We’ve reached number 4 in my Top 20 rock/metal albums of 2012 countdown. If you have missed any of my previous posts, links to these can be found at the bottom of this post – please have a read and feel free to tell me if you agree or disagree with my choices!

So, down to business. At number 4, I give you

STS1:Swallow The Sun
‘Emerald Forest And The Blackbird’
Spinefarm Records

In my humble opinion, Swallow The Sun are their country’s finest musical export. And when that country is Finland, where every other band seems to be a highly accomplished metal band of some description, this is the highest accolade I could think to bestow on the band.

Led by the highly talented guitarist and song writer, Juha Raivio, Swallow The Sun have released album after album of a consistently high standard, with nothing in their back catalogue failing to impress. And here we are with their fifth album, ‘Emerald Forest And The Blackbird’ and they have delivered arguably their best material to date.


The self-monikered purveyors of ‘gloom, beauty and despair’ have always followed a crushingly heavy melodic doom metal route but, with each release, have offered listeners something different. With ‘Plague Of Butterflies’ for example, it was a gargantuan and theatrical 35-minute central piece and with ‘New Moon’, there was the introduction of clean vocals to any degree from vocalist Mikko Kotamaki.

On ‘Emerald Forest And The Blackbird’, Swallow The Sun remain faithful to their ‘gloom,beauty and despair’ tagline but for the first time offer acoustic guitars and occasional dalliances with black metal and progressive influences. There’s even a greater diversity within the vocal delivery, with Mikko offering everything from hushed spoken word passages to high-pitched screams via his trade mark deep growls. Add to all this their trademark crushingly heavy riffs, sublime, heartbreaking melodies and a guest appearance on ‘Cathedral Walls’ by ex-Nightwish singer Anette Olzon and this album is nothing short of remarkable.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHyG1XwopxM&w=420&h=315]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRp9xY-ADOw&w=420&h=315]

If you’ve missed any of my previous posts, they can be found here:

Day 16 (progressive metal)
Day 15 (prog rock)
Day 14 (post black metal)
Day 13 (prog rock)
Day 12 (power metal)
Day 11 (progressive metal)
Day 10 (progressive rock)
Day 9 (modern extreme metal)
Day 8 (UK thrash metal/NWOBHM)
Day 7 (Norwegian progressive black metal)
Day 6 (Prog Rock/Metal)
Day 5 (Melodic Hard Rock)
Day 4 (Symphonic Folk black metal)
Day 3 (Modern Death/Thrash Metal)
Day 2 (Melodic Prog Metal)
Day 1 (Dark/Doom Metal)


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