Swallow The Sun

Pumpehuset, Copenhagen - 2023

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

A few days short of a full year, Finland’s premium depressive metal outfit - and there are a lot to choose from! - returned to Pumpehuset in Copenhagen. At their last visit, they were supporting Primordial, but this time around they were themselves the main act of the night.
There was another difference as well; they had moved down to the lower floor this time around, so we could look forward to a much more intimate concert.

“Our first fucking album came out 20 years ago this year, that’s why we have the same fucking shirt in the shop.”
- Mikko Kotamäki (vocals)

Swallow The Sun, like last year, opened with a recording of the beautiful track The Fight For Your Life, which at one point glided over from taped track to the band playing live - and we were off!
Swallow The Sun had a whole of 11 tracks on their setlist this night, interestingly the same amount as their support band Draconian. That’s pretty much where the similarities ended, however. Where I complained about low energy and less presence in the previous two bands this evening, well, Swallow The Sun didn’t have any more room than they did (well, a little more than Draconian as they’re one more person on stage), and they’re not a lively band by any standard, still they dominated the stage and the whole room with their presence and the way they lived in the music. This is one aspect where Swallow The Sun have pretty much always excelled, they have such an amount of emotion in their delivery, and it spreads far and wide while they’re playing. And we love it.

Saying that they’re not a lively band is also only a half truth, as they well proved this night. It might be that they had the same size stage to use, but contrary to the other bands, Swallow The Sun actually used it. Both Juha Raivio, Juho Räihä, and Matti Honkonen swung with the music, and Honkonen was the main connection to the audience, in that it was he who asked people to get their arms up or to shout along when the music called for it. Räihä on the other hand, proved that a small stage wasn’t necessarily a limitation as he walked out onto the floor speakers in front of the stage to rock out even closer to the crowd several times during the latter part of the set.

The pressure in the nearly sold out Pumpehuset was also critical at this point in the night. I had thought during Draconian, that they would be the most popular band here tonight (read their review as to why), but I was proven wrong, and happily so. Swallow The Sun is, as I think I’ve mentioned in earlier reviews, not exactly a moshpit band, but rather one where you stand and take in whatever they offer, and that’s exactly what was going on here. That’s not to say that the audience participation wasn’t felt, it most certainly was. Yes, Honkonen was good at coming up with suggestions and having them met, but even between these opportunities, the crowd cheered and applauded the band along. It’s hard to precisely describe the feeling to someone who hasn’t tried it, but the best word I can come up with is elevated.

11 tracks may seem a bit short, especially if you don’t consider the length of your average Swallow The Sun track, but even so, we could easily have done with a few more songs when the night finally came to an end after a powerful performance of Swallow (Horror Pt. I). I guess we can only hope that it doesn’t take more than a year again before their next visit.


The Fight For Your Life
10 Silver Bullets
Falling World
Cathedral Walls
Woven Into Sorrow
Stone Wings
New Moon
This House Has No Home
Descending Winters
Swallow (Horror Pt. I)

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