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Returning from time apart to a world forever changed, dread-fuelled duo A Swarm of the Sun bring with them their fourth studio album, ‘An Empire’; its brooding, yet beautiful, melancholic narrative arc allows the band to dig ever deeper into desolation whilst a newfound lyrical focus adds a tenderness that is both harrowing and heartwarming at once.

RELEASE DATE: 6th of September, 2024

Hailing from Stockholm, Sweden; Erik Nilsson and Jakob Berglund have been producing inimitable, sombre soundscapes as A Swarm of the Sun for 17 years. A series of monumental albums, 2010’s groundbreaking debut ‘Zenith’, post-metal masterpiece ‘The Rifts’ in 2015 and its breathtakingly stark Follow up ‘The Woods’ in 2019 have seen the understated outfit carve out their own uncompromisingly bleak place within the international heavy scene.

With the early bones of forthcoming ‘An Empire’ tabled by events beyond their control in 2019, Erik and Jakob came together years later and scrapped them in favour of creating something entirely new; something distinctly different to break the cycle, defy categorisation and reflect the uncomfortable uncertainties of the times we now live in.

The result is astounding; continuing the thread of narrative composition seen on ‘The Woods’, ‘An Empire’ is a six-track tale told in four distinct movements that are nothing short of devastating, from plaintive piano ballads to raw, full-band fury.

Previously used to setting ‘ground rules’ or establishing a thematic framework for each project, the unexpected slow-burn process and surrounding air of trepidation meant that the A Swarm of the Sun’s rules for ‘An Empire’ were written as the album took on form. One early direction was to develop the album’s instrumentation purely in terms of texture; refining its sounds without compromising for the sake of convenience of familiarity. As such, ‘An Empire’ sees the band achieve a remarkable depth of orchestration that feels at once comforting and alien.

Whilst providing vocals, guitars, synth textures, piano, vibraphone, harmonium and musical saw parts themselves, Erik and Jakob are joined once again by long-time collaborators Karl Daniel Lidén (drums, mixing/mastering), Anders Carlström (bass) and Minna Larsson Heimo (pipeorgan) whilst also welcoming Vilhelm Weréen on trombone to produce an utterly unique sonic palette that crucially also leaves latent space for Jakob’s voice to shine. Taken from the album’s third side, lead single ‘The Burning Wall’ embodies this sprawling compositional feat perfectly, with the painfully frank opening couplet of “I know I fail you / I know that I run” establishing a gripping narrative trajectory backed by a simmering, impatient pulse that slowly and inevitably rises to an inescapable crescendo of cymbal chaos and wall-of-sound guitar drone.

Elsewhere, 18-minute epic ‘The Pyre’ represents Side B of ‘An Empire’ with the confessional intimacy of a waltz-time ballad; the raw, wavering emotion of Jakob’s words accompanied only by a haunting, lilting piano refrain before it too is consumed by the bittersweet might of post-rock euphoria to leave only embers of the apocalyptic lyrics in its wake…

‘An Empire’ marks a significant evolution of A Swarm of the Sun’s already indelible post-metal sound. With increasingly bleak times forcing the band to reassess their relationship with creativity and suffering, this new body of work captures all the anthemic, intimate highs and crushing, debilitating lows of modern life on a knife edge.


1. This Will End In Fire
2. Heathen
3. The Pyre
4. An Empire
5. The Burning Wall
6. Anthem