Archive for Nightwish

Marko Hietala – Pyre of the Black Heart

Posted in Alternative, CD, Folk, Metal with tags , , , , , , , on 19th January 2020 by mickbirchy

Marko Hietala

Pyre of the Black Heart

Heavy Metal, Progressive Rock

Released: 24th January 2020

via Nuclear Blast Records

I have never claimed to be the biggest fan of Nightwish. However, I have always appreciated the vocal talents of Marko Hietala. He’s a spectacular singer and musician. So, imagine my surprise to find out that he’s releasing his debut solo album this year. Pyre of the Black Heart is a pretty mixed bag of material. I guess he wanted to throw a bunch of different styles at the wall to see what stuck. The album is a mix of prog-rock, heavy metal and some clear folk inspiration here and there. It feels quite personal and hits pretty hard.

Right from the opening track “Stones” Marko shows everything that he’s trying to do on the album. You can really feel that forceful presence that has made him such a fantastic performer over the years. The tone of his vocals is damn-near perfect and really hit you in the gut. Songs like “The Voice of My Father” and “I Dream” grab your attention and the emotion just took hold of me when I was listening. The production is simply outstanding with every part of the arrangement shining. The bombastic bass and drums, with the heavy electric guitar, is really gut-busting and coupled with Marko’s pure intense vocal performance really made this a larger than life album. Even the quieter, acoustic sections hit hard due to the purity and richness of the production.

His use of poetic license suits this music well. The weary and emotional language used kept me engaged throughout. It’s almost like dark-twisted lullabies in the quieter sections. The heavier moments it feels like dark prog-rock epics of the past. The passion and conviction that this album presents certainly delivers, with Marko giving his all with his commanding and forceful voice. It gives the words a great sense of urgency and left me speechless at times.

I think if you like rock or metal music of any sort you’ll like something here. It’s progressive rock without the fluff, folk-rock without going overboard, heavy metal with more complexity and almost has a stoner rock vibe to the riff. I think the only thing that most people wouldn’t like about the album is that it moves a little slow. There aren’t many songs with a lot of vibrant energy, the one exception being “Runner of the Railways” which definitely rocks. It’s definitely an album that takes some time to digest. I mean, it’s not a power metal or thrash metal record. So, if you’re looking for something with a lot of fast-paced, in your face metal, then this isn’t for you. However, I think there’s enough energy and heaviness that most rock and metal fans will be impressed.

Overall, a solid album from a man that has earned his place in the annals of heavy metal history. If you’re in the mood for something powerful and captivating, then this might be right up your ally.

8/10

Mick Birchall

New Nightwish album coming this spring

Posted in Metal, Misc., News, Studio Report with tags , , , on 17th January 2020 by izaforestspirit

It’s been five years since their last studio album ‘ Endless Forms Most Beautiful’. Now the the world renowned Finnish symphonic power metal band Nightwish have announced that their new opus will be called ‘Hvman. :II: Natvre.’

Here’s the cover art and track-listing:

Nightwish - Hvman. :II: Natvre.

Disc 1
1. Music
2. Noise
3. Shoemaker
4. Harvest
5. Pan
6. How’s the Heart?
7. Procession
8. Tribal
9. Endlessness

Disc 2
1. All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World – Vista
2. All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World – The Blue
3. All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World – The Green
4. All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World – Moors
5. All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World – Aurorae
6. All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World – Quiet as the Snow
7. All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World – Anthropocene (incl. “Hurrian Hymn to Nikkal”)
8. All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World – Ad Astra

‘Hvman. :II: Natvre.’  will be out worldwide on 10th April 2020 via Nuclear Blast Records.

For more information go to:
http://nightwish.com/en
https://www.facebook.com/nightwish

Forbidden Lore – Forbidden Lore EP

Posted in Metal with tags , , , on 6th January 2017 by izaforestspirit

Forbidden Lore
Forbidden Lore EP
Released 13th October 2016
Symphonic Metal
Self-Released


‘Forbidden Lore’ is the first EP from the Greek symphonic metal band of the same name. Forbidden Lore describe their style since as a mixture of symphonic metal with progressive metal and soundtrack music.

There are only three tracks on here, which is just about enough for the listener to get an idea of what this band is all about. First up is the melodic Endless Run which definitely has that fantasy soundtrack feel to it. Nightwish and Epica comparisons are pretty much inevitable due to the melodic female vocals (please note that “melodic” in this case doesn’t mean “operatic”). Luckily Georgia Mavrantza has a good voice which suits the music. There are some progressive elements audible in the guitars. Shadows on Ice is a much more straightforward piece of symphonic metal with equal emphasis on both the vocals and the orchestration. There is only a small portion of the song that features the progressive guitar parts. Last one is Grace In Our Fall, which really brings out the high notes in the vocal department demonstrating the singer’s impressive range. This is probably the most symphonic, orchestral and the most fantasy soundtrack -esque song on the EP.

