Friday, November 3, 2017
THE DARK ELEMENT: "s/t"
REVIEW BY: ALAN HOLLOWAY
The Dark Element sees the return to rocking of former Nightwish vocalist Anette Olzon, now teamed with Sonata Artica/Stratovarius songwriter/guitarist Jani Liimatainen. If that sounds like a mouthwatering proposal to you then you're going to freak out at the album, which successfully combines symphonic and power styles to great efect.
Personally, I loved it when Anette joined Nightwish, preferring her melodic style to the operatic overtures of her predecessor. In fairness her own replacement has proved to be a perfect fit for the band, but I still hold a torch for her as the person who got me into the band and helped produce some memorable songs. One of those songs was 'Amoranth', and if you're fan of that bouncy style then you should get a real kick out of 'The Dark Element'. Whilst there's no orchestras present, they use keyboards to great effect and bombast, whilct Olzon provides beautiful melodic vocals with the hint of an edge to them.
Liimatainen has brought to the table a fantastic ear for what works with Olzon's vocals, providing songs that are powerful, emotional and melodic, each one as catchy as the last. A good example of the use of keyboards is 'Halo', a bloody catchy tune that blends melody and power as well as brooding drama, featuring superb vocals from Olzon. If you search the web you can listen to the opening two killer tracks 'The Dark Element' and 'My Sweet Mystery', and these give a perfecr introduction to what is a killer album.
For those who miss Olzon's Nightwish days, 'The Dark Element' is a perfect reminder of what she brought to that band. The only problem is that it's so close to Nightwish's bouncier tracks in style that you wish the budget had stretched to some proper orchestration which surely would have made it an album deserving of that rare as hen's teeth 'RRRRR' rating. For now, I've taken half a mark off, but don't let that stop you checking out this excellent, upbeat and engergising album.