2013 will be remembered by many as the year during which Tuomas Saukkonen killed off all of his musical projects, no matter if they were successful at the time or not. All of his focus went to Wolfheart for the past 7 years, delivering us some great releases with his self-branded “Winter metal”. Much to our surprise, Tuomas suddenly announced that he was going to release a new album as the much liked doom project Dawn Of Solace. Apparently he managed to free the name for legal use and found a label where he felt comfortable enough that he could accomplish his artistic vision. The new label Noble Demon is the one that allowed this to happen and here now is ‘Waves’.
With Mikko Heikkilä on main vocals for the whole album, Tuomas brought in the sorrowful voice of the highly valued Finnish doom outfit Kaunis Kuolematon which really lifts the compositions to new heights. Openings track ‘Lead Wings’ gives already a good indication of what is to come for the next … The intro perfectly sets the tone to a song that is beautifully gloomy and melancholic in which the vocals are a perfect brush on an already gorgeous canvas. Both the vocals and the music really complement but never overpower each other. So much can be said about the heaviness of the music as well. It’s there with Tuomas‘ signature touch, but mixed into the whole tapestry without ever overtaking and overstating its presence.
And that absolutely gorgeous and mesmerizing mix of desperate gloom, deep melancholy and relatively monotone vocals continues throughout the whole album. Despite the very uniform sound, the music never gets boring for one second with slight tempo changes within the range of its doomy sound, masterful guitar solos in which every note sounds absolutely right and vocals that get their chance to shine and soar at times. Absolute standout on the album is by far ‘Tuli‘, the only track sung in perfectly fitting Finnish, featuring a rather epic sound with head nodding-inducing riffs mingled with piano and some of Tuomas’ grunts in the background. Though ‘Hiding‘ is a strong contender with Mikko‘s vocals being more front and center with more acoustic guitars than in any other song. And with ‘Ghost‘ they close a magical album with the very minimal sound of just Mikko‘s voice and a piano.
The return of Dawn Of Solace is an absolute blessing. ‘Waves‘ is an album on which as good as every element shines bright without ever taking over completely. Mikko‘s monotone vocals are a perfect match with the signature melancholic sound coming from Tuomas‘ talented mind and hands. It’s soothing and beautiful in all its doom and gloom, matching the desolate atmosphere of a Finnish winter at times.
Release date: January 24th, 2020
Label: Noble Demon
- Lead Wings