Swallow the Sun – November 29, 2021 – Dingbatz, Clifton, NJSaturday, 4th December 2021
Meant to be touring the States last year, Swallow the Sun has finally made it back to US shores for a fall 2021 tour. Given the drought of touring due to COVID, it seemed like a reasonable Monday night venture to head down to NJ for a show. Particularly when one of the opening acts was gothic metal crew Fellahin Fall, whom I have been dying to catch for a while now.
Speaking of which, Fellahin Fall opened up the show promptly at 7PM. Their unique blend of gothic gloom, industrial/electronic elements, and metallic edge came across a bit heavier sounding in the live venue. Lumbering grooves that you could feel, alongside some excellent croons from vocalist Nodar, with just the right amount of synth backing. A short but sweet five song set, opened by a personal favorite in “Rover,” which had some choice cuts from their full-length Tar a-Kan as well as debut self-titled EP was an excellent opening to the evening. Given their sound, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to see them as one of the main openers for Swallow the Sun. Currently one of the most under-rated/under-appreciated acts out there, give them a shot!
Next up was the second opening act, As Sand Falls. Deathcore runs pretty hit or miss, personally, but they held their own. All of the pieces that you would expect from such an act, but the vocals were notable as they were a bit more intense and almost grindcore-ish shrieks at some points, which was a nice touch. Apparently it was the band’s first live show too, which you never would have guessed from the way they played onstage. They managed to get the doomy/gloomy crowd into some pit movement, which was to their benefit. This also marked the first appearance of some sound issues, which would become much more devastating later in the night.
The first of the national acts was Wilderun. Not having seen them in a few years, it was great to see how they have expanded their fanbase (not to mention their sound). With their new album around the corner in January, they played a new song “Passenger,” as well as two songs from their last release Veil of Imagination (“Far from Where Dreams Unfurl” and “The Tyranny of Imagination”). An interesting choice to play a three song set (as the tracks are all pretty long), but it definitely works for the band. It provided quite a taste of what they can do, and they got quite a reaction from the crowd with their proggy, folk-driven tales that ebb and flow with all sorts of flair. The new song (which is available to listen to on all sources at this point) bodes well for the band with a nice blend of heavy and catchy. Hopefully they will be able to hit the road again soon with a longer set!
Abigail Williams set was a bit of a downer. It was nothing on the band’s part, as they were giving it their all, but the sound was all over the place. A number of sound issues plagued their set, with mainman Ken Sorceron even becoming a bit agitated by the frequent issues. One couldn’t blame him either, as he and the band continued to put their best foot forward and blast away but some moments were almost unlistenable. The band eventually cut their set a bit early, which was understandable, but still a bummer as personally speaking, I hadn’t caught the band live before and was curious to check them out in the live setting.
That said, the issues seemed to be resolved by the time Swallow the Sun finally took the stage. Opening up with a nice one-two dose of gloom in “Moonflowers Bloom in Misery” and “Enemy” from their excellent new album Moonflowers, the best thing about Swallow the Sun live is the atmosphere that their music provides. This melancholic, heavy feeling where you can just feel the emotion coming from it make them an intriguing live band – it’s not about heaviness but the overall intensity that the music exudes. Their set included a large chunk of the Moonflowers album, which is no problem since it’s some of their strongest work. Some other highlights included “Falling World” and “Stone Wings,” and they still paid some attention to the back catalog as well despite the emphasis on the new album. Sadly, this scribe is a bit out of practice and had to leave a few songs early as morning beckons quickly after a show like this and missed a bit, but Swallow the Sun provided an impactful reminder of how beautiful their songs are in the live setting. All in all, this is a great tour package that is well worth checking out this season!