Before The Dawn = Tuomas Saukkonen + Lars Eikind. Yeah, it´s that simple. A collaboration between a skilled and very productive composer / multi-instrumentalist and a brilliant singer cannot leave listeners with bad impressions. During more than ten years of the band´s existence, mastermind Tuomas endured a lot, including lack of attention, poor contracts, various line-up changes and other disasters, which he has always answered with hard work – this just had to pay off. And it did, first in a stable line-up (guitarrist Juho Räihä and drummer Atte Palokangas) and then in a deal with Nuclear Blast issuing their sixth album "Deathstar Rising".
The idea behind Tuomas´ music may seem quite simple - “darkness and melancholy”. Despite revolving around more or less the same subjects, his works are surprisingly never repetitive, but rather take on new incarnations with each new band (e.g. Black Sun Aeon); each project has a firm and precise vision of how it should sound and what it should represent.
Therefore with first tunes of "Deathstar Rising" one can undoubtedly say "yes, it´s Before The Dawn and nothing else!" While new elements are brought in with each new release, the "core", which can roughly be described as "a mix of unusually uplift and eerie cleans with dark, aggressive music and harshes" remains intact. What´s different this time: the album consists of mostly fast, dynamic and elegant songs, and there´s less of the familiar "mid-tempo direction". Most of those around 4,5 min, which allowed Tuomas to put more linking passages and elements and refine the compositional architecture. The production is very clean and smooth, a perfect embodiment of "Finnish sound" in Metal.
Lars Eikind (of Norwegian Winds fame, introduced on the „Ghost“ album) remains the main "melody provider", and on "Deathstar Rising" his vocal share increased greatly (there´s even one song without Tuomas´ harsh vocals, "Sanctuary"). His voice has this distinctive heart-touching style - melodies when sung by Lars become simply incredible. Besides Tuomas´ guitar skills, those inspiring riffs and impressive leads, supplemented with well-timed acoustic guitars, one has to mention the band´s second guitarist and long-time sound engineer Juho Räihä, whose solos are sharp and filled with passion. 40 minutes literally stuffed with highlights and remarkable moments, among the best of which is an acoustic intro, "The First Snow", fluently evolving into the prime killer, "Winter Within" with its ace chorus and top-notch guitars; "Deathstar" marks Lars most prominent vocal work and the closing "Wraith" has a gorgeous chanting in its end, right before the acoustic finale.
This CD is a worthy step after "Soundscape of Silence", a ´must have´ for everyone who loves Finnish melodic melancholy.
01. The First Snow
02. Winter Within
07. The Wake
09. Butterfly Effect
11. Infinity (Bonus track from 1st demo 1998) ***
12. My Room (Acoustic) (Bonus track) ***
13. Unbreakable (Live) (Bonus track) ***
14. The Black (Live) (Bonus track) ***
*** Only on European version