Before The Dawn was a metal band from Finland, started in 1999 by Tuomas Saukkonen.
The band was founded in 1999 by Tuomas Saukkonen as his solo project: "I made the first demo "To Desire Part 1" all by myself and for the second one I had a friend of mine playing the drums. The first line-up was gathered so that BTD could perform live. With many changes in the line up BTD entered the studio to record the MCD called "Gehenna". I received couple of deal offers but nothing serious enough. BTD continued playing gigs and I kept on writing lots of new material, and the next MCD called "My Darkness" got very good feedback and a serious enough record deal was offered by Locomotive Music."
Joined by Panu Willman, Mike Ojala, and Kimmo Nurmi, the newly formed lineup released their first full length album, "My Darkness", in 2003. It was followed up by a second album in 2004, "4:17 am". The band supported Katatonia on a Scandinavian and European tour in 2003 as well.
In 2005, Saukkonen announced a new lineup for the band, removing all the members currently in and replacing them with his so-called "Live Assault Team": the Norwegian Lars Eikind (Winds, Age of Silence, Khold), clean vocals & bass, Gloria Morti guitarist Juho Räihä, keyboarder Joel Mäkinen and drummer Aatu Mukka. The reason was that Saukkonen felt that the previous band members were badly motivated and not professional enough.
"The Ghost" CD released in 2006, however, rather turned out to be another solo project for Tuomas (details below).
With Lars and Juho as new permanent band members, the band released the next full length album "Deadlight" in 2007 (details below). The single "Deadsong", released in February 2007, immediately reached #2 on Finnish Top 20 charts; for four months it remained among the Top 20 of Finnish Radio Rock. The single "Faithless" featuring Jone Nikula on the Pantera cover "Mouth For War", reached #2 on the Finland Top 20 charts for the week of July 15, 2007.
During the recording sessions for the fifth studio album "Soundscape of Silence", drummer Dani Miettinen dropped out; the band decided to leave the position vacant and work with session drummers for live shows (e.g. Matti Auerkallio). Right after its release end of October 2008, "Soundscape of Silence" went to the top 20 of Finnish album charts (#14) (details about the CD below). The core band members were later joined by drummer Atte Palokangas (from the band Agonizer). Atte became official new band member in summer 2009, and Before The Dawn could support Amorphis on their Forging Europe Tour in autumn 2009 with a completed line-up.
The anniversary EP "Decade of Darkness" went straight to #1 on Finnish single charts after its release in spring 2010. The music video for "End of Days" from this EP was released throughout Europe and in Japan, it shows footage from the band's 2010 shows in Asia. The European edition of this EP, released in February 2011, contains a bonus-DVD with footage of the band's concert at German Summerbreeze Festival 2009.
In February 2011, Tuomas Saukkonen won the Finnish Metal Award in the category "Best Instrumentalist"; Before The Dawn reached #3 in the category "Best Band". Tuomas defended this title successfully in the year 2012 as well.
The new album Deathstar Rising cracked the Finnish Album Top 10 and reached #8 in first week of March 2011 (details below).
In June 2011 bassist and vocalist Lars and drummer Atte left the band; Lars for personal reasons and Atte for musical reasons. On January 25, 2012 the band announced on their Facebook page that "Rise of the Phoenix" would be the title of their new album, and was released through Nuclear Blast Records on April 27, 2012. Frontman Tuomas Saukkonen commented: "Massive changes in the line-up during 2011 ended an era of great frustration and brought back 110% dedication and professionalism into the band. The newfound energy and motivation steered us into a victorious European tour and made it possible to produce the strongest, fastest, heaviest and definitely the most epic Before The Dawn album so far!"
On January 10, 2013 through a press statement, Tuomas Saukkonen announced that he was putting to rest Before The Dawn along with his other active bands (Black Sun Aeon and RoutaSielu), ending them in order to create new project called "Wolfheart", which he will entirely focus from now on. When interviewed by website KaaosZine, Tuomas replied about his decision:
...I have been thinking about this already for a few years from the Before The Dawn side and first time this was brought into the table was when we were releasing the “Decade of Darkness” EP to celebrate the 10th year for Before The Dawn. At that time I had an idea to end the band because it just felt right to end the band at that point. The band played their biggest shows in Europe by supporting Amorphis and in Asia by supporting Stratovarius. The CD´s were selling great and we ended up signing a deal with Nuclear Blast Records. The album that came after the EP titled “Deathstar Rising” did an amazing job in the Finnish charts ending into the top 10. Still even though we achieved a lot I started to feel like it´s becoming more and more of a job for me and felt that I was drifting away from the most important thing in my life which is for the love of making music.
