There's something about the Finnish that makes them produce fantastic metal. Before The Dawn are one such band, and they're at it again with album number 6, Deathstar Rising. Not an easy album to find details about, what with Wookiepedia dominating search results, it is nonetheless a fine addition to this band's portfolio.
Before The Dawn have a very distinctive sound. Deathstar Rising is recognisably a Before The Dawn album, but with some interesting shifts in style. Tuomas Saukkonen's harsh growls are offset by Lars Eikind's powerful clean vocals once more, but this time the balance has shifted. The clean vocals come to the fore and, in some cases, overshadow the growls. This works well and gives the existing sound a whole new dynamic.
The songwriting is pretty much standard Before The Dawn fare. Strong riffs and dark themes abound and many of the songs are as dark and brooding as one might expect. The melodic death riffs and complex, precise drumming make for an interesting, immersive sound.
After a short musical opener to set the scene, Winter Within hurtles straight into the thrust of the album. This leads neatly into the title track, Deathstar. The songs are catchy enough to provide many sing (or growl) along moments.
Judgement showcases the gothic elements further, but with an infectious riff running through it. This is one of the tracks featuring primarily clean verses with a growl chorus. Certainly one of the highlights of the album.
If I were to pick fault, which I am loath to do, I would have to say that some of the songs are quite similar. In particular Deathstar and Remebrance seem to run together into one long song. If you're not concentrating and don't notice the song change, you may, as I did, be confused that the chorus suddenly has different lyrics. It's a minor thing, though. Deathstar is such a good song that accidentally having more of it's no a bad thing.