When songwriter and producer Tuomas Saukkonen wound down his previous melodic death metal vehicles Black Sun Aeon and the more well-known Before The Dawn it was with the intent to put together an act to be even more successful, more focused and for the component parts of all his musical projects to date to be brought together in one central outpouring. Initially a solo project that has developed into a fully-fledged band, Wolfheart initially self-released Winterborn within their native Finland only in 2013.
With acclaim aplenty surrounding the self-release, it is no surprise that Saukkonen is celebrating signing to Finnish powerhouse label Spinefarm by agreeing to re-release the début to begin the build up to their hotly anticipated sophomore album, due later this year. But just what is it flicking the bean of the lupus-hearted?
Quintessentially Scandinavian (and pretty obviously Finnish) Winterborn sees Wolfheart pulling together all the elements of melodic death metal that we all know and love, from galloping rhythms, gravel-throated vocals, memorable leads, at times aching, and melancholic chord sequences to darker, more epic songs, stretching and slowing the pace. While Insomnium may be the leaders of this particular pack, Wolfheart are ready to pounce and tear out their throat and assume pack-master status at the first sign of weakness, with songs like ‘Strength & Valour’ and ‘Ghosts of Karelia’ summoning powerful and rousing uptempo riffs, followed shortly after by the more expansive ‘Chasm’.
With two bonus tracks (‘Isolation’ is a keys and acoustic reflective instrumental interlude and ‘Into The Wild’ more traditional Wolfheartian Katatonia meets early Amorphis fare) being the carrot dangled in front of your donkey faces, along with the album (legally) being available outside Finland for the first time, there isn’t much to tempt you to pick this up if you already have a copy, whether obtained by hook(y) or by crook. But if the fangs of this particular canine haven’t sunk into your brain yet, and Scandinavian melodic death metal is the fur coat that keeps your ears warm of a winter evening you could do far worse than pick this up.
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