At that time we also started to have a little bad chemistry within the band and it also started to reflect into the band´s live performances as well as into my own motivation towards the band because I became a bit frustrated. The line-up changes in 2011 gave me more motivation and it once again started to feel like it was right thing to continue after the “Rise of the Phoenix” album but after the successful tours in Finland and Europe and the great response to the CD both among the fans and press really gave me the opportunity to let go of my “old friend” from the past 14 years. I felt like a winner and decided to put it aside because I could with a large smile remember all that great things we experienced with this band.
At some point I recognized I was just keeping the band alive and it didn't feel so right anymore. I lost the passion to make music my own way and the main reason why I had a lot of side projects like Black Sun Aeon, Routasielu, Dawn of Solace and The Final Harvest at the first place. Those were the bands where I had the ability to be artistically free and create what I wanted. Now when Before The Dawn is done it was logical for me to clean the table at once and start building something from scratch again.
|My Darkness||2003||Locomotive Music|
|Deadlight||2007||Stay Heavy Records|
|Soundscape of Silence||2008|
|Deathstar Rising||2011||Nuclear Blast Records|
|Rise of the Phoenix||2012|
|The First Chapter||2006||Locomotive Music|
- Music videos
|2001||"Not Divine As Them"||Gehenna EP|
|2006||"Black Dawn"||Wille Hyvönen||The Ghost|
|2008||"Dying Sun"||Nadi Hammouda||Soundscape of Silence|
|2010||"End of Days"||Decade of Darkness EP|
|2011||"Deathstar"||Tuomas Saukkonen||Deathstar Rising|
|2012||"Phoenix Rising"||OneManArmy Productions||Rise of the Phoenix|
|Decade of Darkness||2010||Stay Heavy Records|
|Decade of Darkness (EU edition, + Bonus DVD)||2011||Cyclone Empire|
|Deadsong||2007||Stay Heavy Records|
My Darkness, the first full-length album by Before The Dawn, was released 23 March 2003 via Locomotive Music and features the first continuous band line up: Tuomas – guitar & growls, Panu Willman – guitar & clean vocals, Mika Ojala – keyboards, drummer Dani Miettinen and bass player Toni Broman. "Unbreakable", "Take My Pain", "Undone" and "Alone" are the 4 songs from the previous unreleased EP, but the titular song received most of the attention and was also included in the "Dynamite" compilation #35 CD of German "Rock Hard" magazine. This track remains the "evergreen" in the Before The Dawn live repertoire to this day.
The response in the European Metal press was excellent. For example, the Metal Storm website gave this CD an 8.6, their highest rating for the band's releases.
|5.||"Take My Pain"||4:06|
|6.||"Father and Son"||4:19|
4:17 am is the second full-length album released by Before The Dawn. It was released on 24 May 2004 through Locomotive Music, to generally favorable critical reviews. Aleksanteri Kuosa was the engineer and producer.
The Metal Storm website gave the CD an 8.6, together with the previous album receiving the highest rating of the band's albums. Gotherica rated the song "Hiding" as second best of the year 2004 (Therion's "Son of the Sun" made it to the top position), and the album was #6 of "Top 10 Gothic & Alternative Albums of 2004", beating out Morrissey's You Are the Quary (sic.) and Penumbra's Seclusion, amongst others.
The song "My Room" was recently re-recorded as acoustic version with Lars Eikind (vocals) and released as Bonus track on the European edition of the 2011 album "Deathstar Rising"
The Ghost was the third and full-length album released via Locomotive Music (26 March 2006). Before The Dawn was again a solo project; Tuomas had disbanded the old line-up in late 2005 and recorded all instruments on this album himself. Some session musicians of his new "live assault team" make guest appearances: The Norwegian Lars Eikind (clean vocals) and the guitarist Juho Räihä (solo on "Disappear" and "Scar") – both would become permanent band members. Because of the huge amount of new song material, Saukkonen created another album, "The Darkness" for Dawn of Solace, Lars and Juho also play on this album.
Before The Dawn joined Stay Heavy Records for the release of their fourth album This should be a turning point in the history of the band, although also this time Tuomas was forced to play all instruments himself: "We had to fire the drummer after one week ... And then also our second guitarist was too busy with his other band recording, so I played all the guitars. So on the album it is only me and Lars."
Additional musicians on the "Deadlight" album are Juho Räihä (guitar solo on "Fear Me") and Katja Vauhkonen – female vocals on "Star of Fire" and "...". Juho, who produced the Dawn of Solace album The Darkness, also produced this CD. "Deadlight" came out in 4 April 2007, featuring the band's major hit "Deadsong", the inevitable treat of every live show to the present day. "Deadsong" (released as a single 14 February 2007) went straight to #2 on Finnish Top 20 charts; for four months it remained among the Top 20 of Finnish Radio Rock. The second single "Faithless" (released 27 June 2007) also entered Finland's Top 20 at #2.
