Release Date: Nov 13, 2015
Record label: Century Media
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal, Doom Metal, Death Metal, Scandinavian Metal, Goth Metal
Finland's Swallow the Sun are well known among extreme music fans for their uncompromising musical vision and ambition. Songs from the North I, II & III, a two-and-a-half-hour triple album of all new material (21 songs), offers proof. Each disc is a separate album, though all were conceived, written, and recorded as a single project with the band exploring different aspects of its sound.
If there is one flaw with the Finnish doom metal band Swallow the Sun‘s 2012 opus Emerald Forest and the Blackbird, it derives somewhat from the word “opus” itself. At a portentous 67 minutes, the album is a lengthy journey into the iciest gales of winter, with suite-like pieces (the title track) and ominous poetry readings (“Labyrinth of London”, which quotes William Blake) forming a captivating sonic landscape. In his review of the LP, Angry Metal Guy argues that Emerald Forest has “enjoyable parts, [but] too much whole,” writing, “Ultimately Emerald Forest and the Black Bird is a good record that just gets weighed down under a band’s inability to edit itself.
Review Summary: Lost and catatonicIf there was to be an award for the most ambitious offering of the year, there is little doubt that Songs From the North would be a finalist. It is, after all, a triple LP that encompasses a sizeable breadth of melancholic tunes. It is forgivable to be a bit apprehensive about an album that aims to do three totally different things while making each piece good enough to be befitting of the decision to smash them together and release it all at once, but given the talent Swallow the Sun possess there is certainly the ability present to pull it off.