Wow, just when you thought that former Nightwish vocalist Anette Olzon was going to become a brief footnote in the history of heavy metal, she comes storming back with this new project called The Dark Element with Finnish guitarist/songwriter Jani Liimatainen. Now Jani should be no stranger to any metal fan, thanks to the work he has done with Cain's Offering and Sonata Arctica, here his crunchy riffing, fiery solos, and symphonic keyboard textures blend perfectly with Olzon's still sensational vocals. Fans of her work in Nightwish will love the catchy, orchestral nature of songs such as "My Sweet Mystery" and the incredibly hook laden title track, while "Last Good Day" just soars thanks to some addicting melodies, fabulous vocals, and beefy guitar & keyboard arrangements. Honestly, The Dark Element follows the Nightwish playbook so carefully, you wouldn't be out of line thinking these were leftover tracks from Dark Passion Play and Imaginareum. "Here's to You" is one of the greatest pop laden symphonic metal tracks I've heard in years, while both "Dead to Me" and "Halo" rock pretty hard but contain those great and utterly addicting harmonies. It doesn't let up there, as "I Cannot Raise the Dead", "The Ghost and the Reaper", and "Only One Who Knows Me" also are packed to the gills with a never ending supply of sumptuous melodies atop engaging symphonic metal arrangements.
Produced expertly by none other than Jacob Hansen, the album also features Jonas Kuhlberg on bass and drummer Jani "Hurtsi" Hurula, who round out the band. The Dark Element, as a band and as an album, is a complete triumph, and a huge welcome back to Anette Olzon, who once again shows the world why she was originally handpicked to replace Tarja in Nightwish.
01 The Dark Element 4:26
02 My Sweet Mystery 5:00
03 Last Good Day 4:13
04 Here's To You 4:15
05 Someone You Used to Know 4:24
06 Dead To Me 5:28
07 Halo 4:26
08 I Cannot Raise the Dead 4:25
09 The Ghost and the Reaper 5:22
10 Heaven of Your Heart 4:47
11 Only One Who Knows Me 5:09