Swallow The Sun
Emerald Forest and the Blackbird
Having a consistent line-up (only the drummer changed in 2009) since the beginning of the 00s when they were formed… these Finnish metalers are more than comprehended on what they wanna do and offer through their music. The evolution is a part of a healthy music band… so Swallow The Sun… couldn’t be left behind… and stay on shallow waters delivering the same things again and again.
“Emerald Forest and the Blackbird” is a “difficult” album… it exhales darkness, coldness, despair, depression, melancholy… all those abysmal gloomy moods that humans hide deep inside their souls. The songs, here, need several listens so as to get their inner, distinctive mood that’s why you must pay attention to them and take the time to relish the entire… sorrowful, shadowy, mournful concept. The mellower music parts have an Anathema influence/feeling and are showing the music progression they have achieved with every new album. Still the melodic doom/death metal music prevails all over the album and it’s harmoniously blending with the moody, acoustic and atmospheric musical themes…
The video for “Cathedral Walls” (feat. Anette Olzon) may not be very representative of the whole album but it’s an excellent sample of the variation between tunes and feelings that Swallow The Sun have succeeded to deliver in “Emerald Forest and the Blackbird”. It’s hard to separate any songs here for they all have something different to give… but the stunning homonymous opener (the charming vocalist, Aleah Stanbridge, is singing on this one and on “Labyrinth of London (Horror Pt. IV)” as well) will amaze you right from the very start. The production is also superb, as the album was recorded at Drumforest Studios and Sonic Pump by Mikko Karmila (Norther, Nightwish, Sentenced, Amorphis, Stratovarius, Children Of Bodom etc.), it was mixed at Yellow House Studio by Hiili Hiilesmaa (Apocalytica, HIM, Moonspell, The 69 Eyes etc.) and it was mastered at Finnvox Studios by Mika Jussila (Sonata Arctica, Nightwish, Finntroll, HIM, Moonsorrow etc.).
In a world where everything moves in the speed of light… where fast food, fast/easy music, fast way of living is a must… releasing albums like this one is a bit of a risk… for it differs like the spark in the dark. If you devote your time listening to this album for more than 5 times… you will discover a dim, esoteric, melancholic & beautiful album. “Emerald Forest and the Blackbird” is the best album of the band to date. It may be lacking originality and, at the same time, it owes lots to bands like My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost, Anathema and so on... but that doesn't mean that won't satisfy most fans of the genre.