Gothic Metal from Portugal? That cannot work out, can it? OK, MOONSPELL are from down there, SIRIUS, CANDLE SERENADE... Yes, yes, I'll take it all back.
"Swallow" is the second album of the sextet and after the debut "Diva" had been quite good I hoped for a nice listen. Well, I got that one, but so much more...
What the Lusitanians are firing off here, is Gothic Metal of highest quality, no lachrymose or sweet synth-atmosphere, maybe with a soprano, no, no, this here has real style! "Heartquake" sets off with crunchy guitars, the keyboards complement them very well and vocally we have a clean voice of middle pitch, Ernesto really has worked on it... "Soulsister" features just this voice together with understandable, yet somewhat growly voice, while the music varies between nice heavy guitars and calm, piano-underlaid passages.
Speaking of piano... "Rain Of July" starts out with the rushing of rain, before the piano sets in, just to then contrast with nicely crispy guitars again, before turning into a mid-paced song with rough vox, typical Gothic Metal-guitars and this piano again, brilliant!
After "Suicidal Letters" and "Shadowflower" offered us very good Gothic Metal, too, "Luna" is the next absolute highlight of this album. After a calm start with clean guitars and a doomy rhythm, Ernesto sets in with his deep voice during the verse, before the chorus suddenly gets epic, underlaid with keyboards and then Kai Hansen's equally brilliant and unmistakable voice, great, simply great! And the end of the album is just as awesome with "Downcast". Very calm in the verse, with Ernesto's deep and Liv Kristine's (THEATRE OF TRAGEDY) frail female vocals, until suddenly thundering mid-tempo-double-bass, crunchy guitars rough vocals and again Kai Hansen set in. The dynamics of this song alone - many bands would love to get something like that on a whole album!
One of the best Gothic Metal-albums I have ever heard, hands down, HEAVENWOOD's "Swallow" already now is somehow almost a classic...