The Finns are pretty good when it comes to miserable metal. They get a hell of a lot of long, dark nights and had the highest suicide rate in Europe last time I checked, so maybe this isnt all that suprising.
Finnish band Swallow The Sun are a one of the flagship bands of Firebox Records, a label that specialises in just the kind of slick, modern gothic doom that Swallow The Sun play. 'The Morning Never Came' is a very polished listen, with plenty of catchy doom riffs and soaring melodies dripping with sadness that are designed to appeal to fans of My Dying Bride's later, more commercial output, but where the two bands differ is in terms of song structure. Whilst My Dying Bride may have moved away from their raw and murky death metal roots in favour of a more polished sound, they never for a moment compromised their ability to create powerful, epic songs that ebb and flow beautifully, gradually building to emotionally powerful creshendos of chugging heaviness and sad and stirring melodies.
Swallow The Sun on the other hand emulate My Dying Bride's aesthetic but not their content- their songs are full of beautiful, melancholy melodies and gratifyingly crunchy doom chug-a-thons, but what is missing is any real musical progrssion: the songs are instantly enjoyable, but subsequent listens reveal no great depth. Rather, the songs just seem to plod and meander along in a verse-chorus-verse, bridge, verse-chorus-verse kind of way with the odd solo here and there but none of the slowly building momentum and emotional investment that makes good doom such a joy to listen to. The vocals are similar in this respect, consisting of perfectly perfunctory, competently-executed growls, but again like the songwriting and production these have no real passion or depth and as a whole everything comes off sounding rather bland and plastic.
There are well-placed atmospheric synths and tinkling piano passages throughout, and though unspectacular the album is by no means an unenjoyable listen. Most of the songs are built around one or two very simple and repetitive but admittedly achingly sad and beautiful riffs and some enjoyably crunchy chugging sections, but gratifying as these may be they can't hold the listener's attention for very long without good songwriting to back them up. There are also gothic rock melodies and shoegazey sections complete with melancholy clean vocals a-la Katatonia, but again whilst enjoyable there is no real innovation to be found. The accompanying booklet is suitably gloomy and appealing, but like a lot of album art these days the cover is heavily photoshopped and like the music it itself is perhaps a little too shiny and over-polished.
'The Morning Never Came' doesn't seem to be able to make up its mind whether it wants to be gothic doom or depressive rock, and ends up straddling both camps without ever really getting to grips properly with either genre. Its an album that's good for a quick spin now again but wont hold the attention for all that long, although fans of gentler, more mainstream gothic doom and rock will likely still find something of interest here.
1. Through Her Silvery Body 08:40
2. Deadly Nightshade 05:48
3. Out of this Gloomy Light 05:37
4. Swallow (Horror Pt. 1) 05:23
5. Silence of the Womb 06:50
6. Hold this Woe 08:04
7. Under the Waves 06:46
8. The Morning Never Came 09:19
Total playing time 56:27
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Through Her Silver Body
2 Deadly Nightshade
3 Out of This Gloomy Light
4 Swallow (Horror, Pt. 2)
5 Silence of the Womb
6 Hold This Woe
7 Under the Waves
8 Morning Never Came
9 Solitude [*]