"Deadlight" received excellent reviews in Finland and abroad. "Deadsong" is named as #38 of Gothicera's "Top 50 Gothic & Alternative Songs of 2007
Shortly after the album release, Dani Miettinen returned to the band.
|8.||"Star of Fire"||3:18|
|9.||"Reign of Fire"||3:16|
|11.||"Painless (Japan bonus track)"||2:51|
|12.||"Warrior of Ancient Times (Japan bonus track)"||3:10|
|13.||"Unbreakable (Live) (Japan bonus track)"||3:23|
Soundscape of Silence
During the recording sessions of this album in early 2008, the band had to cope with yet another line-up change – once again, the drum-seat would become vacant. The core crew of Before The Dawn (Tuomas, Lars, Juho) remained focused and only took some time off from studio to play at summer festivals (e.g. famous Wacken Open Air in Germany), mainly with the aid of session drummer Matti Auerkallio, later replaced by Agonizer's Atte Palokangas. In summer 2009 Atte became official band member.
The fifth studio album "Soundscape of Silence", released 31 October 2008, received once again praise and high ratings by European Metal press, e.g. German RockHard Magazine. Nicely timed with the band's 10th anniversary, Before The Dawn accompanied Amorphis on their Forging Europe Tour in autumn 2009; in 2010 they played more club and festival shows all over Europe and also visited Asia (China and Japan in May, Russia in September).
|11.||"Ignite (European bonus track)"||3:05|
The band's sixth CD marks another milestone, as "Deathstar Rising" was released 25 February 2011, by Nuclear Blast in Europe (May 3, 2011 is the release date for the USA). Once again, reviews were excellent, many magazines gave top and even maximum ratings The album made it straight to Finnish Top 10 (#8); the song "Judgement" is listed at Gotherica's Global Gothic Charts among the "Top 20 Gothic & Alternative Songs of February 2011" (#20)
In June 2011 it was announced that with mutual decision, Lars Eikind and Atte Palokangas left the band after the gig at Nummirock festival on 25 June. Lars left due to personal reasons and Atte purely musical.
|1.||"The First Snow"||1:20|
|11.||"Infinity (Demo 2000) (European bonus track)"||3:02|
|12.||"My Room (Acoustic) (European bonus track)"||4:27|
|13.||"Unbreakable (Live) (European bonus track)"||3:18|
|14.||"The Black (Live) (European bonus track)"||4:25|
Rise of the Phoenix
After the departure of Lars Eikind (clean vocals and bass) and Atte Palokangas (drums) in mid-2011, Tuomas started rehearsals with a new line-up consisting of lead guitarist Juho Räihä and new companions Pyry Hanski (bass) and Joonas Kauppinen (drums) to support Insomnium for the "One For Sorrow European Tour 2011", or as they called it "Rebirth Tour 2011" in November. Later on January 25th, 2012, the band announced the new album they were working on, Rise of the Phoenix, through their official website with a release date of April 27th, 2012, making it the band's seventh full-length album, the second released via Nuclear Blast Records, and the first to not include clean vocals.
On February 8th 2012, Tuomas released a video teaser of the album, followed by a second teaser on March 21st. A week later, the first single "Phoenix Rising" was released along with an official video. The second single "Pitch-Black Universe" was released with a video on April 17th.
The album was released on April 27th, and once again received critical success from the metal press.
|4.||"Cross To Bear"||3:30|
|5.||"Throne of Ice"||6:31|
|10.||"Unbreakable (2012 version) (bonus track)"||3:18|
|11.||"Deliverance (bonus track)"||3:27|
|12.||"Reflection (Demo 2000) (bonus track)"||5:23|
- Last known line-up
- Tuomas Saukkonen – Rhythm guitar, Acoustic guitar, Harsh vocals, Keyboards
- Juho Räihä – Lead guitar
- Pyry Hanski – Bass guitar
- Joonas Kauppinen – Drums
- Ukri Suvilehton - Live drums & guest on Track 2 from Rise of the Phoenix
Dawn of Solace
While in the writing process for their third album, "The Ghost", Saukkonen ended up with over 30 written songs. The first plan was to make a double album for Before The Dawn, but some of the material was slower, more melodic and darker than the songs chosen for "The Ghost" and Saukkonen wanted to take things further without any limitations that Before The Dawn might create.
The result was Saukkonen's solo project, Dawn of Solace. The first album, entitled "Darkness Walks Beside Me" features a melodic sound akin to that of Before The Dawn, albeit with a much stronger gothic metal and doom metal influence.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Before The Dawn.|
- from STALKER Magazine
- (in Finnish)