Rating:
7.5
Before The Dawn - Deathstar Rising
23 February 2011


01. The First Snow
02. Winter Within
03. Deathstar
04. Remembrance
05. Unbroken
06. Judgement
07. The Wake
08. Sanctuary
09. Butterfly Effect
10. Wraith
11. Infinity [European bonus]
12. My Room [acoustic version] [European bonus]
13. Unbreakable [live] [European bonus]
14. The Black [live] [European bonus]


Before The Dawn have been around for over a decade, establishing themselves as one of Finland's most prominent metal acts. Their gothic-tinged melodic death metal has captured audiences worldwide, while the brains behind the music - musical puppet master Tuomas Saukkonen - has all but kept the core sound intact throughout the years.

Saukkonen's ultimate goal is to essentially shed the band of its gothic metal skin, exemplified by Deathstar Rising and its predecessor's more forward approach in terms of aggression. This album isn't completely different from the typical formula, but the usual bite carried with the music is more apparent, while the atmosphere takes a bit of a step back. This is a big no-no for a band like Before The Dawn, a band that relies primarily on their uniquely crafted atmosphere to separate themselves from the rest of the melodic death metal pack.

Speaking of atmosphere, the crisp production on this album actually works against it - hindering it - its crisp vibe stripping the guitars and keyboards of their desired effect. Or at least their formerly desired effect. Only the handful of men in the recording studio know exactly what they wanted this album to sound like, but in most cases fans are expecting more of the same from established acts like Before The Dawn. ("The same" being a melancholic melodic form of metal with a balanced mix of growls and clean vocals, and a heavy focus on daunting keyboard passages and catchy riffs not uncommonly structured so as to maintain a sense of simple attraction.)

Fans seeking new material similar to 4:17 AM or My Darkness won't exactly find their thirst quenched by this release, although they won't find it hard to swallow before moving on to something else. The music will be seen in a different light and judged accordingly, which will then result in comparisons being drawn to just about every other melodic death metal band under the sun by fans and non-fans alike. And that doesn't bode well for Before The Dawn. Trying to overthrow the likes of Insomnium and Omnium Gatherum is no simple task, and if their releases continue to lack in the atmosphere department as a result of leaving behind all gothic influence, they'll realize their goal is inescapably difficult and will - in all likelihood - fail.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Production: 5


Band profile: Before The Dawn
Album: Deathstar Rising


 



Written on 07.11.2011 by
Troy Killjoy
Just another opinionated guy telling you what to listen to.
More reviews by Troy Killjoy ››



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muska - 07.11.2011 at 15:53  
I am really sad to admit, that I found this latest effort lacking in atmosphere just as the reviewer stated
Ag Fox - 07.11.2011 at 16:06  
It's because Troy likes his previous work, that's why he could be bothered to move his arse and write a few paragraphs about the music, perhaps hoping Tuomas would listen
silenius - 07.11.2011 at 17:43  
Gife moar 4:17 am! found this album to be kinda meh, due to the lack of atmosphere^^ spot on review mate.
Troy Killjoy - 07.11.2011 at 20:29  
Written by Guest on 07.11.2011 at 13:47
Can you choose someone else to blame than Tuomas Saukkonen?

Not really, considering he's the mastermind behind the music and main composer...

As for liking Black Sabbath (not sure where you were going with that argument), ya I like them, but I'm not going to review an album from 1970 that everyone already knows about.
Troy Killjoy - 07.11.2011 at 20:46  
Written by Guest on 07.11.2011 at 20:42
Really funny :-) I am just curious if you are going to criticize all his albums or if it is only a coincidence that you've already blamed two of them in a few days... He doesn't deserve it at all.

I'm criticizing his two releases from this year. But if I were going to review his previous material, I'd have a lot more positive things to say.

As for him not "deserving it"... That just sounds fanboyish, sorry. I'll be reviewing Amoral's latest next, so the Saukkonen "bashing" has met its end.
bluegreengod - 08.11.2011 at 06:04  
This is far and away BTD's best stuff yet. I'd say it's one of the top 20 or 30 albums this year.
Troy Killjoy - 08.11.2011 at 07:08  
Written by Guest on 08.11.2011 at 06:04
This is far and away BTD's best stuff yet.

