Before the Dawn
Deathstar Rising

1. The First Snow
2. Winter Within
3. Deathstar
4. Rememberance
5. Unbroken
6. Judgement
7. The Wake
8. Sanctuary
9. Butterfly Effect
10. Wreith
11. Infinity (Bonus Track)
12. My Room (Acoustic Version. Bonus Track)
13. Unbreakable (Live At Nosturi, Helsinki. Bonus Track)
14. The Black (Live At Nosturi, Helsinki. Bonus Track)

Tuomas Saukkonen (G, Kb&Harsh vocals)
Lars Eikind (B & Clean vocals)
Juho Räihä (G)
Atte Palokangas (D)

My Darkness (2003)
4:17 am (2004)
The Ghost (2006)
Deadlight (2007)
Soundscape of Silence (2008)



Released 25/2-2011
Reviewed 11/2-2011

nuclear blast

Before the Dawn is another of these Finnish death metal bands working after the Gothenburgh school. The recipe is in other words to have ingredients like melodic music and a mixture between screams, growls and clear vocals. But Before the Dawn is distinguishing themselves from much of the other melodic death metal by mostly playing in a low tempo and with five full length albums before this one, they’ve managed to collect a fair amount of fans around the world that has awaited this release in anticipation since the last one hit the stores about three years ago. So here is Before the Dawn 2011, how does it sound this time?

Overall the band is easy to recognize since they haven’t made any major changes, which I think is good news to those who wanted a sequel to the already established sound of the band with ‘Deathstar Rising’- It’s an almost doomish death metal album that is both melodic and slow. Normally I’m not the biggest fan of slow music and to some extent this becomes apparent when I listen to this album because from time to time it gets a bit sleepy. I soon get a flashback that reminds me of another Finnish band, called Insomnium. Not only because of the name but mostly because vocals and music on ‘Deathstar Rising’ have much in common with the Sleepy guys. I don’t think all is tiring when I play this album, there are many songs that are fast and rockin’ and that can awake your lusts for life. Mostly I think of the two starting songs The First Snow and Winter Within, as well as Butterfly Effect, when I say that. It’s not that the other songs are just plain slow either, but they easily falls into some kind of sleep-mode when they decrease the tempo and goes into slow middle parts that overall sound very tired.

The music is built in a traditional manner where guitar, bass and drums play verses and chorus with sticks and solos in between. On ‘Deathstar Rising’ they also give the acoustic guitar some space, which makes it moody and nice and I have absolutely no problems with how they use it. What I find most negative is the vocals. It just feels impersonal and unengaged, no matter if it’s Tuomas or Lars that does it but at least somewhat better when Lars does his clear vocals. Somehow I think the vocals do more harm than good on this album. And when we’re all in on the complaining, I don’t think the structure of the songs make any sense at all. The music never gets a natural flow, in the middle of everything they do a tempo change and in the middle of something else the songs radically change their character. They can do things that just don’t go together with the rest and passages and bridges are completely incomprehensible. Often the vocals are slow while the music go fast (and sometimes vice versa) and overall it’s very hard to listen at ‘Deathstar Rising’ because it’s like a puzzle where someone has forced together the pieces instead of finding the ones that really fits.

I like the music much better than the vocals. It might be slow and tedious from time to time as well as weirdly composed, but the band play with a good distortion on the guitars and overall the album is well played technically even though the flow is a bit strange sometimes. There’s plenty of good things with ‘Deathstar Rising’ but overall I think most of it gets in the shadow of how the album loose what’s interesting and hides how good the band is to play their instruments. Beside this the production is no winner and can’t help the album to stand on its own feet when it has difficulties doing so from the beginning. There’s really no power or charisma that captures the listener and in the end everything just become background sounds that I really don’t take in. And that’s a shame! There’s no real problem with this album, it’s just a whole bunch of little things that becomes something big in the end – and that big thing is enough for me to not fall for it.

To everyone that likes a bit slower death metal that got some technical and advanced touches there should be something to hear in ‘Deathstar Rising’. It’s an okay album that’s really good from time to time, but it lacks that something extra that makes you want to hear it for the rest of your life. My best advice is that Before the Dawn goes back to the drawing board and make sure to mend those little things that made it possible for Luke and the rebels in Star Wars to blow the Death Star up, because it’s exactly those little things that blows this death star up as well.


Label - Nuclear Blast
Three similar bands - Insomnium/Katatonia/Scar Symmetry
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm