Finland. Gothic Metal. Just lost 43% of all readers of this review. But that would be a mistake, because BEFORE THE DAWN do not shamelessly attach themselves to the bandwagon of all the SENTENCEDs and HIMs, but give the whole thing a shot of older KATATONIA (the combination of vocals and the music), which makes the whole thing quite a lot more interesting right away.
Something that is different from most bands of this genre is the voice, more precisely it is two in the case of BEFORE THE DAWN, Tuomas Saukkonen's dark, raspy voice and the very good clear ones of other guitarist Panu Willman, which together give the songs an own character, because also Panu's voice is not the typical Gothic Metal voice in the vein of the gentlemen Laihiala, Valo or Leppäluoto, but not as dark, with a very own touch.
Musically it is mostly Gothic Metal, yes, but they offer us more upbeat passages and tracks than most others and as in "Seraphim", when Tuomas and Panu do the chorus together, it creates a great atmosphere and the hammering double bass of Dani Miettinen set this song further apart from the pack. And the "Metal" part in the sound of BEFORE THE DAWN definitely belongs there, because the guitars have some real crunch (with all the melancholic melodies) and the double bass provide some force in the songs.
The compositions draw a lot of strength from the interplay of the two different vocal styles and the variable music together with the great melodies that Tuomas has created here, just take the brilliant "My Darkness" and become a BEFORE THE DAWN fan right away! But also "Father And Son", "Undone" or the a bit more aggressive "Human Hatred" (no wonder with that title, hehe) are convincing arguments for the five Finns.
After all Gothic Metal is a partly misleading description as we also get a bit of Death Metal (in the vocals) and also more power and drive than with most of the bands of this genre. At times, with the use of the two voices, I feel a bit reminded of SCARIOT's brilliant "Deathforlorn" album. So if you even remotely like the above mentioned bands and styles and sounds, then go and check BEFORE THE DAWN out, they more than deserve it! (Online April 4, 2003)