After the successful debut "Diva
are back with "Swallow" and the expectations are kinda high because the first album had enough quality to draw attentions to the band.
The album starts with a powerful song called "Hearthquake" and what a way to start the album! This song shows a clear rock-gothic approach with clear vocals and some harder vocals, that you can't call "grunts" because they are melodic and the vocalist really sings. The guitars are just vicious and you immediately get into the rhythm that feels gothic mainly because of some piano notes that sound here and there. This is a really powerful song and a beautiful way to start the album. "Soul Sister
" gets back to the usual rock-metal-gothic that the band showed on Diva
in a very effective way. Then there's time for a band "Hymn
": the song is called "Rain
of July" and it's that kind of song that many bands have to dig hard to compose... yet in the end it sounds so simple: "Rain
of July" is rock-gothic again, and again with harder vocals and this time, with an explosive chorus and a catchy piano that completes the scenario here and there (and hell, that is a great chorus!!!).
You could think that things couldn't be kept so high but "Suicide
Letters" has a brilliant introduction and again it's a powerful song (finally you get to hear some kind of "gothic-bells" but very slightly); mainly this song has a very catchy chorus - the best part of it - and a nice crescendo until the end. "Shadowflower" is not as strong as the other compositions, but nevertheless it's a nice song who does not damage the album. Then, "Luna
" has it all: it's an epic song with a slow tempo and some electronic sounds in the first seconds (fortunately those sounds only appear again in the end) and the highlight here is the participation of Kai Hansen on vocals and guitar.
There's still time for another highlight: "Season of '98", a gothic-rock song with a superb rhythm and a guitar riff that gets this song really into a very enjoyable sound! The next song ("At Once
and Forever) is not as strong as some others, a bit repetitive, but again, nothing that spoils the album at all (and the instrumental parts are very nice, except for some ridiculous bells). To close the album in a perfect way, Liv Kristine
is invited to sing in "Downcast
" - a song which starts really calm, with no traces of gothic, rock or metal, until half of it, when the guitars and drums take place, grunting vocals get back to the sound and again, Kai Hansen gives it's vocals again, even better than in "Luna
" in my opinion. It's a great epic song to close Heavenwood
's second album.
How hard is going to be Heavenwood
's life from now on, after releasing such a fine album, after a debut that was also a very good work? Time will tell, but for now, "Swallow" is nothing but a great gothic-rock/metal album that will surely live in gothic/metalheads/rockers head for a long time!