7/10

I am one of those who were very happy when Anette Olzon took place as vocalist in Nightwish. Her strong, pop-oriented voice smoothed itself perfectly into the band’s highly dramatic music. Abba Metal, if you will. Olzon-era tunes such as “Amaranth” and “Storytime” are great highlights of the Nightwish cannon, in my humble opinion. The Dark Element was more of the same, and here comes Olzon’s second solo album.

Whereas her solo debut “Shine” (2014) was a lot in the pop music vein, “Strong” is a true metal record. It’s heavily melodical with symphonic parts, but never straying far from the language of heavy metal in the tradition of bands such as Masterplan. Some elements of aggro-vocals/growls serve to underscore this fact.
The song quality is strong throughout the album. My list of favourites includes the power ballad “Sad lullaby”, brimming with emotion, the uptempo mayhem of “Parasite”.
“Who can save them”, where Anette really gets to stretch her vocal chords, and the grand power metal finale of “Roll the dice”. The biggest highlight comes first, however, with the highly effective “Bye bye bye”. And Olzon’s Swedish accent brings extra flavour to the lively melting pot of her voice.
Band: Anette Olzon
Title: Strong
Label: Frontiers Music
Date of release: Septmber 10, 2021
Time: 53:18
Rate: 7/10
Stand out track: “Bye bye bye”