Swallow The Sun

Monumental Funeral Doom Melancholy playlist

This compilation is based on the best bits of melancholic funeral doom bands with some more funeral bits of melodic death doom and traditional doomster(s) in the midst. The playlist continues in the vein of a previous Post-rock Melancholia playlist.

The concept of funeral doom has at least two different schools. The “original” sound with bands like Thergothon and Esoteric is very nihilistic and evil mass of sound. Skepticism has something in common with those bands but the themes often revolve around nature. The other newer school fronted by Shape of Despair is not at all about evil but of a weeping melancholy. Both schools are obviously shared by the supremely slow tempos.

This compilation has a lot of content from the melancholic funeral school which I am personally more fond of. Skepticism and Thergothon have never appealed to me even though I enjoy some bits by Evoken, who are a direct successor of the old school funeral.

1. Half Light by one man Swedish outfit Doom:VS is quite a hard-hitter but with a superbly memorable chorus and lyrics that are almost as melancholic melodic funeral doom as possible.

2. Frailty is from the doom legend Paradise Lost‘s more recent albums, Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us. A really memorable entirety. The track is perhaps a bit curious for a funeral doom collection but the weeping guitar lines in the end half are strongly reminiscent of many a track here.
I only realized the track’s true potential as I keep getting reminded of it in my work, the material I handle frequently has definitions of The Frailty Syndrome (Frailty is a common geriatric syndrome that embodies an elevated risk of catastrophic declines in health and function among older adults. Frailty is a condition associated with ageing, and it has been recognized for centuries.).

From the third track Lost & Catatonic the compilation slips into even deeper waters. It meanders effortlessly between very heavy, symphonic almost black metal bits and an extremely catchy and soft chorus. Lost & Catatonic was originally one of the tracks that triggered the biggest emotional response from Swallow The Sun‘s newest album Songs of the North 1. Later it was reported that in live setting a session guitarist would sometimes play the track instead of Juha Raivio. Understandable obviously given by the recent death of his spouse, the magnificently voiced vocalist Aleah Stanbridge.

4. Fragments by French band Remembrance is from their album Silencing the Moments (2008). Really some cliche melancholic funeral doom. It has all the basic elements from deep male growling to sparse hits, catatonic drummer, at times heavy at times extremely gentle guitars, background keyboards and angelic female vocals yet at their best they are tweaked so well it functions perfectly. Fragments is the song that has stayed with me most. I can’t think of any faults in it, its atmosphere is a real appealing slumbering mass. The hard & sparse hitting lamenting section at 5 minute mark is one of my favourites in any modern funeral doom band’s catalogue.

5. Shape of Despair is a band many of the more modern melancholic melodic funeral doom bands model after. Their second album Angels of Distress (2001) is the biggest landmark yet strangely I seem to have picked tracks from their two newer ones in my playlists. The Distant Dream of Life from Monotony Fields (2015) is nearly an absurdly short track for a funeral doom piece, clocking only 5.53 but its all tightly packed emotion. In the newest album Shape of Despair changed vocalist, and while I absolutely love Pasi Koskinen’s deep growling, the new vocalist Henri Koivula (Throes of Dawn) does a tremendous job as well.

6. Weighed Down With Sorrow by Insomnium is the best track they’ve ever made full stop. Never before or after have they gone this deep in doomish melancholy, the memorably sullen lyrics could be straight from the Finnish national epic Kalevala.

7. Her Withering Petals by The Fall of Every Season is 15 minutes long which may be a bit too much but its atmosphere stays intact and boy when the end comes, is it emotional or what. Machinae Supremacy sings about video game and action movie cliches in Player One “and in the end i’ll get the girl”. Translated into funeral doom, the same cliche is straight from the handbook of The Fall of Every Season:
This imagined warm touch was his relief.
Kneeling at her feet, ready for his sleep.
Had no longer wish to arise.
Put her arm around him, no more cries.
Slept there until the fierce cold awoke
to erase all tracks of life.

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Favourite albums and tracks of 2015

Top 5 (alphabetical order)

A Forest of Stars – Beware the Sword You Cannot See
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Leviathan – Scar Sighted
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Mgła – Exercises in futility
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Paperi T – Malarian Pelko
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Tähtiportti – Tähtiportti
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Top 6-7

Abyssion – Luonnon Harmonia ja Vihreä Liekki

Swallow The Sun – Songs From The North I

Top 8-15 (random order)

Sigh – Graveward (possible grower)

Venetian Snares – Thank You For Your Consideration

Enshine – Singularity (possible grower)

Shape of Despair – Monotony Fields – I really wanted this to be awesome but its just good, allthough the first ~4 minutes of The Blank Journey are among my favourite metal moments this year.

Tribulation – The Children Of The Night

Pryapisme – Futurologie

Misþyrming – Söngvar elds og óreiðu (possible grower)

Ghost Bath – Moonlover

Possible growers that I haven’t listened enough

Swallow The Sun – Songs From The North II & III

Venetian Snares – Your Face

Arcturus – Arcturian

Paradise Lost – The Plague Within – I actually got a semi-kick out of it but then started listening to Tragic Idol and so far I haven’t seen any reason why to go back as Tragic Idol is so much better.

