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  • Review by Faye Coulman

Swallow The Sun reveal details of new album and EP release

On 20th December 2018, Finnish doom luminaries Swallow The Sun will be releasing a brand new EP by the name of ‘Lumina Aurea’ in the eagerly anticipated run-up to the band’s 7th studio album ‘When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light’. Amassing 13 minutes of crushingly harrowing yet intricately crafted atmospherics, this epic slab comprises a tantalising taste of things to come, while in the same breath standing in its own right as a truly unique and multi-faceted body of work. With its desolate strains of churning fretwork carving a crushingly inexorable path through coldly echoing layers of deathly Latinate chants and richly cascading organ notes, ‘Lumina Aurea’ is indeed quite unlike anything the Finns have ever created over the expansive course of their illustrious, eighteen year career.

Significantly too, it also marks, for creator Juha Raivio, the onset of an extraordinarily painful but essential creative process whose every blackened, crushingly expansive note is dedicated to the memory of Juha’s beloved muse and soulmate Aleah Stanbridge. Having tragically lost Aleah to terminal cancer in late 2016, the two and a half years that followed witnessed a grieving Raivio retreat from society to his remote woodland home in rural Jyväskylä.

Following many long and harrowing months of solitude spent battling to process the crippling burden of his recent loss, a sudden and unprecedented burst of inspiration saw the songwriter suddenly galvanised into a state of rich and unrelenting creativity. With these nine electrifying tracks having been penned within the space of a mere three weeks, it was with renewed vigour and determination that Raivio set about creating the ultimate tribute to his beloved.

“Every word and note I wrote, I wrote for Aleah,” the songwriter elaborates. “And about my own battle since she passed. The album title, ‘When A Shadow Is Forced into the Light’, comes from Aleah’s own words. That was exactly what I needed to do. To push myself out from the shadows. I’ve been pretty much a hermit in the woods for two and a half years.”

With its every crushing, blackly expansive note abounding with all the unmistakable, crippling gravity of human grief, it’s unsurprising that Raivio identifies ‘Lumina Aurea’ as by far the darkest and most painful composition ever to grace the Finns’ notoriously doom-laden back catalogue. Featuring Wardruna’s Einar Selvik and The Foreshadowing’s Marco I. Benevento, it’s through this deathly epic’s haunting, darkly turbulent throes that Raivio could finally set about exorcising his profoundly ingrained grief and suffering.

“‘Lumina Aurea’ is a song I would never want to write in my life,” Raivio says. “It is an open, bleeding black wound from the last two and half years of my life. But I had to write it out. I could not back down from it. The way I wrote and recorded ‘Lumina Aurea’ was so rough emotionally and physically that I think I will never talk about it public. I know this road will go on forever as a part of me, but I have also made a peace with it—that I will never have peace with it. And that the life and the journey here must still go on for a while for those of us remaining. I knew that if I would go any deeper on that road with the album as I did with ‘Lumina Aurea,’ the path would not end well. So, I quickly realized that instead I will write an album that will manifest loud and clear that after all, ‘Love is always stronger than death’.”

Swallow The Sun's 'Lumina Aurea' EP is out 20th December 2018 via Century Media

'When A Shadow Is Forced Into The Light' is out 25th January 2019 via Century Media

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