By Rosie Walker
Tuomas Saukkonen has a unique, uninhibited ability to make metal music. He has triumphed in the scene with his bands Before the Dawn and Black Sun Aeon. This Finn has dappled in so many projects over the years that everyone was shocked when he ended them all to focus on just one. In 2012, he dropped everything to cradle his new creation, Wolfheart. The first full-length album ‘Winterborn’ came out in 2013 and made a significant impression. Tuomas culminated all his creative powers and made something far beyond expectation. Then we were blessed with ’Shadow World’. On this second album, Tuomas and the band dug even deeper into the dark corners of the metal realm. Now, the much anticipated third release is here. ’Tyhjyys’ ascends the mediocrity of modern metal and reveals the limitless ability of leader Tuomas Saukkonen as he exposes the sublime superiority of his creation, Wolfheart.
‘Tyhjyys’ means ‘emptiness’ in English. A theme running throughout this album and all of Tuomas’ work. The man’s themes of life, nature, and self examination hit home. Unafraid to dig into the issues of the heart, Tuomas rips right into it on the first song, ‘Shores of the Lake Simple’. As the acoustic guitar is delicately plucked, you feel as if you are in the winter wasteland of Finland. The song paints a rustic landscape that feels cold, wild, and wanting. This intro track is an invitation, the sweet sound beckoning you into the dark tunnel that is ’Tyhjyys’.
Then we enter the epic ’Boneyard’. This second song delivers with depth and potency. The guitar work of Mika Lammassaari scraps and sings while the growls of Tuomas Saukkonen kick in with speed; escorting you to a new level of sensibility. The vocals are slightly buried in the mix to accentuate the bittersweet melody in the guitars. As a pendulum swings, this number goes back and forth and all over the place. In approximately 8 minutes the song escalates and whisks about with relishing riffs, acoustic goodness, haunting choirs, and even some thrash action.
‘World on Fire’ heats things up on this frost-tipped album. The synth work highlights the melancholic mood and you feel the fearsome fire in the crescendo of the drums. Sop up the blast beats provided by Joonas Kauppinen and experience the over-arching theme of darkness. Even with elegant piano chords being played with poise, there is still a somber, gloomy feel that all four band members cast out.
Half way through the album, you feel the intentional off-ness on the song ‘The Flood’. The intriguing guitars guide you on this track that is wrapped in mysticism. Even an alluring flute appears, and it actually works. ‘The Rift’ gets primal, upheaving some raw emotions that make the wall of sound in this song fitting. There’s an eerie beauty that meets depravity in it, which makes the song sound majestic and weighty.
Bassist Lauri Silvonen plants the groove in ‘Call of the Winter’. The song is potent with power, elegance, and sophistication. The last two tracks conquer new territories of melodic death metal. ‘Dead White’ is atomic with heaviness and epic melody. The album comes to a close all too soon with the final track ’Tyhjyys’. You feel the cold as the last song succumbs to the wistful ways of winter.
Tuomas takes the dark, cold character of heavy metal and turns it into the black of midnight during a blizzard. His projection of melancholy and melody mixed together births such succulent sadness. Tuomas delivers not just an album, but an experience. Each of his albums treat the ears, but also grab the heart. The eloquence of his skill in conveying sound is simply awe-inspiring. The man is a genius and this album is the best I’ve heard this year.
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Record Label: Spinefarm
Release Date: March 3rd 2017
1. Shores Of The Lake Simple (3:17)
2. Boneyard (7:37)
3. World On Fire (6:30)
4. The Flood (6:06)
5. The Rift (5:25)
6. Call Of The Winter (5:52)
7. Dead White (4:13)
8. Tyhjyys (4:55)
Total Duration: 43:55