I'd say it's their best stuff yet if you're into plastic melo-death. But even then this doesn't surpass SoS.
Merchant of Doom - 08.11.2011 at 17:55  
Bands who keep producing the same old tripe (see Insomnium) are chastised, band who try and change are chastised... make your mind up!
Troy Killjoy - 08.11.2011 at 19:46  
Written by Merchant of Doom on 08.11.2011 at 17:55
Bands who keep producing the same old tripe (see Insomnium) are chastised, band who try and change are chastised... make your mind up!

What's the old saying... Something like "you can never please everyone, but you can always upset everyone".
Merchant of Doom - 09.11.2011 at 10:50  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 08.11.2011 at 19:46

Written by Merchant of Doom on 08.11.2011 at 17:55
Bands who keep producing the same old tripe (see Insomnium) are chastised, band who try and change are chastised... make your mind up!

What's the old saying... Something like "you can never please everyone, but you can always upset everyone".


More than upsetting, I find it irritating... so, what's your stance on this, generally? Should bands progress (in a good or bad way) or just keep repeating the same old cack? I have the feeling that you will say "it depends on the band..."
!J.O.O.E.! - 09.11.2011 at 12:52  
Written by Merchant of Doom on 09.11.2011 at 10:50

Bands who keep producing the same old tripe (see Insomnium) are chastised, band who try and change are chastised... make your mind up!


Correction: bands that try something new and sound shit are chastised. On the whole people don't mock and negatively review bands that sound good that are also creatively new or interesting. It's a pretty easy concept to grasp.
Merchant of Doom - 09.11.2011 at 13:49  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 09.11.2011 at 12:52

Written by Merchant of Doom on 09.11.2011 at 10:50

Bands who keep producing the same old tripe (see Insomnium) are chastised, band who try and change are chastised... make your mind up!


Correction: bands that try something new and sound shit are chastised. On the whole people don't mock and negatively reviews bands that sound good that are also creatively new or interesting. It's a pretty easy concept to grasp.



I have seen reviews on this site by people complaining that an album was shit just because the band kept repeating the same formula, despite being a brilliant album (like the new Insomnium one)... Bands that sound good and repeat themselves are definitely "mocked"...
!J.O.O.E.! - 09.11.2011 at 13:53  
Written by Merchant of Doom on 09.11.2011 at 13:49
Bands that sound good and repeat themselves are definitely "mocked"...

As they should be in my opinion. The new Insomnium is a relic and in critical terms not worth more than an average score.
Merchant of Doom - 09.11.2011 at 14:30  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 09.11.2011 at 13:53

Written by Merchant of Doom on 09.11.2011 at 13:49
Bands that sound good and repeat themselves are definitely "mocked"...

As they should be in my opinion. The new Insomnium is a relic and in critical terms not worth more than an average score.



You win...
D.a.n - 09.11.2011 at 17:49  
Good review Troy [hope you are intent on keeping at least this part of your ID unchanged in future ;-)]. The album is decent/good but not more than that. A little too straightforward (except for a couple of songs) and, unfortunately, totally lacks the unique mood the band managed to get across with their earlier albums -- a similar (and sad) story as the latest Draconian effort...
Troy Killjoy - 09.11.2011 at 19:38  
Written by Merchant of Doom on 09.11.2011 at 10:50
Should bands progress (in a good or bad way) or just keep repeating the same old cack? I have the feeling that you will say "it depends on the band..."

