Sep 282015
 

My Dying Bride-Feel the Misery

 

(Here’s the latest installment of KevinP’s series in which he runs down his list of the best releases from the preceding month.)

I screwed up last month.  And not just a minor oversight, but in a fairly big way.  It wasn’t until after August’s column was posted that fellow contributor/friend Dan Barkasi messaged me that he was surprised I didn’t have Wolfheart on my list.  My response was, “the album comes out in September”.  Then I checked and realized I was wrong.  URGH.  I’m gonna assign partial blame to Mr. Saukkonen though, since he sent me a copy of the album many months in advance and mentioned September as the release date.  Assuming his infallibility (based on his musical pedigree), I never bothered to double-check and learn that the label would change it.

So how do I address this grave misdeed?  I was going to include it as part of this month’s Top 5, but that really wouldn’t make sense or be fair to the other releases.  I’ll simply say this:  Shadow World eclipses the debut.  It’s another masterstroke in the arsenal of Tuomas the Finnish Freeballer who simply seems to be able to mine the same well and keep extracting new and exciting sounds from it.  Would it have been the Number 1 album last month?  It certainly would have been a toss-up between that and Majestic Downfall. Continue reading »

Sep 022015
 

Wolfheart-Shadow World

 

(DGR reviews the superb second album by Finland’s Wolfheart.)

There exists a temptation when writing reviews to try and come up with a narrative and attach it to each album. It’s been a way of doing things for a long time, and to be honest, I’ve struggled with trying to come up with one for Wolfheart’s newly released album Shadow World and the two-year gap between it and its predecessor.

The temptation lay in trying to paint the two albums as fraternal twins, discs that share a lot of DNA but actually are opposing and contrasting with each other in a lot of their elements. If you were to glance at the cover art for Shadow World and the cover art for Wolfheart’s 2013 debut Winterborn, you’d almost immediately notice the red-and-orange, warmer aesthetic of Shadow World pulling a first-lesson-of-art-class contrast with the prominent blue and cold themes of Winterborn. However, the music within doesn’t bear out the difference, and actually shares some similarities in terms of number of songs and track times with its older sibling.

So, I suggest we try to take a different tack and explain what Shadow World is. Continue reading »

Jul 112015
 

Wolfheart 2015

 

Happy Saturday. A whole bunch of metal bands I like released new songs this past week. I didn’t jump on all of them with my usual alacrity because I was burning the candle at both ends with a combination of day-job crap, personal crap, and late-night drinking with good friends (not crap), followed by hangover crap. I will make it up to you: Our other writers stand ready to mow your loans or hand-wash your underwear. I stand ready to direct those operations from afar.

In addition, in this post I’m going to stream some of those things I missed, plus one new discovery at the end.

WOLFHEART

Tuomas Saukkonen is one of those rare metal artists who just doesn’t seem to make a misstep. After closing down a multitude of other projects (including Before the Dawn and Black Sun Aeon), he turned right around and released a great album in 2013 (Winterborn) under the name Wolfheart. He has completed work on a second Wolfheart album entitled Shadow World that will be released by Spinefarm on August 21. After the jump, check out the music video for a new song named “Aeon of Cold”. Continue reading »

Feb 272015
 

Tuomas Saukkonen (Wolfheart)

It’s the same old story. Metal is such an over-boiling cauldron of creativity that if you have to wait a few days to go exploring for new things, you find yourself up to your neck in hot water. Or at least that’s what happened to me yesterday.

Having failed to compile a round-up of new music since last Sunday, I felt overwhelmed when confronting how much I wanted to write about today. I had to make some hard choices about what to recommend, and even then I had to stifle my usual verbosity — time is a harsh mistress, and not in a good way. So, with a regrettable (to me) minimum of introductory comments, here’s a selection of what lit me up over the last 24 hours, presented in the order in which I saw and heard them. I’ll have a few more new items to share with you on Saturday.

WOLFHEART

Earlier this month Spinefarm Records re-released Winterborn, the fantastic album by Wolfheart that we praised to the skies (repeatedly) when it was first self-released by the band in 2013. The re-issue comes with two bonus tracks (“Isolation” and “Into the Wild”). Two days ago Wolfheart premiered a music video for the album’s first track, “The Hunt”, which shows scenes from the recording of the track. It’s a wonderful song (it was on our list of 2013’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs), and any excuse to hear it again is welcome. Continue reading »

Dec 092014
 

 

I thought that once I got back to Seattle on Sunday from my two-week sojourn to the East Coast, things would return to normal. That hasn’t happened. The old fuckin’ day job has continued to have its way with me like a lonely shepherd on a tethered goat. Between that kind of raw treatment and getting other people’s year-end lists ready for posting, I’ve had precious little time to write about new music and videos. I do have a very long list of new things to check out, but I’m afraid all I can do at the moment is toss these two excellent videos your way.

FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE

These Italian maestros of blistering symphonic death metal have just released an official video for the song “Epilogue”, which appears on their latest album, Labyrinyth. The video was directed by Francesco Paoli and Salvatore Perrone and features special guests soprano vocalist Veronica Bordacchini (who was a fine addition to the band’s live show when she accompanied them on their NorthAm tour earlier this year), guitarist Marco Sensi, and cellist Shamatiyenko Kostyantyn. Continue reading »

Oct 232014
 

 

Yesterday brought a flood of new music and announcements that peaked my interest. I didn’t have time to post about any of them yesterday, so I’ve got a lot to cover this morning. Which is why this round-up is divided into two parts, with the second one coming later on.

