Unmistakeably desperate and aggrieved…
Review by Debbie Gough
Release date: 30 January 30 2015
Bounding back into action following their five years of deafening silence after their debut, Zenith, Swedish duo A Swarm of the Sun are still bleeding every note decodable to the human ear dry of disoriented emotion and suffocated passion. The Rifts illustrates a mind-numbing journey that could potentially be interpreted in a million different conditions but the common denominator that would always arise when commenting on this album’s story is the unmistakeable sign of desperation. Despite the fact that at no point during this piece of work does the mood ever acclimatise to completely eliminate those demons that vocalist, Jakob Berglund, speaks of lyrically, everything about The Rifts is an evident aggrieved scream for help.
‘Infants’, a personal favourite track of the album obviously intended for self-reflection, clocks in at just over nine minutes and manages to captivate its audience for at least seven of those minutes before the depressing tone becomes too overwhelming; if you ask me seven minutes is pretty impressive considering that the average song lasts around a third of that time. The layering and modulation of this arrangement is gradual and yet simultaneously effortless; the sheer musicianship exhibited in this piece is something that should be noted by the majority of MTV’s supposed ‘biggest hit stars’ (Miley Cyrus, I hope you’re reading this!).
As illustrated in the band’s previous album, The Rifts continues to maintain A Swarm of Sun’s identity of being a band generating music with a sense of purpose. Although the wait has been somewhat eternal for this album, it has indisputably been worth it. During the years that the band have been dormant, it’s evident that they have evolved significantly as their new masterpiece certainly pushes musical boundaries with the participation of so many obscure instruments accompanying the intense lyrics which they are renowned for.
I haven’t quite decided what message I have acquired from this album; do I feel empowered and ready to make a difference to my life or do I feel encouraged to waste away in self-pity with a tub of BOGOF Ben and Jerry’s in front of the Gavin and Stacey box set that I’ve played for the sixth time this week? Whichever of the two it may be, what’s sadly apparent is that The Rifts fails to develop enough in order to hypnotise its listener into altering their emotions for more than the 53 minutes which the album runs for. While some of the tracks, in particular, ‘The Warden’, are irrefutably thought provoking, they’re not the sort of songs that you’d be in a hurry to listen to unless you’re going through a mid-life crisis and are definitely the opposite of something you’d want to be left alone on repeat with unless you were already planning on using the cord to your computer mouse as a noose.
7.5 out of 10
- There’s Blood on Your Hands
- The Nurse
- The Warden
- The Rifts
- These Depths Were Always Meant for Both of Us
- All the Love and Glory