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The Dark Element: The Dark Element (2017)

Written by: Kev Rowland

Singer Anette Olzon is probably always going to be remembered as the replacement for Tarja Turunen in Nightwish, who in turn was replaced by Floor Jansen. I loved the ‘Imaginareum’ album and was looking forward to seeing her front the band when they came to NZ, but by the time they arrived Floor was very much in control and the band just felt more complete. But, I was intrigued to see what Anette would do next, and after a couple of different outings she has now joined forces with Finnish guitarist and songwriter Jani Liimatainen, probably best known for being a founder member of Sonata Arctica, and being in Cain’s Offering, alongside Stratovarius singer Timo Kotipelto.

The result of this combination (Jonas Kuhlberg is on bass, Jani “Hurtsi” Hurula, drums, while Jani provides both keyboards and guitars) is exactly what one might expect from a Nightwish singer combining forces with a power metal guitarist who wants to write symphonic style music. There is no escaping that it sounds like a more commercial version of Nightwish, if that were possible, with less of the complex melodies and folky inclusions that they do so well. Anette had a very different style to both Tarja and Floor, and this music has been aimed at ‘Dark Passion Play’ fans, but without the complexity. There are times when the keyboards actually over-ride the vocals, which doesn’t make a lot of sense, given that many of the people who will search this out will be doing so just for Anette’s involvement.

This is certainly a pleasant album, but nothing more than that, and there is a feeling that now they have found one exact style of music they are just going to keep playing different versions of it, and by the end of the album I was feeling quite bored, which I can’t imagine is what they were searching for. It is commercial, and will be played on the radio all over Europe, and I am sure it will do incredibly well for the band, I just can’t see myself playing it for pleasure.

Rating: 5/10

Track list:
The Dark Element // My Sweet Mystery // Last Good Day // Here’s to You // Someone You Used to Know // Dead to Me // Halo // I Cannot Raise the Dead // The Ghost and the Reaper // Heaven of Your Heart // Only One Who Knows Me

Links:
https://www.facebook.com/TheDarkElement/
http://www.frontiers.it/

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