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Album Review: Marko Hietala – Pyre Of The Black Heart

Nightwish bassist Marko Hietala burns bright on Pyre Of The Black Heart…

He’s a jolly soul, Marko Hietala. Of all the members of Nightwish, the bassist and co-singer is easily the most likely to laugh at life’s absurdities. But although this solo album – originally sung in Finnish but now given an English makeover – is an altogether more serious and personal matter, it still captures the huge breadth of its fabulously-bearded creator’s talent.

Occasionally it treads a recognisable path, such as the anthemic Dead God’s Sun, but more often he evokes floaty dreamscapes, hard-edged prog replete with emotive, thumping melodies. Keen ears will hear him re-using some Nightwish lyrics in entirely different contexts, but even those with shorter attention spans will be thrilled by the racy classic rock of songs like Runner Of The Railways.

Mostly, though, this multi-directional album gives insight into what Marko’s capable of when given a free run. It’s a one-off, almost certainly, but a distraction of the most endearing kind.

Verdict: 4/5

Posted on January 23rd 2020, 8:00am
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