audiObelisk: Swallow the Sun Stream Opening Title-Track from Emerald Forest and the Blackbird

Posted in audiObelisk on August 6th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

Their sound has never been for everyone, but Finnish six-piece Swallow the Sun stand tall among the heirs to the first wave of European death/doom. Over the course of their five albums, the band has crafted increasingly intricate and lush melodies offset by brutal growling, mournful plod and a flair for the emotionally epic. Their songs bear the weight of loss, perhaps most of all on their latest outing, Emerald Forest and the Blackbird.

The album saw its Euro release back in February, but in order to highlight the upcoming US issue via Spinefarm, Swallow the Sun will hit the road in support of Kreator and Accept (info here). They’re no strangers to the States when it comes to touring, and no doubt this will be their biggest American run yet, as the material on Emerald Forest and the Blackbird is their most refined work to date and its weepy guitar leads, vicious growls and sorrowful atmosphere should provide stark contrast to the thrash and classic metal of their tourmates.

And yeah, we all know the album’s been out in Europe and once a record hits (or more generally, well before) it’s available on YouTube front to back, but I was offered the chance to highlight the opening title-track of Emerald Forest and the Blackbird, and I jumped at it because I’ve been a fan of the band’s balance of extremity and emotion since their first album made it over to North America seven years ago. Regardless of its availability, I hope you dig it as well.

“Emerald Forest and the Blackbird” is available for streaming on the player below, followed by the Teutonic Terror Attack tour dates:

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

In addition to the release of the album, we will be joining the legendary KREATOR and ACCEPT on their Teutonic Terror Attack 2012 North American tour! The tour will take place in September and November, starting right after the album release on September 5th from Washington DC! We’re stoked to be back, and here are the dates – including couple of cities we’ve never played before.

5.9. The Howard Theater, Washington, DC
6.9. The Trocadero Theatre, Philadelphia, PA
7.9. Best Buy Theater, New York, NY
8.9. The Palladium, Worcester, MA
9.9. Mavericks, Ottawa, ON
10.9. Metropolis, Montreal, QC
11.9. Imperial De Quebec, Quebec City, QC
12.9. Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, ON
13.9. Station 58, Syracuse, NY
14.9. Newport Music Hall, Columbus, OH
15.9. Mojoes, Joliet, IL
16.9. The Beaumont Club, Kansas City, MO
18.9. Gothic Theatre, Englewood, CO
19.9. The Complex, Salt Lake City, UT
21.9. Rickshaw Theatre, Vancouver, BC
22.9. Showbox at the Market, Seattle, WA
23.9. Roseland Theater, Portland, OR
24.9. Ace of Spades, Sacramento, CA
25.9. The Grand Ballroom, San Francisco, CA
26.9. Avalon, Hollywood, CA
27.9. The Grove, Anaheim, CA
28.9. Marquee Theatre, Tempe, AZ
29.9. Tricky Falls, El Paso, TX
30.9. Emo’s East, Austin, TX
1.10. Trees, Dallas, TX
2.10. House of Blues, New Orleans, LA
3.10. The Masquerade, Atlanta, GA
4.10. Tremont Music Hall, Charlotte, NC

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Aldebaran, Embracing the Lightless Depths: Reaching into a Pervasive Void

Posted in Reviews on July 13th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

As anyone who’s ever dealt with it either themselves or through a loved one knows, there’s a huge difference between sadness and depression. Real, clinical depression isn’t just about being miserable. There’s a physical, chemical response that takes place in the body, and it’s not just manifested in someone’s mood, but their every bit of perspective is tainted by it. The world feels like standing in a room full of boxes and all of them are labeled in block letters: NO. Embracing the Lightless Depths (Profound Lore), the second album from Portland, Oregon, death-doomers Aldebaran, is similarly minded, such that even the three shorter ambient “Occultation” pieces that surround the two massive slabs which form the crux of the album sound entrenched in an overarching and overwhelming negativity. Even where there are no drums, there is plod. Their second full-length following 2007’s Dwellers in Twilight, splits with Zoroaster and Unearthly Trance and last year’s single-song Buried Beneath Aeons EP (there were other splits before the first album as well, with Sod Hauler and Rue), Embracing the Lightless Depths pulls Aldebaran into a Lovecraftian void of which, if the title is to be believed, the band are well aware. Topping out at 66 minutes, the album is a terror unto itself, structurally fascinating and unrepentantly challenging: a test that most listeners will likely fail. It’s hard to sit through front to back, and that’s obviously the band’s intent – the alienation as mirror of the alienated.

Longer songs “Forever in the Dream of Death” (24:58) and “Sentinel of a Sunless Abyss” (29:38) – were it not for opener “Occultation of Hali’s Gates,” I might think Aldebaran had shunned the possessive form altogether, so many “of”s show up in their titles – emerge from out of ambient murk and are never quite separate from it. Vocals, handled alternately by guitarist Todd Janeczek, bassist Josh Banke and drummer Tim Call (also of labelmates The Howling Wind) are growls exclusively, which only adds to the overall inaccessibility of their approach, though the guitars of Janeczek and Kody Keyworth (also of the live incarnation of Wolves in the Throne Room) show an immediate penchant for carrying a melody. They do so on “Occultation of Hali’s Gates” (3:22), which starts Embracing the Lightless Depths quietly, setting the atmosphere in which “Forever in the Dream of Death” lurches forth. Chiefly, the first of the album’s two longer pieces is immersive. You hear it less than it inflicts itself on you. Call stands up to the difficult task of giving the song some kind of ground and pace – without him, you’d almost believe it didn’t have one – and the mood remains consuming in its darkness for the duration. Shortly before 16 minutes in, the guitars guide the way through a softer, whisper-vocal section, but the pummel resumes soon enough, and though the guitar leads in the final minutes might lead one to think there’s some kind of hope – ever, at all – that too is swallowed in the low monstrousness of the distorted finish.

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