Title: Constellation Of The Black Light
Label: Napalm Records
Release date: September 28, 2018
Format reviewed: promo (streaming)
When it comes to winter there is no better place than Finland. I’m not talking some plush skiing resort, comfortably sipping Glögi, inside, by the fireplace … Hell no! What I have in mind is æons of cold, austere Nordic winds, crepuscule, snow … Snow as far as one can see, extending beyond horizons … Snow weighting down the proud trees of the Lapland … Snow covering the deep freeze, protecting the delicate ice flowers adorning lakes and standstill streams … Flurries melting above the raging flames of the open bonfire in the depths of kaamos … Winter … Winter Metal.
Tuomas Saukkonen is a veteran of extreme metal music of the last two decades. Not only he is a gifted multi instrumentalist: the man plays (and does it gloriously) guitars, both electric and acoustic, bass, piano, keyboards and synthesizers, and as well drums and percussion. Besides that, well, he also growls: an imposing harsh vocal signature. His past twenty years tenures including one-man projects and full-on bands, many simultaneously, where Tuomas is credited also with the vast majority of song writing. Furthermore, he is no stranger to audio engineering, mastering and producing. Hailing from the city of Lahti, the city on the bay, in the southern part of Finland, the prolific songwriter and lyricist decided, in January 2013, to disband all his then active bands and projects, Before the Dawn, The Final Harvest, Black Sun Aeon, RoutaSielu and Dawn of Solace, in order to concentrate on his new band WOLFHEART.
WOLFHEART’s first album, “Winterborn” was released the same year, on October 11th 2013. Here we find Tuomas playing all instruments, including physical drums, and delivering the vocals. Mika Lammassaari, the future fulltime lead guitarist for the band, is credited with the guitar solos on most of the songs on this release. By June, the following year (2014), the project had evolved into a full band. In addition to Mika becoming the fulltime lead guitar player, Tuomas opted for the experienced fellow Finns Lauri Silvonen on bass and backing vocals, and drummer Joonas Kauppinen. In this formation, which remains unchanged since, the band released it’s sophomore album “Shadow World”, in the summer of 2015, on August 21st. Mika gets songwriting credit for two of the album’s tracks. Gaining strong momentum, especially on the European scene, the band released their third album, and last on Spinefarm Records, titled “Tyhjyys” (“emptiness” or “void” in Finnish) on March 3rd 2017, to enthusiastic reception and further cementing the self coined “Winter Metal” tag, which flawlessly describes their music.
Well … the winter is arriving, and once again WOLFHEART is at the helm, driving the listeners thru the whiteout and straight into the snowstorm, with the arrival on September 28th 2018 of the band’s fourth effort, “Constellation Of The Black Light”, their debut on Napalm Records, the label responsible for signing the band earlier this year.
WOLFHEART are absolute masters of their musical craft! As a fan, I have followed the band trajectory ever since their debut, at the end of 2013. Extremely rare are the music acts that are able to maintain this spellbinding level of consistency, spanning over four consecutive albums! I’m talking music in general. A consistency level this high is almost impossible to maintain specifically in a niche subgenre, without the risk of sounding recycled, or worst: dated. The band relentlessly continue to explore deeper, delving further into their thematic roots. All of it without any sliver of repetition or drop of dilution. Arguably, Finland is at the forefront of Melodic Death Metal. Musically, WOLFHEART adds a slight “blackened” edge to that, resulting into an absolute epic blend of majestic melody, and rupturing aggression, masterfully composed and strikingly executed with the utmost precision! Sheer brutality laced with ethereal beauty, raising together, intertwined as a double helix, constantly evolving into the perpetual creation that is WOLFHEART’s Winter Metal! Uncompromising, “Constellation Of Black Light” keeps at the core of the band’s firmly established thematic. Winter, nature, melancholy, Norse mythology, warriors, battle and bloodshed find their righteous way into the album’s rich lyrical thesis.
Unfortunately, the band remained virtually unknown stateside, perhaps due to the lack of touring. Hopefully, this is about to change, as they embark on a North American tour, beginning September 29th. WOLFHEART stands their frozen ground in the battle of fire and ice. Their glorious ascent through the nine realms continues. Immerse yourself into the “Constellation Of The Black Light”, and surrender to the epicness of Winter Metal. Absolutely recommended! 10/10 Emil/UHF