In summary, it’s difficult to judge a band based on just three tracks. I now have a better understanding of what Forbidden Lore are trying to be. Their music can be described as being metal in the same vein as the more established bands Epica and Nightwish. So if you like these then there is a very good chance that you will enjoy Forbidden Lore.

3/5

Iza Raittila

Two New Additions For Northern Symphony 2016

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on 20th January 2016 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Two more bands have been announced to join the likes of Theatres des Vampires, Old Corpse Road and Alwaid at the second edition of the UK’s leading symphonic metal festival: Northern Symphony.

Scottish suited-and-booted black metal corporation Maelstrom, who have supported the likes of Alestorm and Tyr in the past, have been announced to headline the Infernal Orchestra stage on 16th April this year. The band’s keyboardist Jaime Cross comments:

It’s a massive honour to have been picked to headline the Infernal Orchestra stage. We’re all excited about the festival and we always enjoy our shows in England. We look forward to seeing you all there!

Joining Maelstrom on the Infernal Orchestra stage are Ward XVI, who describe themselves as theatrical avant-garde rock. Mixing haunting melodies and female vocals with heavy guitar passages and the occasional segment of accordions, Ward XVI are an interesting addition to the festival.

Northern Symphony Festival will take place on Saturday 16th April at The Venue in Selby. In total, there will be 14 bands across 2 stages. The Midnight Waltz stage will be headlined by Italy’s legendary vampire-themed metal band THEATRES DES VAMPIRES.

Advance tickets are available for £15 from the festival’s BigCartel store.Further information is available at the festival’s official Facebook page.

Graveshadow – Nocturnal Resurrection

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 1st December 2015 by izaforestspirit

Graveshadow
Nocturnal Resurrection
Released 15th November 2015
Symphonic Metal with Death Metal elements
Released via Mausoleum Records

‘Nocturnal Resurrection’ is the debut album from the American symphonic metal band Graveshadow. The band was originally formed in 2012 by rhythm guitarist William Walker. This album has been mixed and mastered by Emil “Nightmare” Nodtveit (Deathstars) and it features Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear, Blackwelder) as a guest vocalist on one of the tracks.

Symphonic metal is a genre that I don’t tend to listen to a lot these days. There was a time when I really liked it; the good old days back when Nightwish was at the high-point of their career. Since then there has been the occasional discovery of a hidden gem such as Angtoria’s debut album and Tarja Turunen’s solo work, but generally speaking I no longer find the genre as exciting or memorable as I used to. Let’s see if Graveshadow can change my mind…

After the harmonious keyboard intro, the guitars enter the frame and singer Heather’s powerful vocals ensure that you will not be forgetting Namesake any time soon. Unlike many other female metal vocalists, she doesn’t stick to just one style but prefers to show off an impressive vocal range with both the operatic (read Nightwish, After Forever -style) and death metal growls on offer. Yes, that’s right – death metal growling… the type that Angela Gossow used to do with Arch Enemy. This second style adds a touch of aggression to the beautifully composed symphonic melodies and the catchy guitar tunes.

Speaking of catchy, that’s probably the best way to describe Lycan Lust. This track is less about the keyboards and the emphasis shifts towards the thunderous pace of the thrash metal style, guitar riffs and drums and of course the compelling vocals of Miss Heather Michele. Don’t let the gentle, sweet melodies fool you, for beneath this innocent-looking mask lies a demon that bites. If you want to hear the more tamed, gentle side of Graveshadow then Winter’s Come to Call and Fading are the tracks for you. The Doctor Who -inspired track  Blink starts off as another fantasy themed, symphonic metal song but then develops more of the aggressive feel due to the predominance of the guitars and the harsh vocals.

Overall, this album is bound to attract a lot of attention. That’s not to say that every symphonic or gothic metal fan will like it. It’s not for everyone and if you’re looking for something akin to Within Temptation or current Nightwish, then I’d advise you to steer clear of this. If however, you’re like me – bored with the current state of symphonic metal scene and you’re looking for something experimental and unique then you should give Graveshadow a try.

4/5

Iza Raittila

Sonata Arctica, Children of Bodom and Nightwish live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live, Metal with tags , , on 1st August 2015 by izaforestspirit

Sonata Arctica, Children of Bodom, Nightwish
Ratina Stadium, Tampere, Finland
31st July 2015

A cloudy Friday night in central Tampere. The weather might have not been great but there was a sizable crowd of metalheads gathered at the local stadium. Why, you might ask? Three of the country’s biggest metal bands have come here to play a show.

