REVIEW: Swallow The Sun – “Moonflowers”

by Carina Lawrence / Dark Art Conspiracy

Finnish death-doom metal pioneers, Swallow The Sun return from the darkest crevices with their eighth album ‘Moonflowers’. The new offering is the follow-up to their chart-topping Finnish Grammy-nominated 2019 album ‘When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light’. ‘Moonflowers’ remarkably manages to turn up the emotional heaviness expected from the quintet. The album’s artwork added to this grim sentiment as guitarist and primary songwriter Juha Raivio created it using dried up flowers he collected along with his blood to paint the moon, making the image both tragic and elegant, much like their music.

The opener ‘Moonflowers Bloom In Misery’ haunts you with its eerie atmosphere paired with charming vocals from Mikko and sombre lyrics. The sorrow and gloom build as clean vocals replace fierce growls and crushing instruments, alternating between these transitions. It marks a striking start that represents their sound perfectly and immediately captivates you to keep listening.

Offering up a heavier sound from the offset ‘Enemy’ starts with aggressive, powerful vocals interwoven with clean alluring vocals and heavy dramatic gloomy and sonic instrumental backdrops, which are seductive and memorable. ‘Woven Into Sorrow’ features slow deep vocals to entice you from the start with powerful harsh vocals and hefty instruments creeping in to see the track out in a raging gloom triumph. The charging ‘Keep Your Heart Safe From Me’ features evocative vocals and resonance throughout. Like their other offerings, this is both devastating and beautiful in both sound and lyrical context.

The graceful ‘All Hallows’ Grieve’ features Cammie Gilbert from the progressive metal band, Oceans Of Slumber (a band that also offers an enriching emotive journey). Her beautiful signature vocals work perfectly with the band’s melancholic sound, and her voice paired with Mikko’s is harmonious.

The ambient ‘The Void’ is the most uplifting sound musically aided by only clean vocals. ‘The Fight Of Your Life’ follows nicely with a soft tuneful guitar intro that opens the song to set a serene setting with pleasing clean vocals. Still, it soon progresses from an acoustic stripped back song to heavier instruments and screamed vocals which it transitions between effortlessly as they do so well.

The final blow of despair, ‘This House Has No Name’ is one of the bleakest and substantial offerings. It has the most death metal elements seen so far, amidst their usual lofty doom ridden cacophony and manages to pack all their magnificent characteristics into a finely crafted, mesmerising journey.

‘Moonflowers’ lures you in with the beauty of sorrow and pain wrapped in murky, consuming and tender soundscapes, offering an immersive, emotionally heavy and masterful doom death metal album. Melancholy has never sounded better as it takes you on a deep and harsh thought-provoking dive into all manners of misery that is cathartic and excellently executed.

“Moonflowers” is released via Century Media Records on 19/11/21.

Check out the video for ‘Enemy’ below:


Juha Raivio – guitars
Matti Honkonen – bass
Mikko Kotamäki – vocals
Juuso Raatikainen – drums
Juho Räihä – guitars


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