really beautiful to see and hear these songs come alive in this way and form, recorded live in this big church in Finland. To be able to hear the echoes of this music reflecting from the church walls and feel the very soul of these old wooden instruments played by real people in this sacred place. Something about hearing the strings breathe this fragile beauty into these songs that carry so much pain otherwise. Now looking back, maybe I wrote these versions just for myself to be able to hear and feel at least some kind of beauty and solace in these songs, maybe…”
‘Moonflowers,’ on the other hand, takes a new approach to blending a gloomy gloss with a lovely backdrop, expressing the band’s own experiences with death and grief. With Mikko Kotamaki’s lyrical vocal lines and Juha Raivio’s exquisite guitar work, each song is a contemplation of life and death. Cammie Gilbert (Oceans of Slumber) and Antti Hyyrynen also contribute vocals to the album (Stam1na).
Nonetheless, the release of ‘Moonflowers’ was met with sadness since pianist and backing vocalist Jaani Peuhu has opted to leave the band, at least for this album.
Overall, ‘Moonflowers’ is a fantastic album that showcases Swallow the Sun at its best. With its distinctive blend of doomy death metal and melodic elements, the album captivates listeners and leaves them wanting more.
The band has performed at major metal festivals such as Wacken Open Air and Inferno Metal Festival, and they have traveled extensively across Europe and North America.
Swallow the Sun, in conclusion, is a highly acclaimed and prominent doom metal band that has had a considerable effect on the Finnish and international metal scenes. Their music incorporates doom, gothic, and post-rock elements, and their live performances are noted for their dramatic and passionate intensity.
Swallow The Sun has released an official music video for their song ‘This House Has No Home,’ off their album ‘Moonflowers.’ Vesa Ranta and Petri Marttinen of Kaira Films shot, directed, and edited the video.
The song explores life and death with Mikko Kotamaki’s deep vocal lines and Juha Raivio’s exquisite guitar work. The video captures the band’s distinct sound and aesthetic, which combines melancholy and violence.
Swallow the Sun fans can now see the official music video for ‘This House Has No Home,’ and keep an eye out for forthcoming tour dates.
Swallow the Sun will perform a concert on February 26 in Bogotá, Colombia. Swallow the Sun is recognized for its dramatic and passionate live performances, so this will be a highly anticipated event for fans in Colombia. If you are into doom metal and happen to be in Bogotá on February 26, be sure to attend this exciting spectacle.