Mar 092012
 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Finnish multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and songwriter Tuomas Saukkonen is the driving creative force behind two of this site’s favorite bands — Before the Dawn and Black Sun Aeon — along with about 1,000 other musical projects. BTD’s new album, Rise of the Phoenix, is scheduled for release by Nuclear Blast on April 27, and just yesterday we featured a killer song and official video for one of the new songs, “The Phoenix Rising”. If you haven’t seen it yet, make haste to this location, where you’ll also find a link to a free download of the song.

Today, we’re fortunate to feature this interview of Tuomas Saukkonen by guest writer KevinP, which includes insights into the new album, the band’s line-up changes, and the shift in musical style that we’ll be hearing on Rise of the Phoenix, along with much else.

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This is your second album coming out on Nuclear Blast. What’s different this time around and why should people who didn’t care for you in the past now be interested?

The timing is a lot better than with the first album with NB. We signed the deal just before Christmas and the album came out in Europe 16.2. So there was not much time for promotion. With the new album we have totally 3 months, which is pretty big thing. Musically there has been a pretty big change in our scale, and there will surely be some changes in the fan base also. If you thought we were just one girlie metal band, you should really check out the new material.
 

Lars (bass/clean vocals) and Atte (drums) are out of the band and replaced with Pyry (bass) and Joonas (drums). What made you choose them as replacements?

Joonas and I have been friends for a looong time and we have been trying to find a band or project for a long time where we could be in the same line-up. I’ve been a fan of his playing for a long time. Also he has inspired my drum playing a lot. Pyry used to be my drum student a few years back but had been playing guitar since he was 10. Very cool and musically talented guy who started to play bass around the same time as drum, so he was an ideal choice. Continue reading »

Mar 082012
 

Read this:

“Enioy the official video clip for the first single “Phoenix Rising”, taken from BEFORE THE DAWN‘s upcoming melodic death metal sledgehammer Rise Of The Phoenix (OUT on April 27).

The song is also available as a free download at Nuclear Blast:http://bit.ly/ziaxYI

Pre-order “Rise Of The Phoenix” at the Nuclear Blast web shop:http://bit.ly/xQtGxu

Now, watch and listen to this: Continue reading »

Feb 082012
 

Only two days ago we featured news about Rise of the Phoenix, the next album by Finland’s Before the Dawn, which prompted some speculation in the comments about whether the music would be up to the high standards set by the band’s previous releases. After all, it does follow pretty quickly on the heels of 2011’s Deathstar Rising, it does come from a band whose principal creative force (Tuomas Saukkonen) has his fingers in many other projects at the same time, and it will be the first BtD release in six years not to include the distinctive clean vocals of Lars Eikind.

Thanks to a tip from fireangel of the Finland-focused Night Elves site, much of this anxious speculation can be laid to rest. She pointed us to an album teaser uploaded by Nuclear Blast today. Based on the short song excerpts in the teaser, I can’t argue with what Tuomas Saukkonen says in the clip. It does indeed sound epic, fast, heavy, and awesome. Also, I can feel the music having a positive effect on my manhood.

Teaser clip after the jump . . . Continue reading »

Feb 062012
 

If someone were to ask me, “Why is Finnish metal so awesome?”, I would answer, “Because it’s metal from Finland, you dork!” — and then I’d give the Nerd Laugh, the one that’s part snort and all-knowing. And if I were being asked by a big hairy dude with no nerd sense of humor, I’d follow that quickly with some examples, one of which would be Before the Dawn.

The band was started in 1999 by the prolific Tuomas Saukkonen (also a member of Black Sun AeonDawn of Solace, and RoutaSielu), and their 2011 album (their sixth), Deathstar Rising, was one of our favorites (I also named a song from the album to our list of 2011’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songshere).  Their combination of hard-driving riffs and dark, beautiful, hook-filled melodies is a great example of the kind of gothic melodic death metal at which the Finns have excelled.

