Swallow The Sun – When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light

The indisputable masters of gloom, beauty & despair Swallow The Sun return with the highly anticipated full length “When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light” which is an opus inevitably filled with grief but also symbolizes a necessary healing process to emerge from the darkest depths with renewed hopes ultimately proving that love is stronger than death.

The title track is such a magnificent album opener with marvelous refined symphonic tapestries surrounding a perfectly balanced mix of tormented instrumental passages and dreamy acoustic harmonies that allow Mikko’s vocals to effortlessly shift from tranquil cleans to utterly enraged growls yet despite the endless melancholy the guitar melodies seem to glow through immensely darkened sonic waves.

The magical essence of “The Crimson Crown” is drenched in darkness as sophisticated gelid atmospheric arrangements create a stylish melodic ensemble where an intense melancholia constantly influences the poignant vocal delivery and the enchanting guitar progressions which tend to focus on softer crispy harmonies.

“Upon The Water” depicts a cold gloomy wonderland with mesmerizing guitar melodies that guide you through an introspective music journey yet fiery rhythmic blasts and charismatic ominous growls channel raw obscure moments of doom and sheer agony embellished by sumptuous atmospheric layers.

The spellbinding composition of “Stone Wings” will immediately conquer your heart and stir a surreal emotional whirlwind as melodic guitars craft a profoundly darkened & melancholic ensemble emphasized by otherworldly orchestrations and grim doom tonalities while the soothing and highly addictive chorus convey fragile luminous feelings.

With a lavish combo of symphonic & atmospheric arrangements “Never Left” feels like an ode to eternal love that leaves you feeling shattered and guitars are once again impressive naturally shifting from ethereal melodic splendor to subtle doom oriented riffage inspired by a perennial spiritual aura while Mikko’s stellar vocal performance evokes wistful feelings.

The exceptional creative force of Swallow The Sun continues to flourish as “When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light” might be their strongest release so far and it would be truly challenging to listen to the entire album without being touched by all those genuinely heart wrenching emotions perfectly expressed by the gorgeous and surprisingly widely accessible poetic melodies that become essential within the band’s signature doom/death metal realm.

Swallow The Sun – Lumina Aurea

It’s been a while since Finnish beloved doom metal masters Swallow The Sun released new music and while we wait for the next full length “When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light” in January 2019 right now the new EP “Lumina Aurea”, which includes the lengthy title track and the instrumental version of the same song, is bound to generate mixed feelings. First of all, this is not what Swallow The Sun usually compose or what fans expect but it’s an atmospheric mystical opus that emerges from the darkest depths of the human heart.

The Latin narratives and Gregorian style chants can feel like the ultimate ode to darkness carrying a mighty arcane vibe that spreads infectiously across the gelid Northern landscapes while the refined atmospheric waves and ominous orchestral arrangements can sound impossibly tormented or even simply fragile. This is what suffering sounds like, this is an open wound that will never heal. To release a unique cinematic sonic experience like “Lumina Aurea” could be considered audacious but this song definitely belongs to the band’s artistic realm of gloom, beauty and despair.

Unearth – Extinction(s)

Representing the New Wave of American Heavy Metal Unearth has built a strong legacy during the last two decades and the highly anticipated album “Extinction(s)” promises to add another successful chapter in the band’s career.

The opening track “Incinerate” has a typical metalcore framework so crunchy guitar riffs hold a crucial role generating a series of harsh grooves that also benefit from the steady roaring drumming and the massive venomous growls while gloomy melodic lead guitars lead to a more introspective momentum.

On “Dust” the rhythm is often less frenetic allowing a higher dosage of melodic guitar phrases & soloing and a general dramatic mood yet there are plenty of crushing dynamics skillfully built by super tight riffage.

In the beginning “Cultivation Of Infection” has an atmospheric approach channeling tragic feelings and such gloomy themes will recur throughout the songs with monumental melodic waves while guitar riffs can sound absolutely vicious leading to breakneck rhythmic segments.

“The Hunt Begins” often dwells within a somber realm with refined melodic guitar passages and contemplative clean vocals nevertheless pummeling drums and ruthless riffs showcase a rather aggressive instrumental approach.

“King Of The Arctic” confidently offers loads of impactful and extra heavy frantic rhythmic patterns easily amplified by the monstrous vocal delivery until the crispy guitar solo shifts the focus to a calmer melodic gloom.

“One With The Sun” diligently packs colossal furious grooves featuring technical guitar work and ravenous drumming, a punishing combo that will induce wild moshpits at shows, but later a charismatic melancholic momentum will steal the spotlight with sorrowful guitar melodies and elegant orchestration.

Undoubtedly “Extinction(s)” aims to please the faithful fanbase delivering all the expected & beloved groovy and impactful dynamics as Unearth passionately renew their allegiance to the heavy metal community and deliberately follow their powerful signature music style.  

