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Hietala, Marko: Pyre of the Black Heart

Mako Hietala has been around longer than you think. Much longer. He's probably done much more than you think. Much more. He's had a thirty year recording career. I first became aware of him in Tarot in the mid 90s with Suffer Our Pleasures and the quite magnificent Crows Fly Black albums both of which have very similar strengths and weaknesses to this record. Hietala is obviously best known for being the bassist/vocalist in Nightwish but he's also associated with Delain, Ayreon, Avantasia and the power metal supergroup Northern Kings. He's not always been called Marko, mostly he's been Marco but for Pyre of the Black Heart the k comes into play.

Hietala is rightly pleased with the results of this, his first solo album. Possibly too pleased but you really wouldn't expect him to say it's a piece of crap would you? What he does say is this,”if I had a goal, it was to not have any kind of limits, but to prepare an unpredictable, spontaneous, adventurous, ferocious and intimate solo record. And now when I am listening to the final album by myself, I can say with my hand on my heart that I , or rather, us , pulled it off... The record is a really diverse musical roller coaster ride that takes eager listeners into a world of strong emotions and deep feelings!" I would certainly take issue with it being unpredictable or spontaneous but it's definitely ferocious. In fact ferocious is the perfect adjective to describe Tarot and Pyre of the Black Heart.

Marko Hietala has a big, mountainous voice; the kind of voice that could wake the dead and therein lies my main issue with this album. It's so bloody loud. Everything is turned up to 11 (as the cliché goes) and this doesn't allow for much in the way of subtlety in heartfelt songs such as the quite affecting "The Voice of my Father". Equally the opening tune "Stones" could, in my opinion, been a tad less bombastic but still as effectives. There's no let up in the aural assault so that by about half way through the album one is just waiting for a moment of quiet just for a while. Even the relatively reflective "Star, Sand And Shadow" gets Manowar loud in the chorus. That's not to say that this album isn't worth your time, oh no. There isn't a duff tune anywhere to be found and the musicianship is top notch. If you enjoyed Tarot and hanker to hear Marko Hietala fronting a band again then get straight on this one. If you are a particularly huge fan there's also a Sumio language version for you to get your teeth into.

Track Listing:
01. Stones

02. The Voice Of My Father

03. Star, Sand And Shadow

04. Dead God’s Son

05. For You

06. I Am The Way

07. Runner Of The Railways

08. Death March For Freedom

09. I Dream

10. Truth Shall Set You Free

Added: February 6th 2020
Reviewer: Simon Bray
Related Link: Artist Facebook Page
Hits: 668
Language: english

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