This my Swallow the Sun – New Moon review. My Swallow the Sun playlist mainly consists of debut “The Morning Never Came, and a few selected hits from the other albums. I recently wrote a review of “Ghosts of Loss”, and now I decided to revisit “New Moon” in hope of finding more good material.
Opener “These Woods Breathe Evil” personify what doesn’t work for me with Swallow the Sun’s later output. It’s a competent piece of melodic extreme metal music, but there’s very little that stands out. Mikko’s black metal rasp is skilled, but equally harmless. This is simply not material that would justify the band’s status as a premier death/doom metal band.
“Falling World” is one of their most famous song, and an inclusion on my list of top 10 Swallow the Sun songs. It’s got a focused 4/4 paced and clean vocals highly influenced by Katatonia. The chorus is pleasantly melancholic.
Competence over impact
Unfortunately, there isn’t many moments of equal quality on “New Moon”. My expectations for this music style is to get a strong dose of emotional impact. Just as I said about the opening track, the album continues down the path of competence, rather than impact. The playing and production is impeccable, and the band certainly knows their way around constructing melodies.
This, combined with Mikko Kotamäki’s similarly well rounded vocal performance, makes “New Moon” all the more frustrating. I suppose it’s really the distance to the listener in Swallow the Sun that makes me feel this way.
Not sold on the abstract lyrical concepts
Beyond the lack of aesthetic impact, I feel very little connection to the abstract lyrical concepts. Their lyrics are hollow and pretentious in comparison to death/doom greats like Slumber, Rapture and Daylight Dies, that deliver a more engaging take on the darker themes of life.
Conclusively, “New Moon” is the epitome of a decent album. Swallow the Sun are undeniably skilled musicians. However, the death/doom genre comes with a particular demand for emotional impact. I rarely get hit hard enough for this album to be a recurring part of my playlist.