Swallow The Sun - Hope (2007)




Hope. We find it in many places. It is always up to the beholder to choose their own source. From churches to TV, books to movies. Hope can come from anywhere. Even a metal record.

Right from the onset, the title track "Hope," Swallow The Sun give you a taste of the sonic onslaught that will follow. Well constructed, intertwined guitars lead you into the fray, building up into a thunderous chorus. Vocals touch on the extremes, from soft, melodic crooning, into the growls and screams that make your hair stand straight. You would never think that one man delivers both ends of the spectrum.

As the album progresses, the bands strengths come to the fore. The rhythm section lays down the framework for it all, allowing the songs to build over each pending cymbal crash. The bass lines, ever present, provide the constant flow of one section to the next. But the unsung hero to this album, from track to track, is the powerful, if not eerie, presence of the keyboard. It is never more evident than in the waning moments of "These Hours Of Despair." Haunting, ghostly tones.

The meat of the album lies in tracks 3 and 4, a back-to-back exhibition of what many bands in the doom/death genre strive for. "The Justice Of Suffering" is equally beautiful as it is frightening. A well executed chorus, powerfully sung, is sandwiched between the dark, heavy verses. Beauty and the beast, all in one song. The follow-up, "Don't Fall Asleep," could be delivered as a dark lullaby at times, imploring the listener 'Don't fall asleep/to the breathing of the walls."Then, seconds later, you are jolted back to life with a bruising refrain, all six pieces of the band locking together in a period of head-banging glory.

Things slow down a notch for the aptly named "Too Cold For Tears," but not for long. It is merely a chance to catch your breath before "The Empty Skies," which will shake the breath from you with a trio of vocal stylings, from clean singing to growls, and on the black metal rasp. The song structure is to be celebrated, as each track flows seamlessly into the next, continuing the story. "No Light, No Hope" almost seems like a three minute addendum to 'The Empty Skies", before giving way to the climax.

"Doomed To Walk The Earth," the closing track, reinforces everything you came to love in the prior seven. It begins to break down, trailing off, only to come back in for one final outburst. Guitar, bass, drums and keyboard take you on one last journey, before ending on a somber, quiet guitar riff.

There is simply no dead air, no filler to be had on this album. With each passing track, the band gives you more of what you wanted. The enchanting melodies, the flip-of-the-switch periods of chugging excellence. It is all here, delivered at a constant, deliberate tempo. You won't find any blazing solos here, nor will you care. You will find everything you need in an eight track, hour long, epic masterpiece.

You might even find hope.

9.5/10

Official Site - http://www.swallowthesun.net/
Myspace - http://www.myspace.com/swallowthesundoom