Swallow The Sun - Emerald Forest And The Blackbird
The term lush barely covers the immersive soundscapes Swallow The Sun manage to conjure up and on Emerald Forest And The Blackbird, the Finnish sextet only build upon their burgeoning renown for creating vast pools of beautiful despair into which the listener will blissfully sink. Perfectly encapsulating the feelings of loss and despair, it pulls you both ways as it elicits a sense of triumph at the fantastic music whilst Mikko Kotamäki’s schizophrenic vocals toy with the mind as he flicks from gentle funereal croon to menacing dark growl as the music dictates.
But the album's greatest asset may also be its major downfall, in that the ease with which it lulls the listener means that it can quickly drift into the background; Emerald Forest And The Blackbird is not a dull record, it is just a very subtle one that requires a great deal of attention to remain prominent. Saying this, it is the most assured album Swallow The Sun have yet recorded, seeing the band spread their wings and draw more heavily on prog as they let the songs evolve and shift, flowing from soul-crushing dirges to full-blooded madness with a consummate professionalism.