Tagged: Nightwish

 

Artist: Silentium

Album: Motiva

Date Of Release: 28th August 2020

Label: Out Of Line Music

Track Listing:

1. Truth

2. Unchained

3. Vow

4. Safer-Easier

5. Vortex

6. Shame

7. Circle

8. Tide

9. Friend

 

Review:

Motiva is an album that is twelve years in the making. It is not that Finnish Gothic metal outfit Silentium were dormant during that time, they didn’t even take a hiatus. That time not only saw the band tour, find a new member to replace Toni Lathinen but the band was also writing new material all the time – the result is Motiva an album that not only delivers a more mature sound but also feels like a time capsule that truly captures the twelve years between album. It is also the album that announces the arrival of Silentium who now need to be mentioned alongside the greats of the genre, bands including Nightwish and Within Temptation.

It is hard to find a way to describe Motiva other than pure perfection. Somewhere in that twelve years something kicked into gear for Silentium and as a result they have delivered an album where every single track is awesome brilliance.

Opening track “Truth” begins with an eerie Gothicness normally reserved for artists like VAST or Enigma. The guitars and vocals then build until they reach full power and from there this is an album that never looks back. Janne Ojala’s drumming gives “Unchained” a heavier presence while the guitar work takes the track to a whole new place… something that could be said for most of the tracks on the album.

Silentium can do no wrong on this album. Slower tracks like “Safier-Easier’ work while the haunting “Vow” also shows off the amazing vocal of Riina Rinkinen, whom it feels has taken a huge step up with this album. Take one listen to “Shame” and tell me that she hasn’t captured a special kind of magic this time around… I dare you! You know something is really working with an album like this when even instrumental tracks like “Friend” and “Circle” are so stunning you want to go back and listen to them time and time again.

The highlights of this album though are the epic sounding “Vortex” and “Tide.” Both tracks take the listener on a journey as the band mixes and matches genres as they wish. The inclusion of Tony Kaikkonen’s vocals on “Vortex” only give a nod to the past but also show the maturity of the new Silentium… a band that is ready to conquer anything with easy strides. These tracks will feel like a mini concert on their own when performed live but at the same time they are a mark of a band that now know how to deliver pure perfection.

Motiva is a stunning album that is the perfect soundtrack for a world just breaking out of its own hibernation. Beautiful, epic and dripping with Gothic brilliance this is one of the albums of 2020.

 

Rating (out of 5): 

 

The mighty Finns are back! With sold-out world tours and some of the highest selling albums of the past decade it is hard to imagine that the talented juggernaut that is Nightwish could get any bigger. Yet the release of their brand new album Human :II: Nature last week has seen the band reach new heights that not even they could imagine.

When I get the chance to talk to lead vocalist Floor Jansen it is obvious that she is still in shock at what the album has managed to achieve in its short life on shelves around the world.

“I just heard that we went number one in England,” she says completely surprised when I tell her that the album has become Nightwish’s highest ever charting in Australia. “Even in the Netherlands and I think Germany we have done really well… it is wonderful news.”

“I definitely get more excited,” she replies with ironically excitement in her voice when her ask how she feels when an album is about to be released to the fans. “To get nervous would mean that you doubt something. By the time you call it ready of course there will always be small things but you do really get this feeling that it is ready for the world. Then you get excited to finally be able to share it because yeah it is time.”

One of the big surprises that many fans got when the album was released was to find that Human :II: Nature is a double album but Jansen says that wasn’t always what the band planned on releasing. “Well, it wasn’t always planned to be a double album,” she says laughing. “It just basically doesn’t fit on one CD. We can fly to the moon and we can do open-heart surgery but we can’t physically put more than eighty-five minutes worth of music on one CD. So that part of the technology caught up yet, so yeah it became a double album.”

Tuomas Holopainen is our song-writer who really provides us with demos,” says Jansen continuing into how the album became a double album. “They are pretty far done by the time that we get them and then we have Pete Williams do the orchestrations but unlike our other albums we don’t have any orchestra on the nine songs that the band plays on that was all saved for the orchestral suite. Then we get input from the rest of the band when we all start to play on tracks that previously were only in Tuomas’ head. That is when the demo version of the song really starts to come alive… it is also a process that seems to really work for us. We did take a long time to rehearse the songs that we got though and this time we really worked on backing vocals as well and also harmonic vocals as well.”

