Gotta mention that I´ve been a fan of outputs bearing the Tuomas Saukkonen quality seal for quite a while, and this third Black Sun Aeon CD confirms once again this overall good impression. The basic idea was to mix the massive sound of symphonic Black Metal, Death/Industrial brutality and the melancholy of Finnish Melodic Rock, which worked out nicely already with prevours BSA releases. Now in comparison Blacklight Deliverance caters best to my personal taste.
The introduction to “Brothers” bears the maestro´s trademark - this wistful crystal clear guitar, leading into an onslaught of symphonic Black Metal massivity, garnished with brutal growls by Mynni Luukkainen. Still the main theme develops to a soft catchy and very melancholic tune where Janica Lönn (who gave her guest vocal debut on the previous Routa CD) adds beautiful back vocals. Already with this track I rather associate another older (and unfortunately no longer active) Saukkonen band project Dawn of Solace - however, the sound remains in the BSA tradition.
"Solitude" is a real masterpiece (check the music video) and you should feel some gooseflesh at the latest when the duet Janica Lönn and clean singer Mikko Heikkilä begins. Mikko´s crystal voice and Janicas soft yet darkish timbre create a wonderful harmony (and there´s also growls in the background). That lady can do some powerful rock vocals, too - a real new asset to this band.
A pretty Folk-ish tune contrasts evil growls, later Janica´s voice comes in, too - which adds a lot to this Pagan Metal feeling. "Sheol" is one of the tougher tracks here. "Oblivion" grooves much more headbanger-friendly and could also pass for a Before The Dawn song - again a great duet Mikko - Janica. The sound of "Horizon" clearly goes symphonic Black Metal; the mood, however, is rather set to Doom.
"Wasteland" gives a peculiar cynical feeling, despite the acoustic parts in the beginning (guitar, piano). Then an inferno sporting Mynni´s growl vocals is unleashed, later balanced with soft melodic ear-candy (Keyboard) parts. The final "Nightfall" could be labelled Power-Ballade - Janica and Mikko doing an awsome job transforming a touching catchy tune without drifting into Kitsch. Moreover, those growls and blast beats will surely drive away the tears in your eyes. At least for a while, until the lonely piano starts to play...
Summary: A must-have - great melancholic tunes and just the right dose of aggression and brutality to create this certain kind of gloom that hits your heart and soul right away. You want to listen to it again, again, and then once again... well, 10/10 would have been an option -
BUT because Tuomas refused to explain that symbol in the center of Before The Dawn logo (see STALKER interview), I take my revenge and 0,5 points off!!
HAHA, no, of course that´s not the real reason - I simply try to keep at least a tiny margin left to the ultimate top ranking - for future Saukkonen releases. You never know, this guy always seems to outclass himself with every new CD...