Formed in Lahti, Finland in 2012, melodic Death Metal act Wolfheart was originally created as a solo project by producer and multi-instrumentalist Tuomas Saukkonen after the dissolution of his other musical ventures, Before The Dawn, Black Sun Aeon, Dawn of Solace, and RoutaSielu.
Playing all of the instruments on Winterborn, the band’s 2013 independently released debut, Saukkonen recruited guitarist Mika Lammassaari for some additional lead work before hiring him on a more permanent basis. Bassist Lauri Silvonen and drummer Joonas Kauppinen joined shortly after, completing the line-up and releasing their second album Shadow World in 2015.
The excellent Tyhjyys (both Spinefarm) followed in 2017, and now just over a year later, the self-proclaimed purveyors of “Winter Metal” return with their latest offering, Constellation of the Black Light (Napalm).
Beginning with the gentle but atmospheric ringing of an acoustic guitar, the epic ten minute opener ‘Everlasting Fall’ soon becomes an avalanche of riffs, drums, strings and melancholic guitar solos, the whole package tied together by Saukkonen’s impressive guttural roar. The sensational ‘Breakwater’ begins with a furious, almost Black Metal level of intensity before slowing down and becoming something equally as dramatic.
After a minute of questioning the quality of your speakers, ‘The Saw’ chugs and grinds away lugubriously, while ‘Forge With Fire’, features an excellent couple of riffs, and warm swathes of piano which give the song an almost Dark Tranquillity vibe in places. Alas, not a cover of the Manowar classic, ‘Defender’ is nonetheless a darkly enjoyable track full of dread and foreboding. The band pile on the speed again for the thunderously intense ‘Warfare’, before ‘Valkyrie’ closes the album in tremendous style.
Crushingly heavy and quietly introspective, it’s wintry mood heightened by orchestral flourishes and a sweeping sense of icy melancholia, Constellation of the Black Light not only succeeds in being a worthy follow-up to Tyhjyys, but leaves the listener already anticipating the next chapter in the band’s snow-capped story.