Before The Dawn return with their sixth sonic statement, and first for Nuclear Blast Records. Three years have transpired since the release of 'Soundscape Of Silence', and much maturation and improvement in the songwriting has occurred. Tuomas Saukkonen has taken his band to the next intended level. When I recently interviewed him, he willingly detailed the development and progression of his band.
One may wonder if the title of the new album has any connotation with the actual Death Star from the "Star Wars Universe", but as a loyal fan of this mettle milieu, I quickly learned from Tuomas that any comparison with the Sith and tyranny of the Empire was unfounded, and purely coincidental. This being stated, the melodic elements of the band and their musical "force" can be felt, and the dark empirical essence is never missed.
The explanations, whys, and wherefores of the message expressed by the band are not mere just flights of fancy, but Tuomas' own personal dark reflections on his own headspace and growing concern that 'Deathstar Rising' would be in fact the band's own swansong. Thankfully, now this is no longer the case.
I am new to the sounds and whispers of Before The Dawn, and their new album is the only music I have heard in its entirety thus far. However, now, after experiencing them, and with Judas as my guide, I can understand my duty to this beast. Therefore I resolve to learn more, and I plan to further explore their catalogue. Interestingly enough, I do not detect that Gothic presence, which I had assumed to coexist; judging from the statements and comments of other reviewers. In fact, there are no female vocals or any strong keyboard remembrances.
Upon my first rotation, wait who am I kidding, this is digital; so when I first heard the music I was not impressed. I however, chose to persevere and remain open minded. The more I really began to listen, and not just tolerate the mindless thrumming with my predetermined bias, the more I began to appreciate what the band is attempting to procreate with their wicked rhythms and bane profanations, mixed with passion and esculent and mellifluent melodies.
The album opens up with the acoustic intro ''The First Snow'', which is a very relaxing and tranquil way to initiate the listener into the gates of slumber; only to encounter the wake from within. Suddenly a chills runs down my spine as I delve into ''Winter Within'', a song that has not only a gripping guitar riff, but also a catchy chorus. My main frustration with this song is that it fades out at the end. I feel that a song like this should have a bigger ending, or at least a supposed crescendo.
Staying on target, we fly right into the ominous "Deathstar", for which there is a video at the band's website, directed by Tuomas himself. Tuomas has dabbled in the film industry, and this video is his own personal larrikin dread statement.
"Unbroken" is the only song on this album that has both harsh and clean vocals sung in unison during the chorus, making it a unique offering. "Sanctuary" starts off with an unusual drum cadence, which ultimately redounds with the guitar histrionics to which we have grown accustomed.
Once you sink your crenate teeth into the hydro-phonic omen of "Judgement", which will easily appeal to fans of Soilwork and In Flames, you are prepared for the enchanting "Butterfly Effect" which will cast a spell on your soul with its moonlit agony. This reminds me of the brilliant new release by Demonaz. His new album has discernible vocal variations and very infectious hooks and Nordic anthems.
The closing cut - the haunting "Wraith" - is a bit obligatory and staid, at least until it reaches the end of the song, where it then appropriately transitions into an acoustic fade.
Overall, 'Deathstar Rising' is an accomplished album.
The harsh and clean vocals are divided up evenly. Although, the Melodic
Death Metal sounds are not necessarily unique, or by any means even
original; anyone who enjoy this genre, or acts like Scar Symmetry, Amorphis,
Hypocrisy, or even Moonspell, should celebrate the advent of insanity
that is Before The Dawn.