As we chat further about the new album Jansen admits the chance in vocals on this album came about during the last tour. “We had the Decades tour where we went through all the old songs and instead of copying my voice one hundred times on the disc we decided to do a lot of live stuff because the voices of Marco, Troy and I work well together and from that came a whole new sound, basically. That seemed to really inspire Tuomas to write more in that direction and so now basically every chorus on the album is us three doing vocals and that gives us an unique sound. There are unique vocal harmonies on every song, different vocal styles – they really seem to fit the songs.”

With the conversation now centring around the new sound of Nightwish on this album I soon learn that Jansen is not a fan of the people that have been calling this an ‘experimental’ album. “I don’t think it is experimental because we really did have a focus on what we wanted,” she says. “I think musically though we explored more than we have in the past. We were better aware of the diversity in our qualities. I think having someone like Troy who plays so many different instruments and the comes from a different musical background to us. Actually we all have very different musical backgrounds and I think you can hear that more on this album because there was more space for it to flourish and leave its mark on the music in a very positive way.

 

Human :II: Nature is out now through Nuclear Blast Records.

 

 

 

When you have bands of the ilk of Nightwish, Lacuna Coil, HIM and Cradle Of Filth claiming that you inspired them and their careers to date you know as a band that you are doing something right. To be honest Paradise Lost have been doing that ‘something right’ since the late 1980s and once again they have delivered something very special with their new album Obsidian.

When I chat to frontman Nick Holmes about the new album he is safely away in lockdown and is quick to admit that the band never went out of their way to do anything ultra special with this album. “When we start working on an album we always use the last album as a benchmark. Now our last album was a very specific death-doom album, every track had a death-doom vibe to it and this time we just wanted to shape it up a little and do an album that was just a little more varied.”

“I mean I think every song is very typically Paradise Lost,” he goes on to explain. “There is no getting away from that, but there is much more variation with the vocals and the vocal styles and the guitar styles, but yeah we just wanted to mix it up a little more really.”

There is no mistake though when you take a first listen Obsidian it is very obvious that the album has a slight throwback to the 1980s Goth scenes and Holmes says that was something that the band were very aware of. “Yeah, we grew up listening to that stuff,” he says. “We grew up around those times, in the early 1980s we were really coming of age…. yeah we are that old now. We do have a lot of nostalgia from those times and the music of that time. We were really just getting into heavy music at that time, stuff like thrash and that is very much imprinted on our minds. It just reminds us of that time.”

“Also the Gothic music of that time nobody is doing it anymore, nobody makes that kind of music anymore,” he says continuing. “It is still very much back there in the 80s, it is still very underground and no new bands have really run with that band. So it is kind of nice to be able to mix it up and kind of put it into the sound that we use and the sound that people know us for. We have been able to put it into a modern context with modern production.”

As Holmes and I both start thinking back to the 1980s we begin to talk about the kinds of bands that got us into heavy music to start with. “I was always into bands like Motorhead and AC/DC,” he says. “There was about five heavy rock bands in the world at that point and I must have liked three of them. And then from there I got into Venom, GMBH and then into Metallica and then that was it, the rest is history. After Slayer the rest really is history, after that I was into thrash and death metal for at least ten years after… I became absolutely obsessed by it.”

“Yeah it was so exciting to hear that first wave of thrash and that first wave of black metal,” he says still reflecting. “It was just so good and I feel so lucky that it feels that I was born at the right time.”

Aside from the music that he grew up listening to Holmes says the other big influence on this album was just everything around us. “Really it was just about life,” he explains. “When you look at life things can just change – there is no map. I think only a fool writes a map for life because it can change at any point. Just when you think that something is going well there is a shit storm, and I find that aspect of how things can just change on the roll of a dice really fascinating. Of course I am in the same situation as everybody at the moment but you never really know what is around the corner and I just find that really interesting. I find consequence interesting. I care about now but when I was younger I just didn’t care about things, I didn’t care what happened to me and I didn’t really care what was around the corner… but now it is all I think about. So yeah even that is fascinating and I just look at life things and then I write about them in three year increments because I do it every three years.”

