Swallow The Sun – 20 Years of Gloom, Beauty and Despair: Live in Helsinki (2021) [FLAC 24bit/48kHz]

Swallow The Sun – 20 Years of Gloom, Beauty and Despair: Live in Helsinki (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 01:58:22 minutes | 1,45 GB | Genre: Metal
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Century Media

2020 had been planned to celebrate the Finns’ 20th Anniversary, two decades of doom, gloom, and desperation etched in proverbial platinum. They were going to bring Nordic sorrow to their legions in Europe and North America, but in the waning winter months of last year, their plans were indefinitely put on ice due to the pandemic. “We were supposed to play anniversary shows in Europe and North America,” vocalist Mikko Kotamäki recalls. “We started our European tour in Finland in February 2020 and played 10 gigs. Everything got canceled two weeks after that. Luckily, we filmed and recorded our gig in Helsinki. Now, everyone can see it. At the time, we didn’t know the footage or recordings would be used for this purpose.” The traits that set “20 Years of Gloom Beauty and Despair Live in Helsinki” apart from almost any live album out there were the acoustic performance (with a string quartet) of “Songs from the North II” and a fan-voted setlist that featured not only some of the group’s most-performed songs (“Swallow (Horror, Part 1),” “Cathedral Walls”) to date but also a bevy of live rarities (“Empires of Loneliness,” “Plague of Butterflies,” and “Here on the Black Earth”). “I can’t wait for our fans to hear it,” grins singer Mikko Kotamäki. “We were going to spread doom and gloom over Europe and North America in the flesh, but that couldn’t be, so we’ve got the next best thing, our first-ever live album.”

It’s all about timing. Like their music, as slow as it is atmospheric, deeply anchored in their death doom roots, Swallow The Sun took their time before delivering their first live album after 20 years of playing together. The Finnish band was able to book this concert in the last few days before the first lockdown, thus taking advantage of the fervour of an audience who had come to celebrate this anniversary in real life, before they were relegated to the world of live streaming.

This lucky audience was treated to a performance divided into two parts: the first acoustic, performed with a string quartet, and the second, electric, which was much heavier. The melancholy that permeates the first set is like the vocals, more composed and fragile, but it also delivers a small note of hope, as if a little light entered the hall during Pray for the Winds to Come. That piece brings Swallow the Sun closer to bands like Anathema or Katatonia.

Naturally, the second half of the concert summons much darker forces, whose power comes largely from the saturated guitars that back up the much more guttural voice that now takes centre stage. This set consists of songs chosen by fans via a campaign run on social media. The group deploys all its energy, lives up to its doom label and plunges the audience into a world of more assertively black metal sounds (the singing goes from a deep death vibe to more black metal screams) balanced out by airy melodies (a trademark that we find in almost all the tracks from Don’t Fall Asleep to the magnificent closer, Here on the Black Earth). Organically alternating between fragility and massive sounds with perfect control, 20 Years Of Gloom, Beauty and Despair – Live In Helsinski owes its success in part to the presence of a loyal audience, a human factor that breathes life into events like these. Because a concert is above all, a moment of sharing. – Chief Brody

1-01. Swallow The Sun – The Womb of Winter (Live in Helsinki) (03:24)
1-02. Swallow The Sun – The Heart of a Cold White Land (Live in Helsinki) (04:52)
1-03. Swallow The Sun – Away (Live in Helsinki) (05:36)
1-04. Swallow The Sun – Pray for the Winds to Come (Live in Helsinki) (05:37)
1-05. Swallow The Sun – Songs from the North (Live in Helsinki) (05:28)
1-06. Swallow The Sun – 66,50’N,28,40’E (Live in Helsinki) (06:52)
1-07. Swallow The Sun – Autumn Fire (Live in Helsinki) (06:07)
1-08. Swallow The Sun – Before the Summer Dies (Live in Helsinki) (05:16)
2-01. Swallow The Sun – Lost & Catatonic (Live in Helsinki) (07:11)
2-02. Swallow The Sun – Empires of Loneliness (Live in Helsinki) (11:50)
2-03. Swallow The Sun – Falling World (Live in Helsinki) (05:09)
2-04. Swallow The Sun – Cathedral Walls (Live in Helsinki) (07:22)
2-05. Swallow The Sun – Plague of Butterflies, Pt. II (Live in Helsinki) (07:05)
2-06. Swallow The Sun – Don’t Fall Asleep (Horror, Pt. II) (Live in Helsinki) (06:31)
2-07. Swallow The Sun – Stone Wings (Live in Helsinki) (07:08)
2-08. Swallow The Sun – The Giant (Live in Helsinki) (11:45)
2-09. Swallow The Sun – Swallow (Horror, Pt. I) (Live in Helsinki) (05:25)
2-10. Swallow The Sun – Here on the Black Earth (Live in Helsinki) (05:44)


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