Album Review: Swallow The Sun – When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light (Century Media Records)

Finnish melancholy death-doom metal masters Swallow the Sun will release their new album ‘When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light”’ on January 25th 2019. Only one month earlier, on December 21st, they released a standalone 14-minutes epic single track called ‘Lumina Aurea’, as 12” EP vinyl version. You can read our review of that track here.

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Fueled by personal loss (the album title has its origins in Trees of Eternity’s “Broken Mirror”) and powered by the will to continue, When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light showcases the group’s ability to maintain its signature sound while expanding upon horizons and diving deeper into the crevasse of doom-death metal.

Even though the single and the album are conceptually connected, they are musically completely different.

While ‘Lumina Aurea’ – featuring Wardruna’s Einar Selvik and The Foreshadowing’s Marco I. Benevento – marks the band’s darkest and most sinister piece of music the band has ever released, ‘When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light’ follows a more positive approach and continues in the vein of previous albums – first-rate death-doom in the typical style of Swallow the Sun.

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There’s a lot emphasis throughout When a Shadow is Forced into the Light on epic soundscapes that take the listener on a doom/death journey. One based in memorable melodies, heavy passages and uplifting rhythm.

It doesn’t start off with much in the way of positivity as the title track is a sombre mix of melancholy and chunkiness. However as the album develops this become brighter and much more palatable. Swallow the Sun can create pretty music and The Crimson Crown is an early example of the soulful sounds that the band create seemingly with ease.

Don’t think for a second though that when Swallow the Sun want to be heavy, this is something they struggle with. Far from it as the latter part of Firelights sees the tempo become intense, the drumming and guitars spitting fire and the vocals delving into screeching departments for inspiration.

Upon the Water also shows this side of the band off (you can read our single review of the track here). The chunky doom riffs and monotone rhythm comforts and startles in equal measure.

The variety on offer across this eight track album is astonishing and every time you think you’ve heard the best the album has to offer, Swallow the Sun surprise again. The latter part of the album has some of the strongest tracks with Stone Wings inspiring, Here on the Black Earth delving deep into a sombre pit of wallowing before Never Left ends things on a warming note.


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Swallow the Sun – When a Shadow is Forced into the Light Full Track Listing:

1. When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light
2. The Crimson Crown
3. Firelights
4. Upon The Water
5. Stone Wings
6. Clouds On Your Side
7. Here On The Black Earth
8. Never Left

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The album will be available via all major retail and digital providers upon release.

Swallow The Sun - When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light (Century Media Records)
  • The Final Score - 8.5/10
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