Swallow the Sun Emerald Forest and the Blackbird

Swallow the SunEmerald Forest and the Blackbird
Since their inception in 2000, Swallow the Sun have played a pivotal role in defining the specific sound associated with Finnish death and doom. The combination of a languorous, almost whimsical take on the traditionally lugubrious doom genre, combined with a muscular, throaty, yet precise take on death metal, has been defined by Swallow The Sun and several of their peers, including Amorphis. What sets Emerald Forest and the Blackbird apart from their earlier releases is an increased range of influences, as on this record they incorporate longer, delicate, atmospheric passages and harsh, screeching vocals that give the more extreme moments a positively blackened feel. The album also features performances from two female guest vocalists (Annette Olzon of Nightwish and Aleah of Trees of Eternity), whose emotive, supple vocals lend the record a more sumptuous, gothic feel. Emerald Forest and the Blackbird is far and away Swallow the Sun's most theatrical release, which is especially evident on huge, sweeping tracks like "Labyrinth of London" and "Night Will Forgive Us." While they have taken a risk branching out into a much more varied and complex aesthetic, aside from a few moments that come across as overwrought, their gamble is successful. (Spinefarm)