Swallow The Sun

Metalcamp - 2012

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Very fittingly for a band called Swallow The Sun, the sun was actually for the first time of the day swallowed by grey skies just before they entered the main stage at Metalcamp.

Even though my knowledge of the band only went back a few months, this wasn’t the first festival gig I would see Swallow The Sun play. It was however the first time I would see them perform on a large stage, and I was interested in what this would do to my liking of the band.

To begin with, I noticed that Aleksi Munter (still can’t get over that play on words) was looking pissed off as usual as the band entered the stage and took their positions, while the rest of the guys kept a neutral expression for the time being. Also as usual (again, I’m speaking from a short knowledge of the band here) Mikko Kotamäki didn’t enter the stage until it was time for him to begin singing; at this time some headbanging had begun amongst his band mates, but there wasn’t much of anything going on at this point.
Swallow The Sun opened with the heavy as hell doom track Emerald Forest And The Blackbird, the title track of their latest album, and I was happy to hear that the sound wasn’t half bad, giving at least the feeling of the music free wings to fly on.
Later another very emotional song from said album was played, Cathedral Walls, and while the feeling and the atmosphere got through clearly enough, I still wish they would find a stand-in to do the female vocals live instead of having them pre-recorded from the album. This would benefit both the song and the show I believe.

“We’ll play our last song as we are running out of time. (deep silence) Yeah, that’s right, this goes on.”
- Mikko Kotamäki (vocals)

The fact that Swallow The Sun probably wasn’t the best known band around this neck of the wood was clearly reflected in the fact that they had managed to get the smallest crowd I had seen so far at the festival, and those who were there were taking it even easier than the otherwise slow music was aiming for.
Fair enough, there wasn’t much to get excited about either, at least in the performance department. Their still-standing behaviour might be ok for smaller stages, but when they’re up on the main stage of a semi-large festival, having smoking and shoe-gazing as their most physical attributes just doesn’t quite cut it, even for this genre.
But lo and behold, some way into the set something happened! Suddenly Munter looked up with an expression that was more fitting to his name than the earlier death stares he had sent us, and his arm, firmly ended in a clenched fist, rose to the air, and Matti Honkonen waved and cheered along with the crowd which was growing in numbers for every song.
It never got more than mildly crowded at best though, but headbanging and spread shouts told me that people were beginning to get into the feeling, which was good. Even though the band needs to connect a bit better when playing a place like this, the main quality of the music never got lost, and that was essentially what pulled this show together.

Swallow The Sun was certainly lovely to hear again even though this was definitely not the best show we’ve seen by the Finns so far. A bit more liveliness, and the next one will certainly hit the right spot again!

Setlist (incomplete):

Emerald Forest And The Blackbird
This Cut Is The Deepest
Hold This Woe
Cathedral Walls
Psychopath’s Lair
Swallow (Horror Pt. 1)

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