Voivod – The Wake

For over thirty five years Canadian cosmic-metal warriors Voivod have followed a unique and often unusual music pathway leading to groundbreaking songs that shook the metal scene and now they are ready to surprise you again with the 14th studio album “The Wake”.

You feel lost in outer space when “Obsolete Beings” begins with bizarre suspenseful tones swiftly followed by a solid round of guitar riffs bearing an old school thrash influence but there is also a soothing melodic streak and soloing with evident dissonant accents.

On “The End Of Dormancy” guitars focus on calmer melodic nuances but soon will offer challenging prog metal oriented rhythmic segments following odd tempo variations and a post apocalyptic mood amplified by technical guitar soloing, consequently towards the end of the song you might start feeling a bit dizzy.

“Orb Confusion” is a mind trip featuring an engaging rhythmic core full of frantic dissonant progressions yet nothing feels forced as technical guitars march fluently well supported by sharp bass lines and precise drumming while vocals acquire a hectic theatrical delivery.

“Always Moving” might seem a ‘normal’ song due to the soothing melodic ensemble provided by crystalline guitars yet with strong prog vibes the feverish rhythmic sections offer loads of unexpected dissonant dynamics and sudden tempo variations.

“Sonic Mycelium” gives you a chance to really space out for over 12 minutes as this epic track is constantly shapeshifting blending dreamy nuances and nightmarish vibes because you are still stuck in a chaotic sonic realm. The flamboyant guitar work certainly stands out for the audacious proggy riffage following sophisticated rhythmic dynamics and adding brighter melodies to such multifaceted core that will surprise the audience once again with the lavish string arrangements in the song’s classical outro.

Far from being an average album “The Wake” represents a new refreshing and definitely intricate chapter in Voivod’s career, a cosmic journey with dystopian visions especially expressed by the ever changing sonic textures and dissonant moments.

Witherfall – A Prelude To Sorrow

Fairly new to the metal scene dark metallers Witherfall are ready to impress with the latest album “A Prelude To Sorrow”, a majestic emotional opus written about the tragic loss of the band’s drummer and friend Adam Sagan.

With a deeply darkened mood and a need for speed “We Are Nothing” delivers a series of intricate harsh progressions as guitar riffs and thunderous drumming march ardently through solemn atmospheric vibes and vocals sound particularly wild with memorable high pitch delivery. But this lengthy track offers many surprises in terms of structure and style adding heart-wrenching tonalities during an acoustic breakdown deeply amplified by genuinely melancholic guitar leads and sorrowful vocals and such sombre moment is followed by a brilliant technical prog inspired piece featuring a faster tempo and blistering guitar dynamics.

On “Moment Of Silence” abrasive guitar riffs and gloomy melodic splendor become the main focus leading to complex technical segments that follow fast borderline aggressive drums while the chorus acquires classic metal tonalities and highly dramatic vibes.

“Communion Of The Wicked” continues to deliver some strong heavy guitar driven grooves naturally amplified by massive drum blasts yet the extremely darkened aura will enhance the underlying melodic mood especially expressed by the soulful vocals, the fascinating crispy guitar soloing and the brief nostalgic acoustic moments.

“Ode To Despair” shifts the focus to minimalist acoustic soundscapes that smoothly convey fervent emotions yet there will be darker & heavier segments featuring another solid round of guitar riffs and dazzling technical soloing.

A vivid sense of melancholia sets the mood on “Vintage” where the band skillfully blends tranquil acoustic passages, fiery rhythmic sections and progressive twists resulting in another diverse sonic maze while the final part focuses on an exquisitely flamboyant guitar solo that could go on forever with its memorable shredding galore and mesmerizing melodic intensity.

Listening to “A Prelude To Sorrow” you will instantly appreciate and fall in love with the stellar musicianship and the intense passion behind such eclectic composition as Witherfall embarks on a dramatic music journey inevitably filled with grief and darkness.

At The Gates Live at House Of Blues in Chicago

Following the acclaimed release of the album “To Drink From The Night Itself”, available via Century Media Records, Swedish melodic death metal legends At The Gates are currently touring across North America and the sold out show at House Of Blues in Chicago featured a killer setlist that included some classic favorites such as “Slaughter Of The Soul” and “Blinded By Fear”!

Tribulation Live in Chicago

The atmosphere gets spooky & decadent when Swedish breakout band Tribulation takes the stage at Bottom Lounge in Chicago. Emerging from a surreal underworld and floating on stage like elegant corpses to spread their unique metal blend Tribulation celebrates the success of the latest release “Down Below” performing the songs “The Lament”, “Nightbound”, “Lady Death”, “Lacrimosa” and many more!