„It´s well-known that Finnish winters are dark. And that Finland is the origin of many brilliant musicians. And by now you also know that Before The Dawn Mastermind Tuomas Saukkonen is a workaholic.“
Those are the opening lines of my last year´s review of the predecessor of this „Routa“ (Ground Frost) CD, „Darkness Walks Beside Me“. A pretty up-to-date statement that even increased its currentness.
During the toughest Finnish winter in 40 years Tuomas retreated to compose about 80 min of majestic Dark-Doom/Death Metal hymns. Indeed a one-of-a-kind project. Those 14 Songs are spread on 2 CDs (double-album) and thus create two completely independent works. One that underlines the majestic beauty of winter „Talviaamu“ (Wintermorning) and the other „Talviyö“ (Winternight) revealing the frost, darkness and cruelty of a Finnish winter.
A concept album that simultaneously gives you both aspects, day and night.
After the intro, referring to sunrise, „Core of Winter“ begins with clean vocals, again performed by Mikko Heikkilä (Sinamore). Melancholic yet not depressing, and dominated by melodies that are indeed ear candy – this characterizes not only the first track of„Routa | Talviaamu“. „Frozen“ starts a bit faster and with a more sinister touch, the chorus yet impresses with light playfulness. Those are the main characteristics of CD nr 1, you are reminded – despite of upcoming spring – of the beautiful winter moments. The title track „Routa“ shows clearly one typical aspect of Finnish song writers – the gift to use a re-occurring theme in a way it doesn´t become boring. Here aggression is combined with melody, blast beats with Folk-ish guitar themes. Finnish vocals add to that special mood of this song. Female guest vocals by Janica Lönn (Lunar Path) are added to „Dead Sun Aeon“.
Now„Routa | Talviyö“ is much more sinister, the intro as well as „Funeral of the World“. The musical focus is much more on rhythm, and Tuomas´ dark vocals underline also the clean vocals in the chorus that is much less melodic than those on CD Nr. 1. CD 2 is dominated clearly by the dark side. Considering that BLACK SUN AEON unites a variety of musical aspects, you could call that one a mixture of all dark styles of Metal. And just to mention, especially the guitar work reveals that when the label indicates Tuomas Saukkonen, you´ll indeed get the content T. Saukkonen ;-)
„Talviyö“ focuses on atmosphere, power and diversity, there´s not only thrashing but also dirty Rock, without losing this cold sinister, almost hopeless basic theme. Just listen to e.g. „Frozen Kingdom“, „Core of Winter“,
Summary: „Routa“ is not only a worthy follow-up to „Darkness Walks Beside Me“ but also the perfect development of a project (well, you cannot really call it a band). When the musical result is always somenthing like that, you should be wishing for the next real tough winter.
Disc 1: (Talviaamu)
1. Core of Winter
5. Wreath of Ice
6. Dead Sun Aeon
Disc 2: (Talviyö)
1. Funeral of the World
3. Frozen Kingdom
5. The Beast
7. Apocalyptic Reveries