Album Reviews

Marko Hietala – Pyre Of The Black Heart Review

Release: 1/24/2020

Label: Nuclear Blast Records

Genre: Metal

 

Band Line Up:

Marko Hietala – Bass, Vocals
Tuomas Wainola – Guitar
Vili Ollila – Keyboards
Anssi Nykanen – Drums

 

Track list:

Stones
The Voice Of My Father
Star, Sand and Shadow
Dead God’s Son
For You
Runner of the Railways
Death March for Freedom
I Dream
Truth Shall Set You Free

 

One of my favorite backing vocalists just made his first solo album! ‘Pyre of the Black Heart’ is one album you would want in any metal collection!

If you are expecting a Nightwish-esk album: Nope! That gruff, powerful, voice from songs like ‘Master Passion Greed’ and ‘The Islander’ from the Symphonic Power Metal groups album “Dark Passion Play”, has a full force on “Pyre Of A Black Heart” and is nothing like Nightwish what so ever, and in fact became a great solo album by bass player Marko Hietala! Marko has said that Nightwish will forever be his main band, but he wanted to really make an album with no limitations, anything goes on, let the ideas flow and just create something: And that he did! From songs like “Star, Sand and Shadow” to “Death March for Freedom” and the sing-a-long song, “Stones”, you can really hear the ideas were flowing, and the group had a fun time writing and composing this album. Each musician brought their own personality to the table, and you can hear everyone had a say in the album simply due to the flow. Most albums by solo artists always have this stuffy feeling to them. It normal comes from just one person running the whole show, because it’s THEIR solo album, and they want it to be the best thing they can put out. Here, Marko, being an amazing composer and player, just escalated with his band! I was not expected to be blown away as far as I was: That nice Finish Power Metal vibe that just makes you want to sit in a forest, chop down trees, and then climb a mountain! Just give the album a listen, you will hear what I mean!

Right out the gate you have an amazing opening to the album, “Stones” being the first single off ‘Pyre Of The Black Heart’. And it honestly is an amazing step forward into this album. “Stones” (which really needs to have an exclamation every time you say the name), walks you into the album with Markos amazing, gruff, voice in front of a beautiful 12 string guitar. Next thing you know you are head banging to that power house riff as the full band comes in to the picture. Beautifully mixed and mastered. One would expect the group to continue with this full metal sound, but instead they take a step back and bring forth one of the more beautiful songs on the album, “The Voice Of My Father”. This song reached home to me, from the amazing Piano work of Vili Ollila, and the sometimes timid and loving voice from Marko. This has become one of my all-time favorite ballads in Metal history, and I truly did not expect it on this album, Marko, created! Though, a few of the songs on the album do seem to have a nice ballad like sound to them, some do drift off to the Power Metal roots, others more of a softer rock feel to them. I was hoping for a few more songs like ‘Stones’ and “Star, Sand and Shadow’ on the album. But It was actually kind of refreshing to hear Marcos’ singing voice over his, what I call it, Viking singing, such as the chorus in ‘Stones’. Either way, my favorite songs on this album has to be: ‘The Voice Of My Father’, ‘Stones’, ‘For You’ and ‘Star, Sand and Shadow’! Each song shows the range of creativity this group has together, and some good messages!

 

 

Written by: Jeremy Nelson

Ratings: 8/10

 

 

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