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Even if you are familiar with other band projects of the prolific Finnish musician Tuomas Saukkonen (Before The Dawn, Dawn Of Solace, The Final Harvest) you´ll prick your ears hearing this one. And journalists better don´t even try to give it any sort of defining label...
After a (treacherously) soft piano intro (a la Paradise Lost, the band, Draconian Times) you´ll get the rough stuff, brute but still highly melodic - it could be compared with Black Metal, in terms of epic sounds, orchestrality, keyboard-backdrop and this sinister melancholy. There´s also a touch of (Finnish) Folk and Prog. Some Gothenborg Sound. And aggression. Passion. And ...more stuff. Still somehow surprising and "not what you expected", but still there are those hook lines or tunes, a guitar sound that clearly bears Tuomas´ unique signiture and creates a bridge to his other better known projects (e.g. the rather doomy Chapter 8 to Dawn Of Solace).
The vocals - the well-known mix of clean and growl voices, yet more complex arrangement here in this case - have the intensity of Emo-Icons like My Chemical Romance / 30 Seconds To Mars. As soon as you identify a song "like something by Satyricon" (Chapter 5 or 7), there will be a twist, like a drum-part departing from genre-typical blast-beats and taking the whole track to a total different dimension. And if soft tunes lull you to a relaxed position, beware, the following heavy riffs will kick you off the sofa - literally. Different moods and voices (Tomi Koivusaari - Amorphis, Ville Sorvali - Moonsorrow, Mynni Luukkainen - Sotajumala, Sinamore´s Mikko Heikkilä sings the Clean Vocals) add to the atmosphere of a "Soundtrack", a "Miniture-Metal-Opera", despite the fact that there isn´t really something like a connecting story. Yet the lyrics with their apocalyptic-pessimistic view provide associations to "Paradise Lost" (the book, by Milton) in sort-of telegram-style. Onother fact supports the "Metal-Opera" idea - "Darkness Walks Beside Me" consists of 9 "Chapters".
Summing up, no "easy listening" material, this CD demands more runs to be digested... but then there lurks the danger of getting heavily addicted to it, just like with pretty much all other projects of Mr. T.S... Well, I´m just curious how Black Sun Aeon could be pulled off live, as the mastermind has (again) recorded all instruments by himself (Lead and Rythm guitars, Acoustic guitars, Drums and Percussions, Bass, Keyboards) and Dark Vocals...
PS: Die-Hard Before The Dawn-Fans, watch out, insider-competition - who finds more hidden references? I discovered only 5 ...
Chapter 1. (A song for the introduction)
Chapter 2. (A song for my wrath)
Chapter 3. (A song for my demise)
Chapter 4. (A song for my sorrow)
Chapter 5. (A song for my weakness)
Chapter 6. (A song for this winter)
Chapter 7. (A song for my illness)
Chapter 8. (A song for my funeral)
Chapter 9. (A song for the one who passed away 4.9.2008)