Album Review: Before The Dawn – Stormbringers
Reviewed by Richard Oliver
Prior to 2013, multi-instrumentalist Tuomas Saukkonen was a busy man with a multitude of active bands and projects such as Black Sun Aeon, Dawn Of Solace and Before The Dawn. He came to the decision in 2013 to bring all these bands/projects to an end and focus on one singular project Wolfheart. Wolfheart eventually morphed into a full band and over the ensuing years it seems that his previous projects have not been able to leave him as Dawn Of Solace was resurrected in 2019 and now in 2023 it is time for the return of Before The Dawn with the band’s eighth album 'Stormbringers'.
Like the vast majority of the music that Tuomas Saukkonen is involved in, Before The Dawn are very much in that dark, gloomy and melancholic style that the Finnish are just so damn good at. It has been eleven years since the band’s last album which was 2013’s “Rise Of The Phoenix” and musically 'Stormbringers' is very much a continuation of the heavy-hearted gothic and melodic death metal sound accustomed to Before The Dawn.
There have been some big line up changes to the band since its last incarnation with bassist Pyry Hanski and guitarist and guitarist Juho Räihä (also of Swallow The Sun) returning to the band whilst Tuomas Saukkonen has moved from vocals and guitars to the drumming stool with new guy Paavo Laapotti joining the band and covering all vocals. This shift is a very welcome one as this is a really excellent Before The Dawn album sounding very much like the former band but a new stamp on things especially through new vocalist Paavo Laapotti who impresses with a huge range from powerful yet sorrowful cleans and a vicious deep death growl and effortlessly switches between the two which can be heard on excellent songs of dark melodic metal such as ‘Reveries’, ‘Downhearted’ and ‘Chaos Star’ which merge that European melodeath sound with dark gothic undertones and dish loads of emotional weight and melancholy whilst remaining catchy and fairly accessible with all the songs being fairly concise.
'Stormbringers' is an excellent return for Before The Dawn and it really doesn’t feel like the band has been away as this slots so seamlessly into the band’s discography. If you are fan of any of the other bands from Tuomas and other gloomy Finnish melodeath bands such as Insomnium, Dark The Suns, Eternal Tears Of Sorrow and Noumena then this album will be right up your street.