In a time when records don’t sell as they used to, it’s a big risk to release double and triple albums. Especially bands who don’t play music for the masses. We usually see them to release the albums separately, with some months time between them. On the other hand, there are bands like Soilwork, Moonspell or Swallow The Sun (among others) who seem to think different about that.
These guys from Finland decided to release this triple colossus and we were very curious for its quality although it’s been more than three and a half years since their last record. There are 21 songs here (2 of them instrumental) with a total running time of two and a half hours! Divided in 3 parts, “Songs From The North” manages to capture your interest from the start. In the first part, entitled “Gloom” (8 songs, 59 minutes), we listen to good old Swallow The Sun. Melodic doom/death metal with brutal and clean vocals from an excellent frontman, Mikko Kotamaki. Nothing new, just one great song after another. In the second part however, entitled “Beauty” (8 songs, 42 minutes) we find the…beautiful side of their music. In here you will only listen to acoustic songs (including the 2 instrumentals), nothing electric. Very nice effort, very nice change. It serves well as an intermission between the first and the third part. A part that is entitled “Despair” (5 songs, 52 minutes) and it is exactly as its title says. Here we listen to Swallow The Sun in a funeral doom metal orgy. Simply amazing. The melodies and clean vocals are no more. In their place there is only mournful tempo, screams, blackness and despair.
After listening to this album, I can’t say nothing more than congratulations to STS. They didn’t release a triple album just because they had more songs remaining, but because they wanted to express themselves in different ways. It’s really like listening to 3 separate albums and this gives even bigger interest to the hearing. Choose the best part (or don’t choose at all) and let yourself go in their music.