A Swarm of the Sun craft a moody post-rock opus full of deep melancholia and hope with their new full-length album, The Woods.
Following 2015’s The Rifts, The Woods sees the Swedish act diving deeper into the darker, more brooding aspects of their sound that were only briefly touched upon by its predecessor. The result is three sprawling 13-minute compositions full of cinematic grandeur and slow-burning instrumentation. The band’s more metallic tendencies are dialed back considerably in favor of atmospheric tension and massive washes of gorgeously bleak sound. This more patient, restrained approach, and added emphasis on mood and tone, makes for a consistently engaging experience that fans of the genre look for.
The album opens on a dreary note with the stunning and somber “Blackout”. Steady piano ballads march among humming organ soundscapes, droning violas, and thick fogs of guitar-generated gloom as the song transitions into towering, apocalyptic doom. The instrumentation gradually increases in intensity as it reaches its climax, eventually becoming a wall of powerful sound populated by forceful gusts of darkened, textural guitars and insurmountable atmospheric weight.
“The Woods” follows next and begins with the low drone of a pipe organ that reverberates throughout the first half of the track as other sections of instrumentation are layered upon each other. Fluttering guitars and hovering, mist-like ambiance intertwine with one another as vocalist Jakob Beglund croons softly and steadily. After about five minutes the song bleeds into a section of lugubrious sludge that is accented by church-like organ melodies. Soon the song picks up the pace and eventually stampedes toward the finish in a rush of emotive, cataclysmic post-metal.
Closing track “An Heir to the Throne” crafts long stretches of saddened, yet melodic guitar lines that ensnare listeners with their hypnotic repetition. Cold, ethereal drones hum and percussion thunders in the foreground as Beglund spearheads the track with his soft, drifting vocals. Much like the tracks that preceded it, the song slowly builds into larger-than-life crescendos of whirling melodies and formidable heaviness. But the climax here is far less dreary than its predecessors and seems to take on a more triumphant tone. The end of the record seems to say that despite all of the surrounding darkness there is still a light at the end of the tunnel.
Release Date: January 11, 2019
Label: Version Studio Records
Favorite Track: “The Woods”
For Fans Of: Mono and This Will Destroy You