Swallow The Sun

Metalfest - 2012

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

We didn’t get around to see much on the 2nd stage of Metalfest this year, but after the way Swallow The Sun had impressed the whole Metalmoments staff earlier this year as they supported Paradise Lost on tour, this was one show we didn’t want to miss! Luckily, as it was placed after the headliner on the main stage, nothing else was on at the same time which could disturb it…

Just as it had been done on the recent tour, the show began with a mournful Finnish folk-sounding song which was played as an intro before the doom and gloom of the band begun.
I was impressed with the amount of people who had shown up at this late hour for the show, thinking that ending the day with a slow doom metal band would be a bit risky, but everyone seemed to be excited enough about the Finns and what they would give us.
Soon enough the members of the band began to take their places on the stage, most of them concentrating on checking their equipment, and Aleksi Munter (despite the meaning of his name) looked like he wanted to kill us all in various painful ways.
The last one to enter was not surprisingly Mikko Kotamäki, and the rest of the guys had already begun playing when he finally took the mic and began to soothingly pour his voice out over the unsuspecting crowd in the opening Emerald Forest And The Blackbird. Well ok, at least some were expecting this and knew what they were in for from before the show, which could easily be seen by the amount of headbanging that began at the same time as the music.
Of course, it wasn’t until a bit later, when the dynamic composing of the band made the songs increase in tempo, that we saw a larger amount of the crowd let loose and let their hair swing.

In the band, the musicians were full of passion and were clearly burning for what they were doing, and the only complaint here once more goes out to Kotamäki who, for the most of the time, whilst not singing, just stood there quite the same as the way he had done it on the previous tour.
In New Moon however, the entire band hooked up in some well played out synchronous headbanging, and after this Kotamäki seemed a bit more present during the rest of the gig as he even began doing some headbanging of his own from time to time. Also Munter lightened up after a while, and by the time we were nearing the end, he actually allowed himself to look like he might actually enjoy this after all.
Technically though, the band had some minor issues, and even though the sound was pretty good, there was almost no vocal sound on in the beginning, which made Kotamäki’s voice drown in the noise of the rest of the musicians. It was also getting a bit chilly, and towards the end of the show it was apparently so bad that Juha Raivio (whom I had ended up in front of even though I had positioned myself at the other side of the stage from where he had stood the last time we saw them) had to warm his fingers on the stage lights to keep them agile. I didn’t exactly see anyone else in the band try this, but I’m guessing the damp cold was getting to them as well.
This could be the reason for the bands quick exit after the last song had rung out, but whatever the reason was, I felt they would have done better in sticking around for a while to take a bow. The crowd was still here and cheering, so why not?

Even though I had initially had some fears about a doom metal band as the last band of the day, it was the unrelenting presence and nerve of many of the band members, and of course the aforementioned dynamic of the music with its many faster passages punctuating the slow droning of the doom style which made Swallow The Sun pull this show off in style. As had been the case with the support slot for Paradise Lost, I once again walked away satisfied with having seen a top quality show. It may have been our only show at the 2nd stage, but it was well worth it!

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