ALBUM REVIEW: Dawn of Solace – Waves

The ingenuity, inventiveness, and inclination of Finnish artist Tuomas Saukkonen appears to have no limits. He is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, and producer who has been making music magic for a considerable amount of years. One of his many successful ventures is a solo project called Dawn of Solace. Tuomas released his first record, Darkness (Dead Air Records) in 2006 and the betwiching gloom he captured on that release was different from all his other works. Now it’s time to get another taste of this project’s gothic goodness on the new album, Waves (Noble Demon). Continue reading

Children of Bodom – Swallow The Sun – Wolfheart: Live at The Masquerade, Atlanta GA

Deep in the Underground Atlanta, the city’s favorite entertainment district rests When you mention this venue’s name, most alternative artists will know exactly where you’re talking about. This iconic, massive building has three indoor venues that are cleverly called Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. The largest room, Heaven, opened its doors last Thursday for the mighty Children of Bodom. Finland’s Melodic Death Metal masters, CoB recently released their tenth studio album, Hexed. This run of North American shows is promoting this new record and the band brought some fantastic Finnish friends to play with them. Along with Swallow the Sun and Wolfheart, Hotlanta was in for a night of sweet, savage, Scandinavian Metal. Continue reading

Wolfheart – Constellation Of The Black Light

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. Continue reading

Wolfheart – Tyhjyys

Self-proclaimed purveyors of “Winter Metal”, Finland’s Wolfheart were formed in 2012 by multi-instrumentalist and producer Tuomas Saukkonen. Taking the decision to disband his many other ongoing musical interests, acts like Before The Dawn, Black Sun Aeon, Dawn of Solace, and RoutaSielu were all laid to rest so that Wolfheart could live. Continue reading

Wolfheart – Shadow World

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Let’s start with the good points. Shadow World (Spinefarm Records) by Wolfheart is really well produced. It sounds lovely. Excellent, rich guitar & bass tones, and you could drive a bus through the space Tuomas Saukkonen has created between each part, even during the thrashy bits. If you’re not familiar with Scandinavian sound desk virtuosos, it’s seriously impressive.

However, if like me you are familiar with such bands, then (unless you’re Saukkonen fan or an obsessive collector of the blackened scene) I think you’ll find Shadow World slightly underwhelming.

If Death Metal had elevators, this would be the soundtrack.

When a band with a bruising great unit of a frontman (Saukkonen) is describing themselves as “Winter Metal” and their label is promising “mesmerizing melodies graceful enough to stop the listener in their tracks, along with the most furious of frostbites to finish him or her off.”, I want to hear blizzards, geysers and exploding icebergs. Sadly, you get none of these things here. This album’s more like a steaming cup of Horlicks.

The album opens up with a (presumably wintry) bit of ivory tickling before ‘Aeon of Cold’ starts off with a kid’s portion of Immortal-lite blasting, developing with standard-issue Death/Black metal vocals into the overly long see-saw chord progressions on half-time drums so typical of the blackened sound. There’s a cavernous, full-of-echo midsection with more ivory and then we’re riding the see-saw until the end.

It’s the same story for the next two tracks – both follow the same pattern with a different arrangement. Sure, there’s a few riffs here and there, but these are middle-eights & breaks when they should be hooks. Boo.

‘Last of all Winters’ breaks the mould but threatens to banish the listener to the Land of Nod. ‘Abyss’ starts to raise the game, finding something of a pulse that persists into ‘Resistance’ but it’s too little too late. If you weren’t asleep before ‘Abyss’ kicked in, the last song ‘Veri’ will have you in the Kingdom of Morpheus before the intro is done.

 

5.0/10

 

PHILIP PAGE

Wolfheart – Winterborn

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When songwriter and producer Tuomas Saukkonen wound down his previous melodic death metal vehicles Black Sun Aeon and the more well-known Before The Dawn it was with the intent to put together an act to be even more successful, more focused and for the component parts of all his musical projects to date to be brought together in one central outpouring. Initially a solo project that has developed into a fully-fledged band, Wolfheart initially self-released Winterborn within their native Finland only in 2013.

With acclaim aplenty surrounding the self-release, it is no surprise that Saukkonen is celebrating signing to Finnish powerhouse label Spinefarm by agreeing to re-release the début to begin the build up to their hotly anticipated sophomore album, due later this year. But just what is it flicking the bean of the lupus-hearted?

Quintessentially Scandinavian (and pretty obviously Finnish) Winterborn sees Wolfheart pulling together all the elements of melodic death metal that we all know and love, from galloping rhythms, gravel-throated vocals, memorable leads, at times aching, and melancholic chord sequences to darker, more epic songs, stretching and slowing the pace. While Insomnium may be the leaders of this particular pack, Wolfheart are ready to pounce and tear out their throat and assume pack-master status at the first sign of weakness, with songs like ‘Strength & Valour’ and ‘Ghosts of Karelia’ summoning powerful and rousing uptempo riffs, followed shortly after by the more expansive ‘Chasm’.

With two bonus tracks (‘Isolation’ is a keys and acoustic reflective instrumental interlude and ‘Into The Wild’ more traditional Wolfheartian Katatonia meets early Amorphis fare) being the carrot dangled in front of your donkey faces, along with the album (legally) being available outside Finland for the first time, there isn’t much to tempt you to pick this up if you already have a copy, whether obtained by hook(y) or by crook. But if the fangs of this particular canine haven’t sunk into your brain yet, and Scandinavian melodic death metal is the fur coat that keeps your ears warm of a winter evening you could do far worse than pick this up.

 

7.5/10

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STEVE TOVEY

Nonexistence – Antartica

Nonexistence - AnarticaAustrian musician Philip Santoll bore his solo project Nonexistence into this world with the excellently received Nihil back in 2007 but since then he has been a little on the quiet side. Thankfully, that silence wrought the impressive Antarctica; a work in which Santoll brought on board Finnish artist Tuomas Saukkonen (Before the Dawn, Black Sun Aeon) in order to produce and offer creative input for the first time in Nonexistence’s life. Saukkonen also lends his talents to the bass and drums on the record and the effect of the collaboration is felt across the entirety of Antarcticafrom the steady thrum that the bass injects to proceedings to the monolithic weight of the work as a whole. Continue reading