THE DARK ELEMENT (feat. Anette Olzon) – ST [Japan Edition SHM-CD] (2017)
THE DARK ELEMENT, the new musical project featuring former Nightwish vocalist Anette Olzon and Finnish guitarist / songwriter Jani Liimatainen (Sonata Arctica), will release its self-titled debut album on November 10 via Frontiers Music.
This Japanese Edition with the obligatory bonus tracks appeared in Japan today.
Some time ago Anette Olzon was surprisingly fired from Nightwish, which was a shame, they recorded their two best albums with her at the microphone, Dark Passion Play and Imaginareum.
Playing catch up she had her third child in 2013, cut a solo album in 2014, and now is back with a new band, The Dark Element, founded with Finnish guitarist and composer Jani Liimatainen, known for his career with Sonata Arctica and Cains Offering.
With The Dark Element, Olzon and Liimatainen don’t stray far from their musical roots. The Dark Element plays, essentially, traditional European female-fronted melodic metal with a sympho touch. While that’s obviously not a novel thing, it puts the band in the company of a huge cadre of similar bands.
So what, if anything, is going to make The Dark Element rise above, say, Epica, Within Temptation or, yes, Nightwish? Well, for one, they do have Anette Olzon. Her voice is still as powerful and persuasive as it was during her stint with Nightwish.
Also, Liimatainen is both an exceptional guitarist and composer. If anybody knows the genre, and its essential elements, it’s this guy and he can write some strong songs.
But while this sub-genre has been pretty much transited, The Dark Element add a new spin with hooky arrangements without turning things too cheesy. There’s catchiness and melody, but served with power.
The first track titled as the band, ‘The Dark Element’ start things off with crunchy guitars and melodic keyboards to go along with Olzon’s angelic voice, which turns dark, pun intended, to go along with the music. This song along is setting the bar extremely high. It’s so good and it’s only track #1.
‘My Sweet Mystery’ is next and more of what I expected is unleashed on this track: Olzon harmonizing and singing incredibly well with the music, fantastic keys in tune with razor riffs, and very, very melodic verses.
‘Last Good Day’ is a pop song in its skeleton, but The Dark Element embellish all with fine instrumentation and huge choruses. Great song.
More catchiness arrive with ‘Dead To Me’ (almost melodic rock in the verses), and the dynamic ‘Halo’ with it’s fierceness for keys and guitars.
‘The Ghost and the Reaper’ will emphatically make you a fan of this new band in a heartbeat. It’s so good. Liimatainen and Olzon have outdone themselves and like I said with the first song, set the bar extremely high with this superb composition.
Ballads you say? The ethereal ‘Someone You Used To Know’, and later ‘Heaven of Your Heart’ should satisfy your hunger for this. Olzon sounds just incredible on the latter with keyboards and piano only.
“The Dark Element” is a monster of an album and will immediately make a huge impact in the metal / rock world and yes, bands in this particular sub-genre should be worried.
I can see why Frontiers Music has signed The Dark Element: they add to this type of music the ‘cachty / melodic’ factor. Yeah folks, if you like Melodic Hard Rock you should check this album.
01 – The Dark Element
02 – My Sweet Mystery
03 – Last Good Day
04 – Here’s To You
05 – Someone You Used To Know
06 – Dead To Me
07 – Halo
08 – I Cannot Raise The Dead
09 – The Ghost And The Reaper
10 – Heaven Of Your Heart
11 – Only One Who Knows Me
Japanese Bonus Track:
12 – Dead To Me (Acoustic Version)
Anette Olzon – Lead Vocals
Jani Liimatainen – Guitars, keyboards, programming
Jonas Kuhlberg – Bass
Jani “Hurtsi” Hurula – Drums
BUY IT !