 

Obsidian will be out through Nuclear Blast Records on May 15th.

 

 

So the world famous symphonic metal band that you are in decides to take a hiatus for a year to recover from a heavy touring schedule, what do you decide to do? Well if you are Marko Hietala from Nightwish you decide that it would be the perfect time to sit down and record a solo album.

Yes after the success of Endless Form Of Most Beauty the legendary Nightwish decided to retreat for awhile and Hietala decided that would be the perfect time to work on his debut solo album – Pyre Of The Black Heart. Now with the album about to be released Subculture decided to sit down and have a chat with Hietala about it.

Our conversation starts with Hietala telling me that he has been surprised by how many people have told that they love the album as he feels that it may sound a little different to what many people would expect it to sound like. “I feel like that a lot of people will listen to it and just expect metal,” he says. “And then it turns out to be a pretty versatile album but I guess song wise it does have a heavy metal identity, but it will be different to what they expect and for that I am pleased.”

We continue by talking about the kind of music that Hietala listens to himself and what genres inspire him. “Oh man I listen to so much music,” he exclaims. “Since my youth I have been a metal guy but I also listen to a lot of other stuff. Ever since I was a kid I’ve listened to jazz, Irish folk songs, classic, Elvis, The Beatles… whatever. My father had a very big vinyl collection, he was an enthusiast. He also played guitar and sang so that is where a lot of the versatility comes from.”

“I had been thinking about it,” says Hietala as our discussion turns to the very beginnings of Pyre Of The Black Heart and whether it was something he had been thinking about doing for years. “I had some lyrically stuff written and I had some musical pieces and then when the Nightwish sabbatical came I took all of those bits and pieces. And some were really just pieces of lyrics or pieces of music, suddenly they just all came up and they fit.”

“I had no ideas for a concept or anything like that,” he says continuing. “I just had some personal stories and personal visions written down, I had a bunch of those and I still have some leftover… quite a lot of them as well. I got the most interesting stuff together and then when I had that sabbatical year coming I got some musical friends in that I had known for years and they just really got into the music, so much so that they started to record, mix and produce the album. They also wrote some string sections for  some of the songs so without these guys the album wouldn’t look or sound as it is. They were a big help. I had some ideas and then they had lots of ideas on things. How to incorporate things, how to put drums here and there, they helped so much. This album looks like me but I think it looks like them to.”

I then ask Hietala what it was like sitting down to work with musicians that weren’t from his band after working with Nightwish for so many years. “I guess the biggest change was having to take that leap of faith,” he says after taking a huge pause. “You have to be sure that everything is worthy and you’re not qualified to judge. I had to be able to jump over that fence and once I did it was a great thing. But maybe the biggest change is that when you write for yourself you don’t have to think about the strengths or weaknesses of your band mates, which of course when you write for a band you take that into account. You think well if I take this chord or this melody it will sound more convincing and this time I didn’t have to do that though of course I take the responsibility of putting myself on the line if I put my face and name on it so in that sense it was actually taking on more responsibility and that made it scary.”

As our discussion goes on it also becomes very clear that while the Nightwish machine is going to keep turning this solo album is not going to be a one off for Hietala. “This started as a solo project and it feels like it grew a band of it,” he explains. “That implies that this will continue and that it isn’t over yet, but like I said my next year is full of Nightwish so it is hard for me to see what is going to happen. But there were pieces of music that we also went through and didn’t use on this album… and some of the stuff is pretty good. So there is every chance that we are going to return to this.”

 

You can listen to our full interview with Marko Hietala below.

Pyre Of The Black Heart will be released on January 24th.

 

 

What happens when Nightwish’s Floor Jansen and Pagan’s Mind’s Jorn Viggo Lofstad come together for a music project? The result is Northward who ahead of their debut album release on October 19th have just dropped the video for their new single While Love Died.