Sonata Arctica were almost half way through their set by the time I arrived at the venue. I like some of their old albums but I’ve never been a massive fan. I’ve also seen them live many times before so I knew what to expect from their show. They play energetic power metal with very fast keyboards and squeaky vocals. I’m not familiar with their recent albums but I’m glad that they played ‘Don’t Say A Word’ towards the end because that is one of the very few songs that I recognized. 3/5

I’ve been a Children of Bodom fan since my early teens and I was really looking forward to see them live again. The last time that I saw them was at Sauna Open Air back in 2013. This time they played more songs from their newer albums which was a bit of shame because I actually prefer the old songs. Luckily their set also featured some of my favourites including ‘Lake Bodom’, ‘Hate Me’, ‘Needled 24/7’ and ‘In Your Face’. 4/5

The last time that I saw the headlining act, Nightwish, was in 2013 just before they announced that Floor Jansen was going to be their full-time singer. I don’t own a copy of their latest album, but I’ve heard some of the songs on the radio such as the single ‘Élan’. I actually danced along to the tune when I heard it. They put on an elaborate performance complete with large backdrop artwork display, pyrotechnics and fireworks. I was really happy to hear some of the old classics, such as ‘Stargazers’, ‘Sleeping Sun’ and my personal favourite ‘She Is My Sin’. These were songs which I never thought that I would get to hear live since their previous singer Anette couldn’t handle the operatic vocals. Luckily her replacement, Floor Jansen is a much more skilled vocalist and a better performer. Not only could she sing all the classic Nightwish songs but also their mid-career stuff such as ‘Amaranth’ (originally written with Anette on vocals) sounded good. All the fancy stage props really helped to build up to the grand finale, the unforgettable opus that is ‘The Greatest Show on Earth. 5/5

Overall, it’s been a memorable evening. Sonata Arctica’s show was pretty much what I expected it to be. Children of Bodom put on a good show but they were better the previous time that I saw them. Nightwish exceeded my expectations with a fantastic show that I won’t be forgetting any time soon.

Iza Raittila

Nightwish – Endless Forms Most Beautiful

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 19th April 2015 by mickbirchy

Nightwish
Endless Forms Most Beautiful
Symphonic metal
Released on March 30, 2015
Via Nuclear Blast Records

OK, so I’m not going to pretend like I’m the biggest Nightwish fan. However, I am a fan of the symphonic metal genre and they are a big part of that world of music and I did enjoy their last outing Imaginaerum, like, a lot. So, when I got Endless Forms Most Beautiful I was wondering what the band had in store, as this is the first album with new singer Floor Jansen, who to me seemed like a good match for them; she has a fantastic voice and I was wondering how the band were going to use her for this album.

Now the intro is out of the way, I’ll just say it: this album is bad, really bad, but… The bits that Nightwish get right are pretty fantastic.  I can honestly say that some of the riffs and melodies on this record are actually really good. It’s like a bad Disney movie, bad and hard to sit through, but dammit, when they get it right, they get it right.  Same can be said for this album, it’s all pretty hit and miss. Believe when I say, I hate that I have to hate this album, because a few changes here or there and this would have been solid, or at the very least listenable. The album opens with the tune “Shudder Before the Beautiful” which is actually pretty catchy and works pretty well. Same can be said for a range of song on the record, catchy and definitely show signs of interest and promise but ultimately don’t leave much of an impression on me. Tuomas Holopainen’s compositions always have this weird charms to them but it’s the song he wrote with Marco Hietala that particular stand out for me, especially Yours Is An Empty Hope.

To be perfectly honest, I think it’s because the album feels mostly lifeless. I’m willing to concede that yes, a lot of work went into this record, but everything feels so lifeless and non committal. It just feels empty. Also I don’t think Floor Jansen is used to her fullest potential, I know that was the intention but why? It’s like a pirate ship having 50 cannons and then choosing not to use 25 of them, it makes no sense. Also the production sounds a little muted, I always find myself having to turn the volume up, I couldn’t explain this to save me it’s weird.  Alot of it just sounds like their trying way too hard to sound big and symphonic, and when you’re struggling to sound symphonic, it makes everything sound so fake around you and it’s hard to be invested in the music.

The only couple of songs that I really enjoyed on this album are, Yours Is An Empty Hope, which is this high octane rush of a song, it gets you pumped and the music is vaguely interesting here.  Also the title track, Endless Forms Most Beautiful, is pretty decent too, well paced and balanced.  Other than that, I couldn’t recommend this at all.

Overall, well no, I don’t like it.  I know that sometimes different doesn’t always mean bad, but here I feel Nightwish kept too much the same from their records with Anette Olzen. If she was singing here, this might have been salvageable, but you can’t change the singer and keep the old song writing patterns, that makes no sense.  Ultimately I can’t say I like this album, but this has had high critical praise elsewhere, so what do I know…

2/5

Mick Birchall