Spinefarm Records: 2007
You’d think Funeral Doom and Death/Doom are genres that are so far removed from light popular music that nobody’d even get the idea of trying to do a more accessible, “light” version of them. Well, somebody would try that, and they call themselves Swallow The Sun. On their two first full-lengths (this is their third), they’ve had their moments but never really hit the jackpot. It’s like the lighter, more easily accessible aesthetic and the My Dying Bride-esque Death/Doom leanings never really meet at the middle but sort of pass each other in the night, making the music far less than it could’ve been.
In other words, the concept sounds odd and however unlikely it might seem, the two first albums did show that it could potentially work. How ironic is it then that an album called “Hope” sees the band move just in the wrong direction? Adding some Throes Of Dawn-like Dark Metal-elements and maybe a spoonful of Opeth into the mix, Hope is lighter than its predecessors and a few notches below the two first albums in terms of quality. Hope has its moments (only a few, though), but for the most part the wannabe-Doomy stuff just ain’t heavy and crushing enough, the light melodic moments aren’t much to write home about either, and the overall result is just trivial and uninteresting, nothing more. Hope is the kind of stuff that goes in from one ear and out of the other without leaving any sort of impression at all. Well… the piano is used rather well, that much I must admit. Too bad there’s not enough of it.
So the final verdict is “fail”. Swallow The Sun seem to be stuck in a downward spiral: the second CD was a tad worse than the first, and this third is clearly their weakest one. Making a poppier version of Funeral Doom might be possible, but I’m starting to think Swallow The Sun simply haven’t got what it takes despite the promise their first CD showed. I need some Thergothon to restore the balance.