Your feeling is very accurate, although JOOE does bring up a good point about bands changing their sound for the worse and being reprimanded for it. I didn't hate this album, I thought it was better than average in fact (not way above average, but decent). The problem is they changed their formula to compete with the likes of other established acts and it's obvious they aren't known for that. Mind you, it's really the first album where they tried for a straightforward approach like this so maybe they'll get closer to the top in the future. Judging the first album to mark a change is always the most difficult because you never know where album #2 will go.
Troy Killjoy - 09.11.2011 at 19:41  
Written by D.a.n on 09.11.2011 at 17:49
Good review Troy [hope you are intent on keeping at least this part of your ID unchanged in future ;-)]. The album is decent/good but not more than that. A little too straightforward (except for a couple of songs) and, unfortunately, totally lacks the unique mood the band managed to get across with their earlier albums -- a similar (and sad) story as the latest Draconian effort...

Thanks! And this name will stick for a while now, maybe until April Fool's.

I agree with the new Draconian too. It's another one of those above par releases but not really a birdie either.

I guess below par is better in golf than above par. Golf is stupid.
Lord Pisi Pisi - 10.11.2011 at 14:16  
I've rated 7
Milena - 07.12.2011 at 10:19  
I listened to it a couple more times and gave it an eight... like I said before, not my type of melodeath, but I adore Lars' vocals THAT MUCH. So awful he's gone.
Troy Killjoy - 07.12.2011 at 10:23  
Written by Milena on 07.12.2011 at 10:19
So awful he's gone.

And not only that, but apparently the goal is now to try their hand at "pure" melodic death metal. Scrapping the gothic vibe altogether will be the end of these guys. Most likely anyway - although chances are the MDM masses will eat up the new sound if they can muster up anything like the latest Omnium Gatherum (which is incredibly overrated).
beyondtehdarksun - 07.12.2011 at 10:36  
Yep, it's a shame (though I didn't like his voice that much when the original clean singer left, but it fits perfect on this one). If everything start sounding like Omnium Gatherum, I'll probably lose my interest in melodeath
Milena - 07.12.2011 at 10:38  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 07.12.2011 at 10:23

And not only that, but apparently the goal is now to try their hand at "pure" melodic death metal. Scrapping the gothic vibe altogether will be the end of these guys. Most likely anyway - although chances are the MDM masses will eat up the new sound if they can muster up anything like the latest Omnium Gatherum (which is incredibly overrated).

I don't think they'll be able to do that.
Sure, MDM has become quite the mainstream genre, but there's quite enough bands that put out solid releases, and if this dude keeps on releasing a couple of albums a year, he'll lose the gas needed to reach that solid status. I'm one of the people in the vast mass that very much enjoyed Omnium Gatherum, but this other type of melodeath is a bit too plastic for me to enjoy without some spice. The voice of Lars is such a spice.

OG was overrated, as you say, (although I think they're a nice band, with a good soul and that they've earned this success) because a mass of people has finally moved on from "CHILDREN OF BODOM IS GENIUS, MAN!!!!" to a bit more serious stuff, but with the same awe. I don't find either OG or Bodom's "golden" period genius, but I've probably enjoyed NWS more than a classic CoB release...
Troy Killjoy - 07.12.2011 at 20:41  
Written by Milena on 07.12.2011 at 10:38
I'm one of the people in the vast mass that very much enjoyed Omnium Gatherum, but this other type of melodeath is a bit too plastic for me to enjoy without some spice...

Agreed (with this and the CoB fans gone serious). It wouldn't surprise me if BtD became the Sonic Syndicate of melodic death metal.
Milena - 26.12.2011 at 02:31  
Now that I've thought about it: maybe he simply wants to separate the sounds of his projects, so he chooses to strip BtD of the gothic influences as the easiest way to make a difference?
Troy Killjoy - 26.12.2011 at 05:05  
Written by Milena on 26.12.2011 at 02:31
=Now that I've thought about it: maybe he simply wants to separate the sounds of his projects, so he chooses to strip BtD of the gothic influences as the easiest way to make a difference?

It's quite possible. It's no secret that his many projects don't really stand out from each other, much like Älvestam's multitude of bands.
Milena - 26.12.2011 at 12:08  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 26.12.2011 at 05:05

It's quite possible. It's no secret that his many projects don't really stand out from each other, much like Älvestam's multitude of bands.

Well dammit Tuomas, it would have been better if you had shut down some I'm not interested in instead of doing this.

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