Before The Dawn was conceived and born in the summer heat, as solo project of Tuomas Saukkonen, destined to remain a "single parent" of his brainchild also in times to come. As a multi-talented and multi-faceted artist he rather prefers to work all by himself in order to achieve his clear vision for his band and his music; with the assistance of session musicians for live performances or studio recordings. This also explains the long list of former band members in the band´s history.Nastola, Finland, 1999.
After Tuomas wrote a few songs, he recorded a demo in the frost of winter 2000, named To Desire Part 1, all by himself : He played all instruments (guitars, drums, bass, keyboards) and did the vocal part.
Soon afterwards in 2000, a second demo To Desire Part 2 was recorded, in cooperation with drummer Kimmo Nurmi and Tiina Ahokas (violin & vocals), which gained a lot of positive feedback. A complete line-up was formed to rock the stages, but disbanded after playing only a few live-shows.
New songs were made, and for the next recording Tuomas and Kimmo Nurmi planned to start their own record label ("Hellbound Records") to release the new record. Plasma Weapon (a.k.a Jaani Peuhu) came to produce the recording. After "a lot of trouble, blood & tears", the debut EP Gehenna was recorded in autumn 2000, featuring Tuomas Saukkonen - guitars, bass, keyboards, vocals, Mika Tanttu - drums, and Jani Saajanaho vocals. With some delay, "Gehenna" was released on March 23rd 2001.
"After releasing Gehenna we played as many gigs as we got and we kept going on writing new songs. We also sent lots of promo kits around the world, and some record companies offered us record deals, but we decided to go back to studio and then start negotiating with record companies. We went to the studio in the end of the year 2001 with our producer Jaani Peuhu and recorded 4 new songs."
THE BAND, CHAPTER 1
This studio session, with Tuomas (guitars, keyboards, vocals), Dani Miettinen (drums), Toni Broman (bass), Jani Saajanaho (guitars), Mika Ojala (keyboards) resulted in the second EP "My Darkness" which was never officially released but landed Before The Dawn a deal with the Spanish label Locomotive Records.
"In spring 2002 we recorded demos of 12 songs and in late summer we recorded our debut album "My Darkness" including 10 songs and all the songs from the last MCD which was never released to the public."
My Darkness, released in February 2003, features the first continuous band line up: Tuomas - guitar & growls, the previous ENTWINE front man Panu Willman - guitar & clean vocals, Mika Ojala - keyboards, drummer Dani Miettinen and bass player Toni Broman. Panu proved to be a "partner in crime", cooperating with Tuomas in terms of song writing and lyrics, also for the following album.
"Unbreakable", "Take My Pain", "Undone" and "Alone" are the 4 songs from the previous unreleased EP, yet it was the title song that was raising most of the attention also abroad, e.g. being included in the "Dynamite" compilation nro 35 CD of German "Rock Hard" magazine. This track remains the "evergreen" in the BEFORE THE DAWN live repertoire to this day. In 2003, the band supported KATATONIA on their Scandinavian and Central European tour dates.
"The First Chapter" : THE END OF CHAPTER 1
The second album 4:17 am followed in 2004, but there was tension in the band, and the tension was increasing. After the DVD The First Chapter (showing concerts in Lahti 2003 and at Tuska Open Air 2004) was released in 2005, Saukkonen disbanded the old Before The Dawn line-up and gathered new session musicians to hit the stages. Among his new Live Action Assault Team: The Norwegian Lars Eikind - clean vocals and bass, guitarist Juho Räihä, keyboarder Joel Mäkinen and drummer Aatu Mukka.
"BTD had walked a full circle and it was once again my solo project. I wrote lots of new material and felt like a newborn. The material was coming very easy and fast because I didn't have a badly motivated band slowing me down any more. Sounds like a hard thing to say, but now when I have played almost 30 gigs in Finland and in Europe with my live action assault team (Lars, Juho, Aatu and Joel), things have been going so much easier. Finally I have the luxury of working with professionals. I am not the easiest person when it comes to playing in a band with me. I demand a lot and want everybody to work hard. I also have a very clear vision what is going to happen with the music and with the band in general."
GOING SOLO, REPRISE
In 2006, the huge amount of new song material created two albums. The Ghost for BEFORE THE DAWN and The Darkness for DAWN OF SOLACE, featuring slower and more epic-melodic tracks, where Tuomas expresses his darker side. Remarkably, two members of his Live Action Assault Team appear on both CDs, Lars Eikind (clean vocals) and Juho Räihä (guitar solos for Ghost and producer for The Darkness album). Another guest musician on "The Ghost" album is Aleksanteri Kuosa (guitar solo on Away). In the same year BEFORE THE DAWN toured across Finland and the Baltic States with Moonspell, Insomnium, Embraze and Dawn Of Solace and after that they began the recording sessions for another album.
A TURNING POINT
The new fourth album Deadlight, released by the Finnish label STAY HEAVY RECORDS in February 2007, should be a major turning point in the career of Before The Dawn. Yet initially it seemed that Tuomas would have to go solo once again:
We had to fire the drummer after one week and start recordings all over again... And then also our second guitarist was too busy with his other band recording, so I played all the guitars. So on the album ("Deadlight") it is only me and Lars.
Additional musicians to be found on the "Deadlight" album are Juho Räihä, guitar solo on "Fear Me", and he is once again also the responsible studio producer - and Katja Vauhkonen female vocals on Reign Of Fire and ....
With Juho and Lars a new stable core line-up began to emerge, and shortly after the release of Deadlight, Dani Miettinen could be welcomed back on the Before The Dawn drum throne.
THE BAND, CHAPTER 2
The reformed band was facing an increasing demand, because Deadlight received excellent reviews in Finland and abroad. Moreover, Before The Dawn made their mark on the national charts more than once. The single Deadsong, released in February 2007, immediately reached # 2 of Finnish Top 20 charts; for four months it remained among the Top 20 of Finnish Radio Rock. The single Faithless (released June 27, 2007), featuring Idols-judge Jone Nikula on the Pantera cover version Mouth For War, also entered Finland´s Top 20 as # 2.
Determined to keep the fast release schedule, the band entered the studio in the beginning of 2008 to record a follow-up for the epochal "Deadlight" album.
Coping with another change in the line-up - once again, the drum-seat would become vacant - the ultimate core crew of BEFORE THE DAWN (Tuomas, Lars, Juho) raised the bar to highest level. Their only goal was to outdo all previous albums in songwriting and production. With "Soundscape of Silence" that goal was achieved, and the band took some time off from studio, playing several summer festivals like Tuska Open Air, and also making their debut at the mighty Wacken Open Air in Germany.
The fifth studio album "Soundscape of Silence" was released in October 2008, underlining the words: commitment, dedication, talent and hard work. Again European media was full of praise for the new BEFORE THE DAWN output, which also immediately hit the charts among the Top 20.
Yet once again the line-up changed: After playing with live / session drummers, in summer 2009 AGONIZER's Atte Palokangas could be welcomed as official new BEFORE THE DAWN member.
Finally, accurately timed with the band's 10th anniversary, BEFORE THE DAWN get ready to conquer European stages, on tour with AMORPHIS in autumn 2009...
A DECADE OF DARKNESS .... and the story continues....