Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Release Date: 11th October 2013
Finnish multi-instrumentalist Tuomas Saukkonen made it big with his former band BEFORE THE DAWN, that employed rather successful mix of strong metal sound, growling and clean vocals. Tuomas is a workaholic and a master of guitars and drums, to say the least, and is a prominent figure of Finnish metal scene. Teaming up with a bunch of colleagues, he made some other projects, all very influenced by his preferred music style - melodic death metal with a northern attitude - BLACK SUN AEON, DAWN OF SOLACE, ROUTASIELU and few others. Yet he decided to stop everything lately in order focus on WOLFHEART, his latest project. "Now when Before The Dawn is done it was logical for me to clean the table at once and start building something from scratch again." - says Tuomas in kaaoszine.fi interview. He rather clearly knows where to put an end on old styles and re-organize things towards some future goals. Speaking of which, he mentions that some people disapproved the new band's name, but still, he is the one that does not disapproves it a bit, and it is for certain that it will stick well. Like BLACK SUN AEON, Tuomas did a huge job playing all the instruments for the most part, but also Mika Lammasaari from well-known ETERNAL TEARS OF SORROW joined him for five songs.
The overall direction of the record is a pleasant mix of complex, melodic guitars, growling, sometimes fast and fierce, sometimes melancholic. Even though BEFORE THE DAWN style is replaced by some heavier one, it is certain that some clean melodic contributes heaviness very well. I am very pleased that it is impossible to find dull, heavy and monotonously boring sound on the release, where melodic parts are done by clear guitars. But even if I say "clean guitars" do not expect "cheesy", light parts here - the melodic parts are powerful, dynamic and heavy, accompanied by some really fast drumming. The impression I have from emotional side, it's a bit of sorrowful, clearly melodic and clearly speaks of strength. Lyrics are fight-themed, but again, expect no borrowings from popular sources or using clichés - it's a more "metaphysical" fight with something "larger than life", rather just with some particular enemy. Traditionally, the omnious, frosty dark northern winter becomes the background for the texts.
The album has strong unity in style, and every song is well composed and well tied together, so I never feel as if I want to skip some seconds in order "jump" to just one best part of it. But I like to do my highlights, find some power songs that stand out to my taste. The first song, 'The Hunt' - I so like Tuomas' trademark high-pitching, vibrato guitars in the first part. 'Strength and Valor' - fast, complex, "full forward" song where composer seem to be not afraid of doing a pretty complex things with sound to get the right result out. A violin in the Routa pt.2 intro is very welcoming, its deep melody fits well with the album direction, replaced later by blast beat and dark melody of the song. Being one of the longest tracks, I'd pick this one as a signature song of the release - beautiful, melancholic, sometimes fierce, sometimes slow, and using great deal of techniques and instruments.
As a photographer myself, I also would note a particularly successful and unusual promo kit of the band, made by metal singer and photographer Janica Lonn. Instead of exploiting common approaches, Tuomas (as he done already before) aims for visual quality, for strong fitting imagery, and the images are taken on some snowy hills, where a "timeless warrior" wanders together with his hunting dog. I must say they blend greatly with the music material and contribute something to the whole thing. I firmly believe, that it is important not just to listen to some tracks, but understand its creator. Therefore I feel like sharing couple of Tuomas' latest interviews: Tuskasi / Nocleansinging. The release gig took place on October 11, 2013 in Nosturi, Helsinki. The album can be streamed here.
Watch the official video for ‘Routa pt.2’:
01. The Hunt
02. Strenght And Valour
03. Routa pt.2
04. Gale Of Winter
06. Ghosts Of Karelia
Tuomas Saukkonen: All music, lyrics and instruments
Total: 8.5 / 10