I have a been a fan of Jani Liimatainen’s writing since his song “My Selene” was released on Sonata Arctica’s album, RECKONING NIGHT. The album starts with the title track and we are not kept waiting with a long introduction to hear Anette Olzon’s unmistakable voice. The music is bright and melodic in contrast to my impression of lyrical content. Many of the lyrics make this album sound like a break-up album.
While all the tracks are listed as being written by Jani Liimatainen, he was quoted as saying: “I have always been a big fan of Olzon’s voice and when the opportunity to work with her arose, writing and producing an album, it was something I just couldn’t say no! It has been a blast working on the songs and I can’t wait for everyone to hear the final result…” “My Sweet Mystery” sounds very much like Nightwish’s “Storytime”, especially the introduction. As the first single to be released from the album, when it was played for me ‘blind’ I actually thought it was Nightwish before Olzon started singing.
Pay close attention to the lyrics when you listen to “Last Good Day”. It’s a melodic reminder for us all to live each of our remaining days to the fullest.
The bitterest of the songs is “Here’s to You”, but unlike the lyrics, the music offers hope. Maybe these lyrics are meant to be accepting and forgiving?
The fastest and heaviest of the album tracks “Dead to Me” also has a somewhat Nightwish flavour as a result of the keyboard sounds being played. The anger of the song is exemplified by the growl vocals adding the texture needed to make the song very powerful.
There is pain, hope, despair in the lyrics of THE DARK ELEMENT yet the powerful melodies and arrangements give this album beauty rather than allow it to wallow in doom and gloom. Olzon’s sweet, pop-like voice keeps the album bright which will have you either loving or loathing the album. Me? I would have liked to hear more contrast in the vocals. If I was asked to pick the weakest song, I don’t think I would be able to.
There is no denying Liimatainen’s talent. THE DARK ELEMENT will surely become a favourite for melodic metal fans.