Swallow the Sun

The Morning Never Came

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Hailed as the veritable second coming by some doom enthusiasts, Finland sextet Swallow the Sun certainly made an impressive and immediate impact on a relatively dormant scene with their excellent 2005 debut Morning Never Came. Its dark and foreboding music drawn judiciously from pre-established elder death/doom statesmen such as My Dying Bride and Katatonia, the album's early standouts "Deadly Nightshade," "Out of this Gloomy Light," and "Swallow (Horror Pt. 1)" display a maturity that most new bands can only dream of. And with their inventive arrangements of twin guitar riffs and harmonies, synth backdrops and solo piano passages, and patient but insistent drumming, they show more than enough variety to keep the listener riveted no matter how slothful the pace and deliberate their unfolding. Vocalist Mikko Kotamäki rarely strays from his simple but effective death shrieks throughout, but proves himself perfectly capable of pulling off clean baritones and guttural chants when he chooses to on additional highlights like "Silence of the Womb" and the masterfully mournful "Hold This Woe." Really, Swallow the Sun never strikes out once in the space of these nine superlative songs (completed by the gut-wrenching beauty and despair of "Under the Waves" and the irresistibly morbid and colossal girth of book-ending epics "Through Her Silvery Body" and the title track), finally arriving at the closing, U.S.-release-only rendition of Candlemass' timeless doom anthem "Solitude" with the confident air of ones seeking simply to pay tribute -- not begging, cap in hand, for a symbolic blessing from the masters. Sure: outright canonization of Swallow the Sun may be just a tad premature at this juncture; but there's little doubt that Morning Never Came bodes extremely well for not only the band's imminent future, but for that of the doom genre itself.

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