REVIEW: Swallow The Sun – When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light


Swallow The Sun, one of Finland’s finest melodic doom metal acts release their new album “When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light” on 25 January 2019. The album is fueled by personal loss. The band’s seventh album is directly informed by the loss of life partner and singer/songwriter Aleah Starbridge.


Shadow indirectly means of a presence of light, without it it would be complete darkness, perhaps that juxtaposition by itself, is also why the album has both moments. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard to swallow, it’s dark, but the atmosphere can go from both hauntingly beautiful, even hopeful, to the darkest shade of melancholy. “When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light” is a very emotional album that offers overwhelming and immersive melodies.

The album starts with its title track and it opens with a slow dark smothering riff combined with melancholic strings, progressing into acoustic guitars intertwining with Mikko Kotamäki‘s beautiful clean vocals. The intro of the song straight away grabs you and doesn’t shake you off. “The Crimson Crown” follows the same trend. It starts with an atmospheric intro that is inspired by nature, it has a feeling of lonesomeness in there, and can immediately give evoke shivers on you. The song progresses beautifully, with outstanding acoustic moments and orchestrations. “Firelights“, to me, is a very classic Swallow The Sun song, it has catchy guitar melodies, but those crushing riffs that you would expect from a doom metal album. “Upon The Water” opens a bit lighter than the rest of the album, and then flows into an almost progressive rock style. “Upon The Water” is perhaps the most melodic track on the album, with beautiful chord progressions, and Kotamäki’s warm, and sometimes deep vocals. These songs highlight how emotionally rich music can be combined with very heavy music with solely the purpose of immersing the listener into the atmosphere of the album. “Stone Wings” has a bit of a different vibe to it, the song is far more serious, and perhaps an introduction to the more ambient sections of the album, in “Clouds On Your Side” and “Here On The Black Earth”. The album closes with “Never Left”, is perhaps the highlight on the album for me. Even though “Never Left” is still incredibly dark, it has a sense of hopefulness to it. It leaves you with a heavy feeling, but isn’t that what you want from a closing track?

Overall all the songs carry the same dark emotions, the songs are carried by the use of strings and heavy riffage, the ambiance makes them melodic. Swallow The Sun once again those beautiful soundscapes that we are all secretly in love with. The most incredible elements in this album definitely are the weeping sound of the strings, the haunting piano, chilling chord progressions, and Mikko Kotamäki‘s often vulnerable vocals.

“When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light” summarized in one word: Ineffable.

Mikko Kotamäki – Vocals
Matti Honkonen – Bass
Juuso Raatikainen – Drums
Jaani Peuhu – Keys & Vocals
Juho Räihä – Guitar
Juha Raivio – Guitar & Keys


1. When a Shadow Is Forced Into The Light
2. The Crimson Crown
3. Firelights
4. Upon the Water
5. Stone Wings
6. Clouds on Your Side
7. Here on the Black Earth
8. Never Left

Century Media Records