The Woods was my introduction to A Swarm of the Sun’s work. I hadn’t heard of the band before this, but when I looked them up and checked out some of their previous work, they caught my interest enough to give their latest offering a try.
The Woods is being released January 11 through Version Studio Records and features a deceptively short, three-track lineup, though each song is well over ten minutes and goes through ebbs and flows and movement-like sections. They’re long without being longwinded.
“Blackout,” the intro track, is a slow-burning, somber instrumental piece, slowly adding layers and weight as the track moves forward and doing an excellent job of setting the mood. The title track grows to a raucous and heavy soundscape by the end, and “An Heir to the Throne” features folky ambience and tribal drums before again building to a heavy, almost post-black ending.
Tying everything together is this sobering, mourning, almost awe-struck mood. The Woods is bleak and moving and fits together as a whole piece. As a whole the album moves back and forth between calm and crushing weight, staying just shy of frantic hopelessness, and deserves to be taken as a whole piece.