Part of the band’s appeal has been the one-two vocal punch delivered by Saukkonen (whose harsh delivery is killer) and bass player Lars Eikind. Elkind is gone, unfortunately, but of course that hasn’t stopped Saukkonen for a minute. Here’s a January 25 note posted by the band (which I only just saw, thanks to a tip from KevinP):

Finnish melancholic melodic death metal outfit BEFORE THE DAWN returns after living through a phase of changes and uncertainty – cleansed, renewed and stronger than ever! Leaving pieces of both the musical and personal past behind, mastermind Tuomas Saukkonen, lead guitarist Juho Räihä and their new companions get ready for conquering your ears with the finest blend of northern gloom and harsh melodic death metal.

Their seventh studio album and at the same time second release via Nuclear Blast Records is entitled “Rise Of The Phoenix” and will arise from the ashes on the 27th of April 2012!

Very welcome news indeed. After the jump, the track list . . . and news about the next Marduk album. Continue reading »

Dec 282011
 

This is Part 3 of our list of the most infectious extreme metal songs released this year. Each day until the list is finished, I’m posting two songs that made the cut. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the Introduction via this link. To see the selections that preceded this one, click the Category link on the right side of the page called MOST INFECTIOUS SONGS-2011.

The first song in today’s feature comes from Deathstar Rising, the 2011 album released by Finland’s Before the Dawn. The band was started in 1999 by the prolific Tuomas Saukkonen (also a member of Black Sun Aeon, Dawn of Solace, and RoutaSielu), and that 2011 album is their sixth. Although I reviewed the band’s immediately preceding album, Soundscape of Silence (2008), I neglected Deathstar Rising on this site. Actually, I believe that qualifies as criminal neglect, because I enjoyed the fuck out of that record. As punishment, I’m hoping for probation instead of hard time.

Before the Dawn’s success comes down to two principal factors, which are fully displayed on Deathstar Rising: skilled song-writing that effectively combines hard-driving riffs and rhythms with dark, beautiful, hook-filled melodies; and, on the last four albums, an amazing one-two vocal punch delivered by Saukkonen (whose harsh delivery is killer) and bass player Lars Eikind, whose clean vocals are just as remarkable. (Yes, this band is one of our Exceptions To the Rule.) Continue reading »

Sep 012011
 

(After a one-day hiatus, TheMadIsraeli returns with the next installment in this Melodeath Week series, and today’s focus is on a Finnish favorite here at NCS — Before the Dawn.)

Before The Dawn might be a hard sell to some of you as a candidate for melodeath week. I was surprised when Islander reviewed Soundscape Of Silence (here) that people didn’t react in the way I’ve experienced when talking about this band. What’s that? Argue that Before The Dawn has been pioneering some obtuse form of metalcore. I suppose I can kinda understand the logic. They have the metalcore energy, and something of the poppy sensibilities that metalcore can have. However, if you ask me, this is an unfair characterization. Before The Dawn use these elements to create a very somber, very melancholic atmosphere.

If you’re at all familiar with the sound of this band, then you’re familiar with everything they do.  The sound is very consistent. Trying to pick any one album as the band’s best is kind of pointless. For example, the album I’m focusing on here (2007’s Deadlight) and the one that preceded it (The Ghost, from 2006) are almost interchangeable, with VERY similar melodies. Even with the strong similarities, though, Deadlight, out of all this band’s albums, is the one that sticks with me the most. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Feb 052011
 

Just in case you didn’t get enough of a beat-down from that new Deicide track we debuted yesterday, this post ought to finish off the job of putting you in the hospital (or an asylum).

Early yesterday morning we received three e-mails in a row from a most excellent German label called Cyclone Empire. This label has got a kick-ass roster of artists and provides distribution for many more, and those three e-mails were about bands that have really peaked our interest.

This isn’t really a typical MISCELLANY post, because we knew something about the music of two of these bands before we started, but at least we hadn’t heard the precise songs we’re featuring here today. So, it’s kind of a hybrid MISCELLANY post.

Here’s what we’ve got: Another hell-on-wheels song off the debut album by Sweden’s Puteraeon, which was just released in Europe late last month; two new songs from Finland’s Before the Dawn that appear on Cyclone Empire’s European release of a special CD/DVD combo called Decade of Darkness; and a track from a brain-scrambling French band called Sideblast off their just-released second album, Cocoon.

