I know I have said it before, and I do not mind saying it again (and again (and again (and again))), but doom metal is one of the most interesting heavy metal subgenres. Just because the focus is on playing slow music, it does not mean that all doom metal is boring.
Far from it.
Just take the Finnish doom masters Swallow The Sun's latest effort Emerald Forest and the Blackbird, which was released in the beginning of this year. As is traditional in doom metal, the album is characterized by an emphasis on the melancholic, and the tempos are generally heavy without the music every becoming too slow. While some doom bands opt for a minimalistic approach, Swallow The Sun have gone for lush textures and a general multi-facettedness on this album. Thus, the traditional doom metal riffs are accompanied by atmospheric keyboards, female vocals, clean guitars, strings, symphonic effects and whatnot, and I do not think it would be incorrect to describe the music on this album as a different type of epic doom metal.
The heavy and doom-laden sections are considerably melodic and harmonic – and very compelling. Understanding the dynamics of mellow and heay, Swallow The Sun's composition juxtapose these heavy doom metal sections with soft, but dark, melodic, and often melodic, passages. Moreover, the Finnish doom act import elements from other metal genres, such as brutal death metal growls, metalcore screams (and this actually works surprisingly well) and, as heard in, 'Hate, Lead the Way', melodic black metal. There is also an overall gothic feel to the album, which at times makes me think of The Gathering's Mandylion and at other times of post-Draconian Times Paradise Lost.
More on the melodic side of things, Swallow The Sun's Emerald Forest and the Blackbird might not appeal to those who like their doom metal totally bleak, but it definitely captures the melancholy of doom metal spot on, and if you like darkly lush and sorrowfully epic doom metal with a progressive touch, then this is an album you must not miss out on.
1. Emerald Forest and the Blackbird
2. This Cut Is the Deepest
3. Hate, Lead the Way
4. Cathedral Walls
5. Hearts Wide Shut
6. Silent Towers
7. Labyrinth of London (Horror Pt. IV)
8. Of Death and Corruption
9. April 14th
10. Night Will Forgive Us