Swallow the Sun - _Ghosts of Loss_
(Firebox, 2005)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8.5 out of 10)
_Ghosts of Loss_ is the follow-up to these Finns' very well received debut _The Morning Never Came_, and sees Swallow the Sun having to deal with the added responsibility of living up to considerable expectations. In order to gauge the level of anticipation for this album, suffice to say that _Forgive Her..._, the single that preceded the full-length _Ghosts of Loss_, entered the Finnish singles chart in fourth position. Their label, Firebox, claim it is the first time a doom metal release ever entered their national charts, and I am quite inclined to believe them -- and doom metal this is, not the watered down rock version that countrymates such as Sentenced are famous for. But neither is this part of the more extreme funeral doom movement that Finland is well known for; to be more precise, Swallow the Sun play a form of melodic, sometimes bombastic doom/death metal.

While their music is quite guitar based, keyboards play a prominent role as well, adding an extra layer of atmosphere rather than leading the music, and leaving the focus on heavy guitars and thick growls alternating with occasional clean vocals. Throughout the album, the lengthy song structures help provide variety and character, with the mood clearly rooted in doom metal despite the melodic arrangements. With no great changes in style apparent, it follows that the measure of this album's success lies in the band's ability to make a better record using a very similar recipe -- and the likes of "Through Her Silvery Body" and "Hold This Woe" from their debut are not exactly easy to eclipse. On the other hand, in my opinion they didn't necessarily have to surpass the very best tracks from their debut; I would have already been pleased if they could match them for a greater part of the album.

It shouldn't take you more than a few minutes of opener "Giant" to realize that StS have at least tried hard to create a worthy successor to their highly promising debut. Sorrowful, tranquil sections intermingle with crushing, bombastic parts to leave one thing perfectly clear: rather than throwing a number of potentially disruptive new elements into the mix, Swallow the Sun have looked to perfect their proven sound. "Fragile" is where StS have their finest moment on _Ghosts of Loss_, with a large number of other very accomplished passages ensuring the album remains very consistent. I would go as far as to say it is a more consistent album than its predecessor, as it should be, but I would have liked to find more of the truly outstanding moments they have already proven themselves well capable of creating. Swallow the Sun nevertheless show they are a more experienced band now, able to put together track after track of high quality doom metal. _Ghosts of Loss_ is one of the highlights of the year in its genre; yet I still think they can do even better in the future.

Contact: http://www.swallowthesun.net

(article published 2/9/2005)

2/24/2007 N Shahpazov 8 Swallow the Sun - Hope
12/13/2003 P Azevedo 8.5 Swallow the Sun - The Morning Never Came
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