Swallow The Sun – When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light

To indicate Swallow The Sun as one of the reference points of melodic death doom is almost euphemistic and for this reason every release of the Finnish band brings with it a certain expectation from the numerous fans. The fact that I personally consider the debut The Morning Never Came the highest moment is indicative of what are the nuances I prefer in the sound of the award-winning company Raivio / Kotamäki, even if the entire discography is qualitatively difficult to match by the vast majority of those who are dedicated to the genre. Having said that, one can’t help but notice that the Swallow The Sun of When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light are quite different from those of the beginning of the century, which is quite normal and in some ways desirable, although the evocative and dramatic power of songs like Out Of This Gloomy Light are now a memory. This is because the band has now reached a well-established style, with more melancholic and suffused tones highlighted also by Kotamäki’s predominant use of clean vocals, and it is not unlikely that Raivio’s reaction to the loss of his beloved Aleah has translated in the long run into a writing direction more introspective than angry. Even the kaleidoscopic changes of rhythms and moods of Emerald Forest And The Blackbird are less, while the legacy of the previous Songs From The North I, II & III is a kind of ideal fusion of the melodic moods of the first cd with the acoustic ones of the second, ending up leaving out all or almost all the extreme pulsions of the third. The fifty minutes of When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light are impeccable, persuasive and enveloping, but one feels the lack of that emotional lash that has always characterized the works of Swallow The Sun, leaving the listener with a series of quite catchy songs and sometimes with sublime melodies such as The Crimson Crown and Stone Wings, demonstrating a superior class that cannot be questioned by a work slightly below the usual standards.

2019 – Century Media Records