Album Of The Year 2021 – Number 12

Welcome to Day 19 of my Album Of The Year 2021 Top 30 Countdown.

No big intro today, other than to remind new visitors that links to all my previous picks from 30-13 can be found below, as well as links to my series’ from previous years. If you check them out, I hope you enjoy them.

Number 12

Swallow The Sun

“Moonflowers”

Century Media Records

Release Date: 19 November 2021

Score Of Much Metal: 94%

I can’t deny the fact that I adore this band. Since their debut was released, I have followed the career of Swallow The Sun closely and with genuine interest. Their brand of doom metal, referred to as ‘Gloom, beauty, despair’ is pretty peerless if I’m honest. Harsh, raw, and incredibly beautiful, the music speaks to me on many levels.

The even more personal edge that ‘Moonflowers’ has just makes the album an even more brutal, yet poignant listen. It’s like we are privy to the band’s innermost pain and suffering, a fact made all the more powerful by the fact that the music on this record is so incredibly beautiful. Be it the heavier passages, or the more melodic sections, there are few bands that are able to move me in such a profound way. Swallow The Sun can do it with a single note.

‘Moonflowers’ may be one of the most recent additions to my list for this year given that it wasn’t released until mid November. But, from the first spin, I knew without any doubt that this was a special album and deserved its place in my list for 2021. Melodic doom/death metal never sounded so heartbreakingly beautiful. Simple as that.

What I wrote at the time:

“…‘gloom, beauty and despair’…

Never ones to shy away from drawing upon personal experiences, it would appear that ‘Moonflowers’ takes things to a whole new level. Guitarist and principal songwriter Juha Raivio won’t go into the details of the events that gave birth to this record but of the album, he reveals the following: …’It doesn’t matter how it makes me feel, as long as it does.’

One thing I’ve always admired about the Swallow The Sun sound is their penchant for playing riffs that allow for the heavy chords to ring out and resonate; their not in a hurry to lace their music with unnecessary speed; they are happy to let the notes do the talking. Just listen to ‘Woven Into Sorrow’ for a great example, particularly at the outset.

Without a doubt, Swallow The Sun have remained one of the most consistent and high quality bands for the better part of two decades. Their output has remained largely unchanged across that time, but reserved experimentation and boundary-pushing has taken place when required. The thing is, when the music that they create is as good as it is, where’s the benefit is drastically altering your approach? It is clear that Raivio has suffered over the past few years, but he and his fellow musicians within Swallow The Sun have channelled that suffering into one of the most heart wrenching albums that 2021 has heard. If ‘gloom, beauty, despair’ continues to sound this good, I never want it to end. The world would be a worse place without it.”

Read the full review here.

The list this year so far…

Number 13

Number 14

Number 15

Number 16

Number 17

Number 18

Number 19

Number 20

Number 21

Number 22

Number 23

Number 24

Number 25

Number 26

Number 27

Number 28

Number 29

Number 30

‘Honourable Mentions’

Also, if you’ve missed my lists from previous years, you can check them out here:

2020

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

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