SWALLOW THE SUN 20 Years of gloom, beauty and despair MINT GREEN

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SWALLOW THE SUN - 20 Years of gloom, beauty and despair MINT GREEN
  • 3LP - 37.99 EUR
  • Item number:303761
  • Version:3LP
  • Genre:Doom/Stoner/70s
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Exclusively available at NUCLEAR BLAST mail order! Limited to 200 mint green triple LPs (180g) in a lush gatefold incl. bonus DVD. The Finnish death doom masters release their first live album ever! Two sets: one acoustic set & one fan-voted set, incl. the band's classics from the past 20 years. Filmed and recorded at Tavastia Club in Helsinki!

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Finnish doom lords Swallow the Sun are no strangers to live performances. Throughout their storied seven-album, 21-year career, they've played over 800 shows. From their hometown of Jyväskylä and massive cruise ships to Russia and several coast-to-coast tours of the United States, the Finns are proud, if somewhat reluctant road dogs. It stands to reason then that after two-plus decades that Swallow the Sun would test the time-worn waters of the live album. From great live albums like Ozzy Osbourne's Tribute (a favorite of frontman Mikko Kotamäki) and Judas Priest’s Unleashed in the East, the Finns took inspiration and from the sheer devastation of COVID-19, their first live album, 20 Years of Gloom Beauty and Despair Live in Helsinki, was born out of necessity. See, 2020 had been planned to celebrate the Finns’ 20th Anniversary, two decades of doom, gloom, and desperation etched in proverbial platinum. They were going bring Nordic sorrow to their legions in Europe and North America, but in the waning winter months of last year, their plans were indefinitely put on ice due to the pandemic.

“We were supposed to play anniversary shows in Europe and North America,” vocalist Mikko Kotamäki recalls. “We started our European tour in Finland in February 2020 and played 10 gigs. Everything got canceled two weeks after that. Luckily, we filmed and recorded our gig in Helsinki. Now, everyone can see it. At the time, we didn't know the footage or recordings would be used for this purpose.”

In many respects, the capture and preservation of their gig in Helsinki on February 26th, 2020 was prescient. Not only does it form the 18-song, double set 20 Years of Gloom Beauty and Despair Live in Helsinki but the live album also serves as a stopgap release between 2019’s chart-smashing, ultra-heartfelt When a Shadow Is Forced into the Light and its inevitable follow-up. A reminder that Swallow the Sun were alive and well needed to be sent. Indeed, the traits that set 20 Years of Gloom Beauty and Despair Live in Helsinki apart from almost any live album out there were the acoustic performance (with a string quartet) of Songs from the North II and the fan-voted setlist that featured not only some of the group's most-performed songs ("Swallow (Horror, Part 1)," "Cathedral Walls") to date but also a bevy of live rarities (“Empires of Loneliness,” “Plague of Butterflies,” and “Here on the Black Earth”).

“It’s a really special setlist,” affirms Kotamäki. “We played the whole Songs from the North II with a string quartet—comprised of very professional musicians, two of whom played on our previous album and appeared with us on the 70000 Tons of Metal cruise in 2018. For the first time, we also asked our fans on social media to vote for their favorite songs from each album. We then played the most-voted songs from every album. The cover art reflects this, too. The ten candles on the cover relate to the ten albums (counting Plague of Butterflies and the three albums represented on Songs from the North I, II & III) we’ve done. So, the live album is two sets and over two hours of live music. I think we managed to nail some of the songs better on this live album. Maybe 20 years of practice helped."
20 Years of Gloom Beauty and Despair Live in Helsinki was recorded at the famed Tavastia Club in Helsinki. The live album was produced by the band and then mixed in two sessions. The acoustic set (officially Set 1) was mixed by Swallow the Sun keyboardist/backing vocalist Jaani Peuhu at Black Chandelier Music, while guitarist Juho Räihä handled the mix of the fan-voted tracks (officially Set 2) at SoundSpiral Audio Studio. Räihä also took the reins of mastering engineer, again at SoundSpiral Audio Studio. That it wasn’t planned to be an official live album means that the performances didn’t have the usual forethought of a studio session. 20 Years of Gloom Beauty and Despair Live in Helsinki is straight from the Finns’ cold comforting hearts. The tension, pain, and introspection are palpable on songs like "The Heart of a Cold White Land," "66°50'N, 28°40'E," "Lost & Catatonic," and "Falling World."

"The main difference between a recorded album and a live album is that the live album is played and recorded live," Kotamäki states. "It's just us up there on stage. How we express ourselves with our music on nights like the Helsinki show is a lot different than when we're in the studio, often not at the same time. When we record, we record our parts separately. We're not jamming and recording together like the old days. We can record in our living rooms now, and if we mess up, we can easily delete it and start over. That's not the best or realistic thing to do when performing live. 20 Years of Gloom Beauty and Despair Live in Helsinki is raw and real.”

Swallow the Sun were formed out of the ashes of groove metal outfit Plutonium Orange in 2000. The group, led by guitarist/songwriter Juha Raivio, have released seven full-lengths to date, the latest of which was 2019’s much-lauded When a Shadow Is Forced into the Light. Over the last 20 years, they’ve topped album charts in Finland, with the Plague of Butterflies EP and When a Shadow Is Forced into the Light hitting #1; the Finns had their music (“Hold This Woe”) included in a ballet (NYC’s Ballet Deviare); they were nominated for a Finnish Grammy Award (Emma Gaala) for When a Shadow Is Forced into the Light; Swallow the Sun have consistently challenged industry definitions of EPs (Plague of Butterflies) and LPs (2015’s ambitious three-album full-length Songs from the North I, II & III); the videos for “Firelights,” “Falling World,” and “Cathedral Walls” have over 4 million views on YouTube, respectively. At two hours in length, 20 Years of Gloom Beauty and Despair Live in Helsinki will yet again break another barrier for Swallow the Sun.

“I can’t wait for our fans to hear the Tavastia Club gig,” grins Kotamäki. “We were going to spread doom and gloom over Europe and North America in the flesh, but that couldn’t be, so we’ve got the next best thing, our first-ever live album. It’s 20 years in the making. I don’t think we could’ve done this any time in the past. We are more experienced now, and we know how to bring our songs to life. We couldn’t be happier with 20 Years of Gloom Beauty and Despair Live in Helsinki. Now, it’s your turn to happily revel in our collective heartache.”

Juha Raivio - guitars
Matti Honkonen - bass
Mikko Kotamäki - vocals
Juuso Raatikainen - drums
Juho Räihä - guitars
Jaani Peuhu - keyboards/backing vocals

Track list
Side A:
1. The Womb Of Winter (Live in Helsinki) 03:26
2. The Heart Of A Cold White Land (Live in Helsinki) 04:52
3. Away (Live in Helsinki) 05:37
4. Pray For The Winds To Come (Live in Helsinki) 05:38
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