Music Review-Swallow The Sun-Emerald Forest and the Blackbird


1. Emerald Forest and the Blackbird
2. This Cut is the Deepest
3. Hate, Lead the Way
4. Cathedral Walls (feat. Anette Olzon)
5. Hearts Wide Shut
6. Silent Towers
7. Labyrinth of London – Horror Part V
8. Of Death and Corruption
9. April 14th
10. Night Will Forgive Us

Review-The latest release by Swallow the Sun, if anything else it is ambitious and tries to mix melodic and doom metal in some weird hybrid that on certain songs on this record it works very well, and on other tracks it does not have the same result. It starts off in this little gothic opening with a guy doing spoken word and then out of the blue comes this death metal sludge doom sound that just really felt out of place and took a few minutes to get used to. And along the way, the music just changes yet again into this little acoustic number that really felt more out of place then the other two changes in the song. It baffles me why this band would want to start off with a cluster fuck of a song and ask fans to follow the rest of the music when the first song gives them really no reason to. The next song sounds like it was inspired by The Wall by Pink Floyd. It is just a calm vocal delivery over almost an acoustic guitar that leads to Hate, Lead the Way that is more of the death metal screams that really was a very cool song that showcases what fans of Swallow The Sun are going to be wanting to here on this cd. Though, the song is very catchy and could be considered almost mainstream. This leads to Cathedral Walls the duet with ex Nightwish singer Annette Olzon, for people who miss Tarja and never gave the woman a fair shot, needs to hear this song, the woman can deliver and she really makes this song very much a favorite on this cd. It is such a slow song that most metal fans may not embrace this song fully, but towards the middle we get the growls of death metal which again sort of took away from the beauty of the song, but I did think Annette really delivered on this song nonetheless.

I think this cd with multiple listens could make people appreciate it more, but for the two times I listened to it, I found this cd while much of it felt focused and very solid in certain parts, as a whole it was a mixed bag. Swallow the Sun are a great band of talented players and an amazing lead singer, but this cd seems like a huge gamble and you can tell by the inconsistency of this cd that the band were not fully sure if this was the right gamble or move at this part of their career. This is a cd that just bounces back and forth between genres and styles that should never be incorporated at the same time in songs. But, I think this cd may be the litmus paper to better ideas in cds future. While Plague of Butterflies did feel like a ballet and was considered the band’s biggest risk and departure, I will go on record this cd is more of the same of a band that is daring and trying to change its sound. The cd is not a total fail, and I would recommend most of it. I know this is a concept album about a father burying his only child, but if you wanted to go this route why even incorporate the death metal growls? Mikko is an awesome vocalist, I just wish he would stick to one genre or another per song, because the vocal change ups just get irritating after a while and you almost expect each song to have them. Again, this is a decent release and most fans may get into it, but my advice is patience, it will take more than one listen to get into it.

6.5 out of 10