The discovery of a new band is always exciting. Will it be something you’ve heard countless times? An experience that leaves a bad taste in your mouth? Or is it a treat from which you cannot stop consuming? I wanted to take a trip back in time to reminisce about bands/albums that not only introduced me to heavy music, but kept me coming back for more…
From The Archive: Swallow The Sun – The Morning Never Came
Around the same time that I found out about Ikuinen Kaamos, I soon discovered another band that featured similar lyrical themes based around death, loss, despair and grief while also doing an amazing job of conveying them with a doom/death metal approach. And as quickly as I latched unto Ikuinen Kaamos, it was no different with Swallow The Sun, most notably, their debut 2003 full-length album, The Morning Never Came…
Haling from Finland, this sextet bursted into the metal scene with what I believe to be an amazing debut album. Not only does it highlight the bands talents, but given it follows the course of doom metal, the material is dark, but it is by no stretch of the imagination dull. The Morning Never Came is an atmospheric album with plenty of slow and brooding sections, but is also layered with moments of harshness that further expands their sound as well as the tone their expressing.
Speaking of atmosphere, they do an amazing job of setting it up. Take the first track, “Through Her Silvery Body”, which starts with the soft and fragile sounds of the piano gently leading the listener in making them feel at ease, but at the same time you know something’s amidst. Then it happens, the low burst of droning cords and slides from the guitars, the deep pounding and high cymbal crashes of the drums, it’s sound completely enveloping all that was calm before it and showing no signs of letting up. This is what the album is all about and it’s executed perfectly.
By taking the four tracks from their demo and interspersing them with new tunes, Swallow The Sun manage to not only breathe new life into their older tracks (“Through Her Silvery Body”, “Out Of This Gloomy Night”, “Swallow” and “Under The Waves”), but also give listeners the chance to hear these impressive songs in case they never heard the demo. “Through Her Silvery Body” and “Out Of This Gloomy Night” are impressive and definitely among the best songs they have written and it would be a shame to leave them out. Other powerful tracks include “Swallow” and “Silence of the Womb”, which bring the beautifully haunting guitar melodies from both Juha Raivio and Markus Jämsen to the forefront and really sets the depressing and bleak tone of the album. “Silence of the Womb” includes some clean singing which suits the track perfectly along with a cleaner guitar sound playing around as a mood-creator.
The vocals delivered from Mikko Kotamäki are deep and guttural, although there are nicely written clean vocals in a few songs, and other times they even delve into more mid-ranged and even higher, pain-filled screams. The variety of vocal range is a nice touch and also helps with them not sounding to monotonous, however certain songs do fall victim to that musically, offering long passages of synthesized sounds that end up more irritating then soothing. But it’s a rare occurrence, and nothing that will take away from the album itself.
As for the production and instrumentation, both are top notch. All the band members can be heard, nothing seems to outweigh anything else, as this sometimes is the case for a lot of doom bands, where the keyboards will be too upfront, the guitars too loud or the vocals to low, even for doom metal standards. Overall though, for a debut album the production was well handled. Now, they are by no means the greatest doom metal band, but they are a worthy notch in it’s belt. If you dig beautiful, powerful and melancholic metal music, then Swallow The Sun are a band worth checking out. They have three other full-lengths and they’re all up to par with The Morning Never Came, so if you find yourself enjoying this album, the others will not disappoint.
Swallow The Sun – “Deadly Nightshade”