When you hear Marko Hietala is going to release a solo album, you kind of get a hunch what it is going to sound like. The softer sides of Nightwish he once established in the magical The Islander 13 years ago, blended with finnish melancholia, emotional vocals, irish folk music influences and some experimenting. And of course, a more personal touch! And yeah, that’s kind of what Pyre Of The Black Heart sounds like. But with that said, there’s of course nothing wrong with that. Seeing how, as we all know, Hietala has a great lowdown voice, it actually sounds quite promising.
Like most solo debuts, Pyre Of The Black Heart takes a big step from the main bands Nightwish and Tarot, but also feels like a natural progression of Hietalas musicality. There are a lot of acoustic guitars and strings in the music, and the vocals never stretches for those rough moments that made Hietelas voice familiar. We are always moving in a sort of half ballad type of metal, which thanks to Hietalas great voice works really good, especially in the opening song Stones and the gripping The Voice Of My Father. The album also has some more light weight touches such as Runner Of The Railways, a playful track with fast tempo and doo-wop-choirs, plus some more metallic tunes along the way which feel a little more forgettable.
In the end, there’s not much wrong with Pyre Of The Black Heart. It is a genuine, strong and emotional album. It just lacks something extra. Those really strong songs that makes it all come alive and put a burning mark in your memory. But as a solo debut from one of Finlands most important metal musicians, this certainly aint bad. If you are a fan of his lowdown voice, this is sure worth checking out.
Artist: Marko Hietala
Title: Pyre Of The Black Heart
Label: Nuclear Blast
Date of release: 24/1-20
Standout track: The Voice Of My Father
Like most solo debuts, Pyre Of The Black Heart takes a big step from the main bands Nightwish and Tarot, but also feels like a natural progression of Hietalas musicality.