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A Swarm of the Sun (The Rifts)

Crank this to 9 of 11 - Editors Pick

Released: 2015

Genre: Post metal

Sounds Like: Katatonia, Alcest

A Swarm of the Sun is a Swedish duo comprised of musicians Erik Nilsson and Jakob Berglund. Their second full length The Rifts is a reflective journey into the minds of these two artists. It is a very well balanced album of Post-metal, shoegaze and even Post-rock. The Rifts is written and produced by Erik Nilsson and released through his own label Version Studio Records. The album is mixed by Magnus Lindberg, who has worked with bands such as Cult of Luna, Refused, Khoma, and Pg.lost to name a few.

Not only is the music produced by Erik, but all artwork and videos for the album are created by Jakob. So, you can see this is a personal vision for these two and it shows. They have great chemistry and know the direction they want to take their music. The band is also graced with guest musicians; Anders Carlström on bass, Karl Daniel Lidén on drums, Anna Carlsson on vocals, Minna Heimo on pipe organ and Robin Bergh on vibraphone.

Track Listing:

1. There's Blood on Your Hands - 4:05

2. Infants - 9:05

3. The Nurse - 3:48

4. Incarceration - 6:11

5. The Warden - 5:24

6. Years - 1:54

7. The Rifts - 5:12

8. These Depths Were Always Meant for Both of Us - 10:26

9. All the Love and Glory - 5:31

We begin our journey with the soft, piano-driven “There's Blood on Your Hands”. It’s a dark track that is very soothing and mysterious. Midway through the song a slow shoegaze-styled guitar appears in the background and soft minimal synths help create a sense of reflection. This carries us into “Infants” and this one is just stellar, running at 9:05 minutes, the song has time to develop. The addition of Anna’s vocals here is a brilliant move; she adds a sense of eloquence to the song. The music here is set to an ambient, solemn rhythm, somewhat resembling Puscifer. At the 4:43 mark the song takes a sharp turn towards a barrage of heavy, apocalyptic soundscapes. They even take it further by spiraling into shoegaze territory; fans of Alcest and Kataonia will appreciate this. We come back to earth on “The Nurse” with its comforting sound, perhaps there is something behind the name as it is very therapeutic, especially with the addition of the vibraphone.

Song four, “Incarnation” is very hypnotic and heavy at the same time, the sound is very broad and the soft vocals just drift aimlessly above the music. This song just keeps on building in strength and fullness, it sounds spectacular on our Paradigm speakers. Headphones will not do this justice; you need an open space to appreciate the musicianship here. The transition into the song “The Warden” just keeps you in their state of mind. It’s a song that seems to capture some sort of emotional struggle; it has a personal touch to it. We are now led into a soft, piano instrumental with “Years” and we absolutely love the use of the piano here and throughout the album.

The triumphant sound of the title track showcases some very powerful and captivating drumming. The song is heavy and ambient, keeping its strength until it just bottoms out at the end. The second to last track, “These Depths Were Always Meant for Both of Us” will pull you into their world if you’re not already in it. There is immense exploration going on here, between the soft shoegaze and the monumental Post-rock, the vocals don’t even appear until about 6:36 in. The song is so full and emotional and we are soon led to an ending with just soft vocals, a great way to bring this song to a close. The final track “All the Love and Glory” is a sullen instrumental that adds an exclamation point to the end of a terrific album.

Fans of Post-metal should easily gravitate towards this band. So, do yourself a favor and purchase the album, it cannot be previewed in a couple of listens. Just sit back and let it consume you.

Standout Tracks: Infants, These Depths Were Always Meant for Both of Us

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