(9/10) Jyväskylä is a city in the Mid-South of Finland. But even though it's not a metropolis the city has a vital music scene. The Lutakko is a venue where several national and international acts stop for a show. And there is a smaller record shop downtown, that carries a well chosen range and a good selection of metal records.
But Jyväsklä is also the hometown of Swallow The Sun. The guys are around already since many years and released pretty good stuff. But their newest album is so far the band's masterpiece. Actually "Songs from the North" isn't just an album. It's an 21 songs including embracive epos that is split into 3 CD's or 5 LP's.
This is a brave decision of the Finnish six-piece. In a time when everything gets faster and the timespan of attention is shrinking it's exciting to confront the crowd with the total opposite.
You get around two and a half hours of dark Finnish metal that fits atmospherewise excellent into the long dark Finnish winter.
"Songs from the North" captures all the different shades of this period of the year in an excellent way. The first part of this triple release represents the band in the most commonly known way. Slow death doom dominates the scene. The riffs are deep and melancholic, supported by the growls of Mikko Kotamäki that are full of despair.
The second disc is slightly different. It is still 100% Swallow The Sun, but the songs are kept mostly acoustic or half acoustic. "The Womb of Winter" is based on a sad piano motive, before the acoustic "The Heart of a Cold Winterland" opens the next musical door. Swallow The Sun stays true to themselves by revealing a new shade of their sound.
Part III can be almost seen as s counterpart to the previous songs. The band enters the world of funeral doom - in a way that is quite impressive. Long tracks, performed and arranged in slow-mo are the main element of this disc. Harsh and rude vocals are enforcing this depressive and hopeless sphere of rage and sadness.
"Songs of the North" is a masterpiece in several aspects. The music is just outstanding. This album contains no fillers. And the fact that the guys put all this great songs on one release is something that asks for respect too. Many other bands would have gone for the commercial success and release three different records. Not the guys from Jyväskyla. This triple album is beyond commercial intentions. This album is for the fans, something that can't be honoured enough. And this is what will make "Songs from the North" to a big win. You have to have this musical collage of the North. It's one of the best records this year.
- With You Came the Whole of the World's Tears
- 10 Silver Bullets
- Rooms and Shawdows
- Heartstrings Shattering
- The Memory of Light
- Lost & Catatonic
- From Happiness to Dust
- The Womb Winter
- The Heart of a Cold White Land
- Pray for the Winds to Come
- Songs from the North
- 66,50"N, 28,40'E
- Autumn Fire
- Before the Summer Dies
- The Gathering of Black Moths
- 7 Hours Late
- Empires of Loneliness
- Abandoned by the Light
- The Cloud Prepare for Battle
Label: Century Media
Genre: Doom Death Metal
Release Date EU: November 13th, 2015