Swallow The Sun

Pumpehuset, Copenhagen - 2022

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

The third edition of The Heathen Crusade tour has been a tumultuous one. When it was first announced for back in 2020, it was a co-headlining tour with Primordial and Moonsorrow, supported by Rome. When the tour was postponed for 2021, Moonsorrow left and was replaced by Naglfar, but yet again the tour was foiled by the lockdown.
2022 was the year of success for the Crusade, but once again there was a line-up change; this time Naglfar opted out, and a new band was again to be found in Finland, as Swallow The Sun took the spot.
I’m sure these changes must have disappointed both fans of Moonsorrow and Naglfar respectively, but given our personal preferences here at the office, this was the strongest version of the Crusade we could imagine, and we were looking forward to it from the very moment it was announced.

“It’s good to be back, these previous years have been really fucked up.”
- Mikko Kotamäki (vocals)

If you look up unpretentious in the dictionary, you might just find a picture of Swallow The Sun there, or at least their stage decor. Apart from a backdrop, they had simply hung a band-shirt over the kick drum, and that was it. Well, not quite; they had placed a few fake candles on top of the amp rack as well. Given the dark lightshow they had going, the candles managed to give a good effect for the overall atmosphere, but that shirt was simply hilarious!
Now, I’m never one to protest a cool stage show, but I’ll also be the first to admit that it is a bonus, not a necessity; and as Swallow The Sun worked much more on the internal experience, a formidable stage wasn’t really needed. They had their dark hoods up - well, most of them, as guitarist Juho Räihä stood out from the crowd in just wearing tight jeans and a t-shirt - and they were ready to rock!

The show started with the acoustic part of The Fight Of Your Life as an intro melody, during which the band members entered the stage and prepared to take over. As soon as the harder, electrified section of the song commenced, they were there, and stepped up. Well, not literally, of course, not unless you count Matti Honkonen, who proved to be the most active member of the band this night, showing that he loved to play to an audience, and have a connection going.
Juha Raivio was clearly very much into the music, but he wasn’t very outgoing with it, and Räihä took it very easy to begin with. It wasn’t until Don’t Fall Asleep (Horror Pt. 2) that he finally woke up, but when he finally did, he promptly got his foot up on the monitor, and played very much directly to the crowd, above them even at times, as he stretched out his guitar as far as he could manage.

The crowd on their hand rocked along in a nice and orderly fashion, nothing too big and gesticulated, but enough to prove that they were present.
On the other hand, Swallow The Sun doesn’t play music for the wildest of crowds, they play for the feelings. Maybe in this sense Pumpehuset might have been a bit too big of a stage for them. They filled it up well enough, but there is something to be said for having them at a smaller club sized stage, and having them straight in your face, which didn’t translate perfectly to here.

“Go buy some merchandise. We’ve only got a couple of shows left and we don’t want to bring anything back home.”
- Kotamäki (vocals)

Having said that, I’m glad they chose to end their set on the, for these guys, more rocking Swallow (Horror, Part 1). It put a nice twist to the concert, leaving us in an ultimately good mood, and ready for more. It was a good choice to bring Swallow The Sun along on this tour, I’ll tell you that much.


The Fight Of Your Life
Rooms And Shadows
Falling World
Don’t Fall Asleep (Horror Pt. 2)
Stone Wings
The Void
New Moon
Woven Into Sorrow
This House Has No Home
Swallow (Horror, Part 1)

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