WOLFHEART – Shadow World
“With Shadow World, Tuomas Saukkonen has raised the bar and given us a worthy successor to Winterborn, with songwriting that displays a maturity that has been tempered over several years, culminating in a masterpiece of melodic death metal.”
To say that Tuomas Saukkonen’s contribution to metal has been prolific is a bit of an understatement. Over the course of his career he has played the role of composer, multi-instrumentalist, singer and producer, having released 13 albums with his previous bands – most notably Before the Dawn, The Final Harvest, Black Sun Aeon, RoutaSielu and Dawn of Solace – before announcing in 2013 that he was disbanding all of his then active bands to concentrate on a new project, Wolfheart. Within the same year, Saukkonen released Wolfheart’s highly-acclaimed debut album, Winterborn, independently without any label support before catching the eye of Spinefarm Records.
Wolfheart returns with sophomore release, Shadow World, on the Spinefarm label and this time Saukkonen has gathered together a full band to compliment and contribute to the songwriting process. In a recent profile in Decibel magazine, Saukkonen says, “It was really important to get a solid lineup to be able to tour. I managed to find pretty much a dream team for myself, which moved the band forward when it comes to musicianship, as well.”[ref]Dick, Chris. “Profiles: Wolfheart.” Decibel Sep. 2015 / No. 131: 26. Print.[/ref] Joining Saukkonen on Shadow World are bassist Lauri Silvonen, drummer Joonas Kauppinen, and guitarist Mika Lammassaari.[columns] [column size=”1/3″]
Album Title: Shadow World
Release Date: August 21, 2015
Playing Time: 00:47:45
Label: Spinefarm Records
Opener “Aeon of Cold” begins with a delicate piano melody, but quickly gives way to a brutal blast of relentless guitar and drum attack. “Zero Gravity” continues the merciless onslaught and features one of the tightest riffs I’ve heard in a while around the halfway mark – this one is among my favorites on the album. Another favorite is “Last of All Winters,” with its beautiful acoustic introduction reminiscent of those folk melodies that you just can’t help but want to sing and hum along with, as Saukkonen balances the harsh vocals with a strong melodic sensibility in the instrumentation throughout the song. “Nemesis” begins once again with an arpeggio piano melody before thrusting the listener into the cold steel attack of its main neck-snapping riff, then blending into a few slower, yet equally dynamic sections.
Saukkonen displays an impressive disposition with Shadow World to effectively weave elements of death and black metal with majestic melodic arrangements into a tapestry of truly epic compositions – closer “Veri” is a shining example of the stunning and awe-inspiring songwriting that Wolfheart has proven capable of delivering. With Shadow World, Tuomas Saukkonen has raised the bar and given us a worthy successor to Winterborn, with songwriting that displays a maturity that has been tempered over several years, culminating in a masterpiece of melodic death metal.