Get a good daily fix of mayhem and melody to start your weekend off right . . . after the jump.  And tomorrow, we’ll have a proper MISCELLANY post with music from an international line-up of bands we really had never heard before. Continue reading »

Jan 012011
 


HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Did you see what we did?  We had to change the logo for this edition of SICKNESS.  Because 2010 is behind us, and the new year lies ahead.

We spent the last 30 days, as we’ve been doing for the last year, collecting news blurbs and press releases about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like, or from bands that look interesting, even though we don’t know them yet. And in this post, we’ve cut and pasted the announcements and compiled them in alphabetical order.

All of our previous monthly updates can be found via the “Forthcoming Albums” category link on the right side of our pages, and because we’re not keeping a cumulative list, you might want to check the last couple months of these posts if you want to get a full picture of what’s coming. The list that follows, in alphabetical order, are albums we didn’t know about at the time of our last installment when November ended, or updated info about albums we’d previously heard were on the way. And be forewarned: This is a really long list. There’s a massive slag of new metal coming our way, and man, does it look hot.

So, without further ado, let’s get started. See if there’s anything on the list that makes you moist, or tumescent, or just generally slobbery.

ABORTED: “Good news is that we are starting pre-productions for our upcoming record on January 4th. This means we will demo all the songs for the record, make sure everything sounds good and make the necessary adjustments to make sure they are all more lethal than a chainsaw in Mr. Leatherface’s hands. We’re all very excited about the material thus far and can’t wait to get this over with and proceed to the actual recordings later this year. Expect a fall 2011 release through our culprates in mayhem Century Media.”

AGNOSTIC FRONT: “The Godfathers of New York Hardcore, Agnostic Front, have just finished recording their highly anticipated follow up to their 2007 release, Warriors. The yet to be titled album features 13 new powerful and anthemic songs laid down by Erik Rutan (Madball, Goatwhore, Cannibal Corpse) at his Mana Recording Studio in Tampa, FL under the watchful guide of producer Freddy Cricien of Madball. The record was mastered by Alan Douches (Nile, Mastodon) and will be released in Europe of March 4, 2011 and in North America on March 22, 2011.”

(the list continues after the jump . . .)

Continue reading »

Dec 022010
 

One good turn deserves another, right?

Yesterday, we ran a post about Amorphis — a strong example of why we have a place for exceptions to the “no clean singing” rule. And based on the comments, it’s clear that even regular readers of this cacophonous site also like some clean singing in their metal, if done right, and in the right doses. One of those comments — by our comrade in arms, Niek, from Death Metal Baboon — pointed us to a band called Before the Dawn. Here’s what he said:

Coincidentally I was just considering tipping you on another Finnish, clean-vocalled exception to your rule. I’ve spent a lot of time listening to this band’s (and its sister-bands’) material on YouTube. It’s Before the Dawn, of which mastermind Tuomas Saukkonen also fronts Dawn of Solace and Black Sun Aeon. I’ve ordered albums of the first two this morning. I urge you to check these bands out!

“Impulsiveness” is my middle name (I have many middle names), and so, despite the fact that I was trying to finish reviews of two new albums while continuing to listen to other brand new releases, I dropped everything, downloaded Before the Dawn’s latest release from iTunes, convoyed the tunes over to my iPod, jammed the earbuds in my aural canals, jumped in the car for an hour-long drive I had to make yesterday morning, and started in on that album at the volume I like best — the volume level that makes my eyes weep blood.

By the time I got back home last night following the return trip, I’d listened to that album three times through (and had eye blood all down the front of my shirt). Maybe it was because I’d already had my senses adjusted by Amorphis, maybe it was because I was tearing down the highway while listening, but that album really hit home — so much so that it would just be criminally ungrateful not to say something about it without delay. So, that’s what we’re doing today — another Exception to the Rule. Don’t worry your horned little heads — we’ll be back to no clean singing very soon. But today, we need to tell you about Before the Dawn.  (more after the jump, including some music to hear . . .) Continue reading »