Nuclear Blast Records

Review by Warren Mayocchi

For many years Marko Hietala has been well known for his day job as bass player and vocalist in Nightwish. His distinctive facial hair, voice, and talent have appeared in many additional musical projects over the years. “Pyre Of The Black Heart” is his second solo album, and it is an outlet for almost anything. Self-described as “hard prog” the album is generally in keeping with what you might expect if you are familiar with Marko Hietala‘s works elsewhere. A musical fingerprint I would broadly class as symphonic hard folk. On this album the shining talent of Marko Hietala is backed by an eclectic mix of musical styles. “Star, Sand and Shadow” begins with an electronic backing you might have found in an Eighties movie, it progresses to be a generally guitar and drums backed song with a couple of passages returning to the intro style. Only in the dying moments of the song do the two styles really mix, and it is enough to wish the song had kept the electronic theme stronger throughout and mixed in the heavier guitars and drums. The first second song on the album, “The Voice Of My Father“, is the weakest – it becomes sickly after repeated listening. The remaining balance are all exceptional compositions varying in style and mood from the wistful “I Dream“, slightly Gary Numan “I Am The Way“, to my favourites: the eerie and melancholy “Dead God’s Son“, insistently anthemic “Death March for Freedom” and acoustically beautiful “Truth Shall Set You Free“. Overall, this is a fantastic album from a great musician. As Marko Hietala states, he is well-kept with the earnings from his day job. While he may approach his side expeditions with a certain personal freedom to create as he wishes, they remain gifts to we who listen to them. For those who live in the right places you may also have a once in a lifetime chance to see Marko Hietala performing on his solo tour!

Rating – 83/100

Tracklist:

  1. Stones
  2. The Voice Of My Father
  3. Star, Sand and Shadow
  4. Dead God’s Son
  5. For You
  6. I Am The Way
  7. Runner Of The Railways
  8. Death March For Freedom
  9. I Dream
  10. Truth Shall Set You Free

Line Up:

  • Marko Hietala – bass, acoustic guitar, vocals
  • Anssi Nykänen – drums & percussions
  • Tuomas Wäinölä – guitars
  • Vili Ollila – keyboards

Links:

Marko Hietala Official FB Page
Marko Hietala Official Instagram


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