Formerly a one-man mission, Before The Dawn was founded in 1999 by Tuomas Saukkonen after his ambitions and interests as a drummer diversified. But despite increasing in members before debut album My Darkness and going on to carve the critically acclaimed 4:17AM, Saukkonen ousted everyone for motivational reasons and returned with a new line-up in 2005. Six-years have gone by and now with their fourth record since then, the Finns show no signs of seizing up just yet.
Twelve years as father of this project, Saukkonen and his talented company prove with Deathstar Rising that they can poignantly craft something that bleeds dark but runs beautiful. An exceptional mix of melodic death metal and gothic metal might provoke prejudgement from any death metal (or even melodeath) sticklers who are hellbent with one intent – to headbang untl they’re red with rage and waking up the next day with their neck feeling like Andre The Giant just stood on it. So let’s get it straight from the start.
For anyone trying to get the general gist – this certainly ain’t no Deicide or Obituary. But if you think more along the lines of Amorphis with small hints of Placebo (they have actually covered The Bitter End) then there’s a good chance you’ll really enjoy this one.
The First Snow introduces us unassumingly with melancholic acoustic guitar formulating a lovely introduction that thumps head-first into the second track Winter Within. Give it a matter of seconds and the mix of careful lead, gruff screams, clean vocals and accessible riffing all come together nicely to execute a captivating formula sure to at least induce a curiosity or possibly even a hunger to hear more.
With a few listens later you soon realise that the latter unavoidably establishes itself after each track. Increasingly mesmerised, you might hit half way point after the impressive Unbroken with your cynical eye cautiously prepared, only to find yourself dilated with a fantastically melodious assembly of guitars on Judgement.
The form continues with wailing, shivery harmonies on Sanctuary before Wreith ends characteristically – with a fine balance constituting some of the heaviest work on the record with an acoustic fade-out. Absorbing the savoury spoils of gothic metal and using them to emotionally electrify melodeath, Deathstar Rising has the potential to please ears loyal to either genre, but more importantly has the power to drop the jaw of previous pessimists.