BAND LINE UP:
Tuomas Saukkonen – Instruments and vocals, + featuring guest artists.
- Lead Wings
It’s been 14 long years since WOLFHEART / BEFORE THE DAWN mastermind Tuomas Saukkonen released his debut solo album, and now he returns with his hotly anticipated, sophomore record under the flag of DAWN OF SOLACE. The first project under this moniker was 2006’s “The Darkness,” and new album “Waves” promises to top it. But was it worth the wait?
If opening track ‘Lead Wings’ is anything to go by, the answer is a resounding yes! Drenched in melodic doom soundscapes, “Waves” isn’t exactly easy-listening, but there’s a special kind of beauty weaved into this record. ‘Lead Wings’ has one of my favourite and most memorable lyrics: “Wait for another wave, Lead wings weigh you down, Grief like a tidal wave, Where even angels drown.” Sums up DAWN OF SOLACE perfectly.
The guitars are heavy yet subdued, which allow you to be taken under the sonic waves and go on a path of deep reflection and catharsis. The soft vocals are almost calming, while the drums crash as they ebb and flow to the personal turmoil and darkness presented on the record. I listened to this album through my best headphones while laying down on my bed in complete darkness, and it was a transcendent experience. Grey, heavy and dark but still with an incredible amount of sorrow carrying beauty and great strength, leading us into deepest melancholy, wrapped in the finest slow-burned doom anthems.
‘Hiding’ is an absolutely gorgeous track, with sublime melodies colliding with a wall of guitar and thumping bass lines. ‘Ghost’ is an incredibly haunting finale, and during the last few bars the entire album just clicked. It demands to be listened to in one sitting to get the best experience. There isn’t much in terms of variety, but on an album like this, that’s welcome. Clocking in at just over 40 minutes with 8 songs, not a single moment feels wasted. There is very little, if any, fat to trim on the record. Every single instrument and choice is here for a reason, as they accompany us on the downward trip to melancholia.
Everything from the album artwork to the gloomy melodies found on the record reminds me of cold winters, and releasing “Waves” in January is the perfect choice. Winter is upon us, it’s bitterly cold and this album creates the perfect soundscape to lament.
“Waves” is so close to being a perfect album, and it may be one of my favourites of 2020 already. ‘Lead Wings’ is one of the best melodic doom pieces I have ever heard and I’ll have it on rotation for some time to come yet. I just hope it’s not another 14 years before we get the next DAWN OF SOLACE album, because this one has me hungry for more.