What comes to your mind when you think of Scandinavian music that became a world-known constant during the last two decades? White nights, vodka streaming in waves, suffocating dark and continuous cold marking the longer time of the year? These exact characteristic "features" of the region made legions of local bands to come out and enrich (or even oversaturate) the metal scene with their Northern temperament and musical convictions. Fortunately, the frosty conditions still serve as a paradoxical artistic accelerator for the musicians - the recent winter which went down in history as the most ferocious one in over 40 years made the clockwork mechanical mind wheels of the Finnish composer Tuomas Saukkonen to start working on fast-motion turns and thus making the second album of Black Sun Aeon
a reality. The striking debut came out in less then a year ago and let down the basic foundations of the eight project of the mastermind behind names such as Before The Dawn
The abovementioned conditions must've been really outrageous this time - Tuomas has a habit of recording with several bands at a time, so naturally "Routa" came out together with a fresh EP of Before The Dawn
. Nevertheless, the record doesn't yeild to "Darkness
Me" and its music is developed in such a massively scaled degree so that Mr. Saukkonen found himself wirh an extra material worthy enough to see the light of day through a whole new double album for the greater good of all fans who fell in love with the debut of Black Sun Aeon
. The title is fairly justified - in Finnish, "Routa" means "frost"; The first disc is called "Talviaamu” (winter morning), the second - “Talviyo” (winter night). Tuomas' favorite mess of melodic doom, gothic, death and black metal once again doesn't cease to impress all listeners with its beauty, accurate dose and precision. The guitar of the maestro, who by default has the role of a multiinstrumentalist here, is more low-pitched tuned than on the debut, the thick riffs are prolonged (but never boring), and the contrast between the angry growls of Saukkonen and the clean voices of his colleagues Mikko Heikkila and Janica Lonn from Sinamore
additionally strenghten the impression of oblivion in a dismal world under the sound of musical background which makes your hair stand on end.
The time in the domain of "Routa" is as if frozen itself. Both
CDs, each of which including seven songs in total, at times sound as different as their day and night namesakes. While the first half is overall melodic with an increased doom/gothic direction and clean singing style, the second looks as her grim reflection with lots of aggressive riffs and solos, black metal orriented key passages and vocal lines. Despite
this, both faces of the opus complement each other perfectly, which is the final result of Tuomas' hard work and talent to encapsulate a fine example of balance between raw music and masterful melodies in one. In their basis, the compositions are rarely limitated in less that five minutes and they all sound heavy, gloomy and overall united by the sensation of frost-biting ice, which is yet another proof of how something which inspired many Scandinavian artists here assumes a different colour than anything known and finally sounds not less affecting then the best elements of the genre you ever heard. The main power of the record is locked inside details and high contrast basis, constructing the spine of the music - all you have to do is listen to some light, elegant pieces such as "Wreath of Ice" and "Sorrowsong" and then compare them to the malicious elemental might of "Frozen Kingdom
", "Wanderer" and "The Beast
" in order to feel the devastating messages in the album and to pay a silent salute to the musician who incrustated one of the most completed and polished jewels in his crown.
It would be wrong to draw a concrete dividing line between "Routa" and "Darkness
Me" on a pure musical level - those who liked the debut will surely find something to fall in love with in the ranks of its second part, too. The new album enters Black Sun Aeon
's discography as a most natural continuation of the legacy with the remark that it's even further developed and lapidated with a higher dose of perfectionism. What was once only a side project suddenly begins to take a convincing form, especially after Tuomas' promise for a forthcoming third album. Of course, until then we can hope to witness soon the next step in the evolution of Before The Dawn
and charge ourselves with patience which always gets justified after each new sound coming from both guitar and vocal chords of the maestro.