Swallowed – Lunaterial

Today, you know what?  You know what guys and girls?  It’s time for complete destruction of everything.  Let’s tear it all down, let’s rip out this thing called a soul that we don’t believe in anyway and burn it into metaphysical ashes.  Let’s take this thing called order and obliterate it and whatever remains we’ll consider it the new megalith to worship.  And here it is, Lunaterial by the mighty Swallowed.  Coming from Finland, these guys have only been around since roughly 2007, but really didn’t start to make the world a more darkened place until the publication of their self-titled EP in 2010.  Good stuff, to be sure, and full of agonizing promise in corruption.  Unfortunately, they took a hiatus from recording for four years, and then this sickness spewed from their inner voids this past October.  Perhaps they were lying in wait, perhaps it took that long to piece it together, or perhaps we needed that much time to feel prepared to speak of its existence.  Let’s say it at the beginning, this is totally inaccessible to most listeners, and for that reason alone it deserves the highest form of worship, self-sacrifice.


Lunaterial causes us to do bad things.  Up there we just fell into depressing self-pity in front of you, quite a humbling experience, but that’s because this is a humbling album.  It’s humbling because you were completely unprepared going in, and after, well, basically there’s no coming back.  Nothing will ever compare, ever again, until they release another one.  Swallowed, just, wow, that name captures so much of their sound and essence it’s easily one of the most accurate band names ever penned.  They’re like imbibing a dense poison, opening your maw and letting in all the bad things of the world in a dark funnel of liquid, like a whirlpool that digs into the center of your spiritual existence.  The great thing is you can’t easily place these guys much of anywhere, though they do bounce from doom to black metal, albeit with a heavy, and we mean heavy, dose of anarchy.


Lunaterial is almost impossible to grasp at first, and that alone makes it a perfect release, but let us continue.  There are moments of clarity, but for the most part Swallowed forces it down your throat without lubrication, your blood through the process will be enough for that.  The structures rely on devastating, completely destroyed chording, drums that verge on noise, and soul-devouring lyrics delivered with thick echo at varying levels of screams and death rattles.  It’s a virtual phantasm of an album until you go through it at least a second time.  The moments they permit any structure are quickly pounded into dust and ground with blood to create the next step in human evolution.  And the way it’s been built, my God, wait, no, clearly such a being is dead after listening to this, but in case they weren’t ground into the same bone/blood stew mentioned prior, the final track makes it so.  Swallowed’s entire presence is confounding, a brief opener leads into five tracks of varying lengths, and then “Libation” goes over twenty minutes alone.  It’s almost a separate album in itself, yet clearly connected to the rest.  Consider it the conclusion to an epic poem about the decay of being and nothingness.  Lunaterial is certainly nothing for the usual listener of black metal, doom, or practically any type of “extreme” metal.  This goes beyond extreme to excessive.  Seriously, after listening to this it’s like nothing will ever compare in depth, atmosphere, and concept, ever again.  It’s all straw now, anything else is merely to start a greater fire, so burn it, only Swallowed remains.


Swallowed Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Swallowed – Lunaterial
Dark Descent Records
5 / 5