Microdose: Dawn Of Solace, Thurisaz, Barishi & Hällas

Written by Carcassbomb

I’ve been pretty much addicted to Elder Scrolls Online and these are some albums that have been a great companion to the endless questing and dungeon runs. Some new favorite albums in this lot, kinda all have a spacey or prog vibe with high energy.

  • Band: Dawn Of Solace
  • Album: Waves
  • Genre: Gothic Doom
  • Location: Finland
  • Released: January 24, 2020
  • Score: 9/10

This is the crispiest sound I think I’ve ever heard from what is essentially a solo project with the collaboration of a talented vocalist. At the helm of this creation is Tuomas Saukkonen, an experienced composer and band jumper. Dawn Of Solace formed out of extra material written for his previous band, Before The Dark, but it was deemed slower and darker than that bands style, so instead of a double album he formed Dawn Of Solace. First album was in 2006, this is the second album – so quite a hefty gap. It’s particularly impressive that this year he also released another stellar album Wolves of Karelia, by Wolfheart (also started as a solo project) where Saukkonen currently plays guitar and performs vocals. Christ that’s a web and a half, too tired to compose that information better. Both of these albums stood out to me in a big way and I’m not super surprised to discover they’re operated by the same core talent. 

Vocals. Vocals. Damn these vocals are nice, Mikko Heikkilä is a serious talent at clean singing. They remind me of some of my favorite Paradise Lost and Anathema cleans in their power and poetic delivery. He has such a concise control over the melody and a wide warming timbre. The whole vibe of the album carries a lot of strength that can bolster the listener.

  • Band: Thurisaz
  • Album: Re​-​Incentive
  • Genre: Melo Death/Gothic Metal
  • Location: Belgium
  • Released: September 1, 2020
  • Score: 7/10

Starts as a long-form combo of death gothic and doom that even hits on some black metal before launching into prog. It’s on some Never Ending Story level shit. The first 10 minute track alone has so many twists and turns burning through tragedy and beauty in equal measure. It’s gripping throughout and has a sophisticated way of implementing a lot of soft styles into the metal genre and aesthetic. Kind of like the middle era of Katatonia, but if they only played long ass epics. The vocals are very high quality on both clean and unclean fronts. These two styles work around each other in very elegant performance of timing and drama with even the death growls hitting surprising heights and notes held. Guitars do a very good job at accompanying all other elements like the violin or various speeds of atmosphere, sometimes sounding very Pink Floyd with the spacey tones. In fact towards the end, the whole thing becomes very Floyd down to the vocals and lyrics also. I can’t exactly think of any way to improve this, so the scoring is more based on my interest level and this sort of genre isn’t something you could refer to as a “banger” but it does suit a specific mood and environment perfectly.

I liked how it started more than how it ended.

  • Band: Barishi
  • Album: Old Smoke
  • Genre: Sludge/Prog
  • Location: America
  • Released: April 24, 2020
  • Score: 7.5/10

A patient but brutal abomination chugging through a horrified terrain, such is what Old Smoke provides with it’s very lengthy sludgy-yet-progressive death metal tracks. It’s also quite blackened, particularly on the vocals. Whatever is happening, I’m just glad there’s solos. Long death metal tracks are something I love but not everyone can pull them off – it’s difficult to take something that is typically 4 minutes or less and make it interesting as a 10 minute song. This is where the sludge side of things benefits the sound greatly as well as competent progressions that seamlessly pass time. Particularly the final track which implements more post metal styles. It’s an interesting sound overall because of the line it manages to toe between abrasive and melody without ever compromising the consistent core of the music. It’s a lot of mess neatly packaged and sealed with an awesome album cover. It’s solid. I’ve actually listened to it a lot because everytime I put it on, I failed to pay attention because it’s such an organic listen that it can get away from you if your mind slips.

  • Band: Hällas
  • Album: Conundrum
  • Genre: Prog
  • Location: Sweden
  • Label: Napalm Records
  • Released: February 14, 2020
  • Score: 9/10

Have I really not reviewed this one yet? It makes every dungeon raid in ESO feel like an epic montage. I’ve enjoyed this one since it was released earlier in the year for it’s flawless execution of psychedelic space vibes mixed with bopping synth. And of course, that beautiful folksy Swedish sense of melody that I’ve been enjoying in many progressive metal variants. I think to call this a “throwback” degrades the artistry and technicality of this record – it has great performance, great writing and most importantly, it doesn’t feel in any way like it’s acting, these musicians embody what they play. This is soul music, not merely an entertaining rehash of an old genre. It really comes to life in a modern studio with modern musicians and becomes something else entirely, something sexy and noir as opposed to dusty. From beginning to end it doesn’t let up, it’s just consistently a bloody BOP. I’d happily listen to this album instead of most classic rock/prog, it feels current. Strong energy levels and it’s almost impossible to feel cunty while listening to it. I can only imagine that while writing this there was a lot of smiling and nodding as each new rocking part was added.

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