WOLFHEART

Wolfheart’s self-released 2013 debut album Winterborn was fantastic. It was exactly the balm needed to salve the wounds that Tuomas Saukkonen temporarily inflicted on fans when he folded all of his other projects (including Before the Dawn and Black Sun Aeon) to start fresh. Yesterday brought the announcement that Spinefarm Records has now signed Wolfheart and will be re-releasing Winterborn on February 3, 2015, with two additional bonus tracks — “Isolation” and “Into the Wild”. This will be the first physical edition of the album to be made available worldwide.

But even more exciting than that was the news that next year Spinefarm will also be releasing Wolfheart’s second album Shadow World, which the band is now in the process of completing. And here’s one more titillating tidbit of Wolfheart news from the same announcement: Continue reading »

Jan 232014
 

Welcome to Part 9 of our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. To see the selections that preceded the two I’m announcing today, click here.

Both of today’s songs are folk-influenced examples of epic melodic death metal — albeit from widely separated corners of the world. They’re both highly infectious, too.

WOLFHEART

When Finland’s Tuomas Saukkonen announced about a year ago that he was shutting down all of his many musical projects — Before the DawnBlack Sun Aeon, Dawn of Solace, Routasielu, and Final Harvest — it rocked me and many of his other fans, and not in a good way. But what Saukkonen put in their place turned out to be something quite excellent — a new solo project named Wolfheart. In the band’s debut album, Winterborn (reviewed here), he took the best elements from what he had done before and interwove them in this new work, while also finding ways to stretch his talents in new directions.

With lyrics full of imagery of ice and snow, deep woods and frozen lakes, wolves and warriors, darkness and frost — and with dramatic, sweeping, intense music that captures the magnificent purity of loss and longing, struggle, and sacrifice — the album is a collection of highly memorable anthems. Saukkonen has always had a talent for writing powerful, often folk-influenced melodies, and Winterborn has them in spades. Sometimes languid, sometimes erupting with compelling urgency, they are woven into the fabric of the music. The album is an epic achievement, and one of the best releases of 2013. Continue reading »

Oct 082013
 

(NCS guest writer Kevin Page interviews Tuomas Saukkonen of Wolfheart and formerly of Before the Dawn, Black Sun Aeon, Dawn of Solace, and Routasielu. Wolfheart’s new album Winterborn will be released October 11.   This is Kevin’s second NCS interview of Tuomas; the first one can be found here.)

K:  The last time we spoke in March 2012 was when Rise of the Phoenix came out.  You seemed energized over the new direction of Before the Dawn and were ready to move forward.  Now, here we are 1.5 years later, Before the Dawn, Black Sun Aeon, Dawn of Solace, and Routasielu have been stopped, and your sole project is now Wolfheart.  What happened ?

T:  Well I kept on moving forward . There are a few songs on the last BTD album like “Throne Of Ice” and “Eclipse” which opened the door for Wolfheart musically and I didn’t feel like to follow that path with Before the Dawn anymore. Also Before the Dawn started to feel more and more as a job during the years and I needed to regain the passion toward music even if it meant taking a few steps backwards career wise.

 

K:  Was there a sudden realization one day that “I’m bored, I need to stop this” or was it a gradual thing?

T:  A gradual thing.  Already while working on Deathstar Rising I felt like this might be the last album for Before the Dawn. Then came big changes and a lot of energy came with that album.  But that energy went to music and song writing instead of leading the band.

 

K:  Was there ever a time over the years where it felt mentally draining juggling numerous bands at the same time?

T:  Nope.  There were times when I felt mentally drained by one band.  Sometimes crazy schedules, just simply a lot of work, problems with labels etc.   And during those times it  was a big relief to have other projects to pour my creativity into. Continue reading »

Oct 062013
 

I’ve already reviewed Winterborn, the debut album by Wolfheart, which is the new solo project of Finland’s Tuomas Saukkonen (ex-Before the Dawn, ex-Black Sun Aeon). In a nutshell, I think it’s one of the year’s best albums. In case you want to read the review, I’ll refer you here. But now you can hear the album for yourself.

Beginning today, the German Legacy magazine began streaming Winterborn in full. Go HERE (or here) to listen.

One more recent piece of Wolfheart news: The band has announced that the album will become available for digital download via iTunes, Amazon, and other online platforms on October 11. Physical copies can be pre-ordered here.

That’s it.  Go give this a spin.

 

Sep 242013
 

I’ll make this short: Wolfheart — the new solo project of Tuomas Saukkonen (ex-Before the Dawn, ex-Black Sun Aeon) — has just released a new official video for “Routa Pt. 2”, a song that will appear on Wolfheart’s debut album Winterborn.

The video, which was beautifully filmed and produced by OneManArmy, is full of fire and ice, just like the song. The video also includes an excerpt of a certain review of Winterborn that I’m quite fond of. In case you want to read all of it, I’ll refer you here. In a nutshell, it says that Winterborn is one of the year’s standout albums.

The album and related Wolfheart merch can now be pre-ordered at the following location, and pre-orders will get two bonus tracks — “Frey” and “4:19 A.M.”; eventually, we understand that the album will also become available digitally, but the details on that haven’t yet been announced.

http://www.madsupply.com/en/shop/band+merchandise/wolfheart

Now, watch and listen to the video for “Routa Pt. 2”: Continue reading »