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Crimson Swan : Unlit

Crimson Swan's debut full-length shines like a beacon of promise amidst the pouring rainfall of the mundane.

Following the release of their 2012 EP, 'Icon', Hamburg, Germany's Crimson Swan return with 'Unlit'; their first full-length effort. The album opens with a typical Gothic Doom trope: the sound of heavy rainfall. However, 'Unlit' is anything but typical.

From beginning to end, listeners are taken on a journey through some of the most notable Doom subgenres. The first song, 'Fade to Nothingness' is unquestionably the most adherently "gothic" throughout. It starts off with a haunting female vocal line, followed by crisp piano and synth, and then finally kicks in with a heavily distorted guitar. This song also boasts the most memorable chorus of the entire album. The title track and 'Accusations' both take on Death Doom seamlessly, and I'm reminded of heavyweights Swallow The Sun. By the time the closer track, 'Voidhaven' arrives, we've hit Funeral Doom square on. The dirge-like keyboards, excruciatingly slow drums, mournful guitar riffs and drawn-out guttural vocals are reminiscent of early Ahab or even Shape Of Despair.

In terms of sheer musicianship, Crimson Swan does not fail to impress. The guitar work is some of the best I've heard in awhile. One riff will be crushingly intense while the next is melodic and sorrowful; none of which are easily forgettable. Quite often, the piano and keyboard playing takes a more upfront approach rather than being buried behind the guitars. This is especially pleasing, as it brings to mind Pantheist and Clouds. Well-rounded vocals explore a full range, from clean singing to screeching highs to harsh death growls. Female guest vocals are featured on several tracks providing tasteful harmonic texture without the overly-used "beauty and the beast" aesthetic.

As a debut full-length, 'Unlit' shines like a beacon of promise amidst the pouring rainfall of the mundane. If this is any indication of the outstanding doom to come from Crimson Swan, I am already anticipating their sophomore release. We can only hope that future first-timers take a lesson.

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Reviewer's rating: 9.5/10


Tracklist :
1. Fade To Nothingness
2. A Waterfall Of Sorrow
3. Words Of Perdition
4. Unlit
5. Accusations
6. Voidhaven

Duration : Approx. 54 minutes

Visit the Crimson Swan bandpage.

Reviewed on 2015-03-28 by Chris Hood
Rotten Copper
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