Many artists have claimed, in one way or another, that writing music is cheaper than going to therapy because they can express themselves better by putting their feelings into songs and lyrics. I guess the same applies to Finnish musician Tuomas Saukkonen (WOLFHEART, BEFORE THE DAWN). His musical project DAWN OF SOLACE is releasing its third album, “Flames of Perdition,” on January 28, 2022, through Noble Demon, and is offering doom and gloom as only proper Finns can deliver.
Distorted, dark, and full of anguish, “Flames of Perdition” is a deep-dive into melancholy waters with some glimmers of hope here-and-there. The guitar work on this album is not only its driving force, but also the instrument that dictates which way the music goes and how sullen the atmosphere is. When it gets heavy and raw, the music follows suit with an uneasy sonic palette and a very dour ambiance; on the other hand, when the acoustic guitar takes over, the music is generally more peaceful and serene. In the case of both “Dying Light” and “Event Horizon,” the sound and mood actually go between these two extremities, creating moments of harmony that juxtapose more violent passages. If the guitar is the backbone of the album, then the vocals are its lifeblood, and what Mikko Heikkilä (KAUNIS KUOLEMATON) manages to pull off on this record is nothing short of emotional and haunting.
The album opens up on a rather discordant note with “White Noise” before settling into an overbearing and gloomy ambiance, where the guitars and vocals trade place as the main focus of the track. It is a melancholic, heavy, and somber track that mirrors much of the ambiance and soundscape of the album while pulling at the heartstrings with lyrics that deal with loneliness and solitude. The next song, “Erase,” ramps up the heaviness factor with powerful guitar melodies and thundering drums, as the vocals march along at a mid-tempo pace. The piano melody and symphonic undertones of the title track, “Flames of Perdition,” are as beautiful as they are bleak, but soon they give way to a barrage of drums, guitars, and vocals that almost threaten to engulf the listeners and pull them beneath the waves.
Elsewhere on the album, “Black Shore” is a dark and heavy piece with some piano accents at the beginning for extra moments of tranquility before towering guitars leads, furious riffage, and emotive vocals dominate the rest of the track. On the other hand, “Skyline” feels airier and more restrained with its instrumental section, while still walking the doom metal path of slowness and heaviness, with just a pinch of melody coming from the guitar lines. Instrumental piece “Serenity” closes the album on acoustic guitar strums and some percussions, setting a rather harmonious and pastoral end to a turbulent and, at times, chaotic album.
While listening to this album, one can only hope that whatever demons plagued Tuomas Saukkonen are in deep slumber and won’t bother him anytime soon. Somehow I can’t shake the feeling that “Flames of Perdition” is the Finnish equivalent to LAKE OF TEARS’ “Ominous,” as both albums come from the same place and are driven by the same emotions and moods. The music evokes not just darkness and despair, but also a sense of a silver lining hiding in plain sight but just out of reach. This dance between shadows and light is the ultimate beauty of “Flames of Perdition,” as the clouds do occasionally part to let the sun shine through.
Written by Andrea Crow
01. White Noise
03. Flames Of Perdition
04. Dying Light
05. Event Horizon
06. Black Shores
09. Lead Wings (Bonus Track)
10. Dead Air (Bonus Track)