Black Sun Aeon
Darkness Walks Beside Me

Super groups are no longer an unheard-of subject as they have been springing up here and there practically on a daily basis as of late. Finland’s own Black Sun Aeon was formed last year and consists of Tuomas Saukkonen of Melodic Death Gothic outfit Before The Dawn, responsible for all guitars, drums, keyboards and dark vocals, and also clean singer Mikko Heikkilä courtesy of Gothic metallers Sinamore. Outside the studio, the duet is also backed up by a number of session musicians from other Finnish bands. While, in theory, you could think that the guys would offer you a somewhat mixed copy of what is played by their native outfits, in practice, you get high caliber Death Doom Metal, candied just a bit with evanescent yet highly profound gothic tunes and motifs and heavily loaded with quite energetic additions of monstrous crushing leads and even some Black Metal trademarks.

Like most other Doom Metal albums, Darkness Walks Beside Me calls for certain suitably fitting conditions during the listening process. Consequently, I don’t suggest you try to grasp its sonic deepness while frying fish in the kitchen or hoovering the house. Instead, nestle yourself on a couch, turn off the lights and close your eyes. The absence of anyone else or any other distractions in the room is welcome too. Only in this way will you be able to feel this album’s ample gamut keenly, immersing yourself completely in the all-pervading gloom offered by this disc. In contrast to other Finnish bands, Black Sun Aeon doesn’t cause me to draw any easy parallels to the country’s Death Doom scene, and, except for some vague similarities to Swallow The Sun and Moonsorrow, there are far more moments that call up Sweden’s Catatonia or Britain’s Paradise Lost.

Concept-wise, Darkness Walks Beside Me is broken down into 9 chapters, with each of them being a “real” song and telling the listener its own story of various human emotions and circumstances, and skillfully bringing them to life. The music is a perfect accompaniment and conveys its themes in a orderly, well-finished manner. Thus, “A Song For My Wrath” is equipped with raging heavy leads and wicked snarls occasionally interrupted by mellower acoustic breaks and highly melodic clean singing from Mikko. “A Song For My Demise”, starting with extremely beautiful and hypnotizing half-acoustic prelude, is, nevertheless, the most invigorative piece on this album and holds on to a bit faster pace than the rest of the songs. The leads are massive, crushing and pushing, which nearly puts this track into the Melodic Death category. Actually, most of the songs stick to one template and, along with lots of sorrowful, doomy parts, present some pace accelerations and pretty energetic sections, which helps this album avoid the monotony which is so common for the genre as a whole. “A Song For This Winter” is probably my current favourite track, as I just can’t help admiring its cold, oppressive anguish, well-crafted, low-tuned plucked guitars, tom-tom-like drumming and mighty lead onslaughts, creating an extravagant feel to its otherwise dark mood.

Despite the fact that this debut won’t likely shatter anyone’s views on contemporary Doom Metal, I hope it will grab your attention for more than one or two surface spins, as everything here obeys the laws of quality and perfection. Perfect sound, perfect selection of songs and perfect tempo variations for an album in a genre that doesn’t usually surprise with much variety. I’m sure that you won’t regret investing your time and money in Darkness Walks Beside Me, since it’s going to become a perfect choice on days when you are in a mood for some haunting and gloomy music.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Igor Stakh
May 25th, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: Vance

    I hate to be a dick, but I think you mean Katatonia, Haha… This dude Tuomas Saukkonen is all over the place, his other two most notable bands “Before the Dawn” and “Dawn of Solace” both feature Lars Eric Si of “Winds” (and many other bands) on vocals and he can sing his ass off. I would suggest you all go out a check the material out from those bands. I was a bit dissapointed in this one, because it promised Death Doom and basically delivered more of what you get from “Before the Dawn” and “Dawn of Solace” to me Death Doom is stuff like Evoken, Morgion and Mourning Beloveth, slowed down ultra heavy and depressive death metal… anyways, good review and it’s awesome you guys gave them the exposure.


  2. Commented by: ceno

    My bad about misspelling Katatonia. I feel really ashamed given I’m their long-time fan.


  3. Commented by: axiom

    I love this album, one of the year’s best to my ears. The vocals are excellent. I had no knowledge or expectations from this project, so the death-doom promise just slipped by me. Sounds to me like dark, death with some Opeth similarities in the music and a touch of My Dying Bride in the vocals


  4. Commented by: Apollyon

    Late to the game, but have to mention that this is quickly becoming my favorite metal album of 2009.


  5. Commented by: Blog › Teeth of the Divine Staff Picks of 2009 › Teeth of the Divine

    […] Black Sun Aeon – Darkness Walks Beside […]


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