Review by Jack on January 16, 2003.
Wearing their heart of their collective sleeves, Dark Suns deliver us "Swanlike". One could use many adjectives when talking about this doom/dark metal opus, but the best one that springs to mind is 'brooding'. Brooding in the fact that Dark Suns take a long, long time with each song to really unleash what they are thinking and feeling through a particular song, and at 62 minutes through 8 songs, one knows this is not going to be a trivial listen.
Taking cues from bands like Anathema and Opeth (incidentally, Opeth enjoyed "Swanlike" quite a bit, making it potentially a hit with Opeth fans the world over), Dark Suns strut their stuff through long winding morbid passages of doom soaked musical interplay. Niko Knappe is a bit of a prodigy on vocals in my opinion. Combining an earthy, dense set of death vocals with more of a gothic, clean passage is nothing revolutionary in many metal circles, but if you possess such a strong growl like Niko Knappe of Dark Suns and can back it up with uniquely contrasting clean vocal style then there are certainly a few wheels turning in the right direction for you.
There is heaps and heaps of good stuff to check out "Swanlike". Dark Suns have excelled at creating a doom/dark metal album that while not completely 'out there' and 'revolutionary' they have got some basic formulas perfected and in combination with vocalist that can do it all, vocally (see the track 'Virtuous Dilemma'). In fact the track 'Virtuous Dilemma' is one of the finest tracks I have heard in a while for a doom/death band. Brittle, captivating and a vocal masterpiece.
Bottom Line: I am a little at a loss for words with Dark Suns. They ooze so much charisma and mastery over their respective instruments that the 62 minutes flash by that you find yourself having listened to the album perhaps three or four times without even noticing. Swanlike. Remember the name and check this one out.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 8 out of 10