Carpenter Brut – Trilogy – Recently used it as background music for

Binding of Isaac Afterbirth and it worked really well in it, but haven’t tested longevity yet.

The Morningside – Letters from the Empty Towns

Opeth – Pale Communion

Mogwai – Music Industry 3. Fitness Industry 1.

Disappointments

Melechesh – Enki – Almost the whole album makes me want to fall asleep. I would use it as sleeping music if I wasn’t so annoyed that it is so fucking boring.

Last Step – Lost Sleep – Sideproject of Venetian Snares, I suppose Acid (genre) is not my thing.

Messer Chups – The Incredible Crocotiger – What happened to Messer Chups, they used to be so fun, merging b-movie clips and incredibly imaginative melodies with surf. Now they are just plain surf without any other flavours.
Lasten hautausmaa – Lasten hautausmaa – overhyped, yeah they aren’t bad but no they aren’t the new Mana Mana or even close.

Grave Pleasures – Dreamcrash – What a suitable name, after the surprise debut, still with the name Beastmilk, this album is so shy. All the great melodies and freshness are gone. Beastmilk was dangling on the edge of hipsterness and ridiculousness but miraculously avoiding it and being stunning. Grave Pleasures crashes headfirst, being both annoying and pretty good in every track. There may be a jewel there but I haven’t got to powerlistening this mess yet.
Trepaneringsritualen – Perfection & Permanence – Such a ridiculously bad album it created a time paradox and appeared in this list even though it’s been released in 2014.

Favourite tracks (random order)

Top 11

Venetian Snares – Ötvenöt 3

Tribulation – Melancholia

A Forest of Stars – Drawing Down The Rain

Mgła – Exercises in Futility IV

Ghost Bath – Happyhouse

Swallow The Sun – Lost & Catatonic

Leviathan – Scar Sighted

Mgła – Exercises in Futility VI

Tähtiportti – Viimeinen Tähtiportti

A Forest of Stars – Lowly Worm

Paperi T – Mainstream Solo

Next 6

Pryapisme – Futurologie 3–5

Opeth – Eternal Rains Will Come

Tähtiportti – Tähtiportti IV: Luciferin Pylväs

Tähtiportti – Tähtiportti I

Ufomammut – Daemons

Misþyrming – Söngur heiftar

Favourite cover art

Ufomammut – Ecate

BONUS – Top 2 2015 games to play while listening music

Rocket League (anything with a bit of a pace)

Binding Of Isaac Afterbirth (anything grim and gloomy)

Great Music Videos – Fall 2012 – A Forest of Stars, Swallow The Sun, Agalloch

Something different for a change. Music videos and fan videos that I have enjoyed lately.

A Forest of Stars – Gatherer of the Pure (official music video) (61 000 views)

At the risk of sounding like a fanboy, I will still label this as the best music video I have ever seen. It was released in June 2012 and made an intense impact. In fact with the second view. The first was stunning but after the second view I had time to focus on the other aspects besides the plot and music. Since then I must have rewatched it over 20 times.

The video is very game-like reminding of the beginning of a masterful game, Braid. It also has a Limbo-like dark colour and character scheme. But still does it uniquely that its clear its not a rip off of any single influence. The track Gatherer of Pure is a good one. First time ever, when listening the track from the cd; I actually wish I was watching the music video instead. Without the music video the track just isn’t complete. It even works to that extent that for a lyrics freak like me, the lyrics of track are just a minor point. The most important point is the balance of the dramatic composition and dramatic events in the video which are very well adapted together.

The graphic illustrations are of course nothing short of stunning with absolutely beautiful shots from an imaginary place. The clever use of yellow and black and white colour scheme with at times sparked with red, blue and other effectcolours is a remarkable effect. After the video looks like just a misshapen love story, do not miss the end. It is such a distorted piece of plot-twists that will blow you away.

Swallow the Sun – Emerald Forest And The Blackbird (Unofficial Video) (4800 views)


In fact, it is a fan video of clicheic forest photography. But, the photography is so stunning that it doesn’t bother at all. Absolutely beautiful forest shots encompassed with one of the best songs of 2011. A stunning view that takes you away for a wintery forest walk in Finland. Very topical as the winter is coming…


Agalloch – The Sowilo Rune (“The Sowilo Man” fan video) (2300 views)


A fan video, named “The Sowilo Man” is of course a take on the events from the move The Wicker Man (1973). One of my all time favourite movies. Taken from The White EP that encompasses a lot of elements and voice clips from the movie. For everyone who loves the film; this video is a welcome revisit to the lovely looking, beautiful yet in the end dark schemes of the movie.

And a word of advise for everyone not familiar with the original Wicker Man. Do not watch the Nicholas Cage version (2006). Find the classic Wicker Man of 1973 or better yet, the extended edit. It has lots of great scenes that were cut out of the theatrical version without the agreement of the film creators. Some of these parts are in this video as well.

Sergeant Howie: “And what of the true God? To whose glory churches and monasteries have been built on these islands for generations past? Now shall what of Him?”

Lord Summerisle: “Oh, He’s dead. He can’t complain. He had his chance and in modern parlance. Blew it.”