This week I present a selection of female-fronted metal bands of varying types. It seems to be an early year tradition to release a whole bunch of frock metal.
This is the second release without Tarja and unfortunately it shows. Annete Olzon seems to have more input on the music on here and it begun to sound in places like a heavier Abba. "Storytime" sounds less like Nightwish than Therion did when they covered "Summernight City". It is a dire song that really does not fit into the Nightwish mileu. There is even a jazz piece, which I quite like in and of itself, but it is not Nightwish.
Why bother having a torch song in the form of "Slow, Love, Slow"? Granted it is a decent set-up for the best song on here, which reminds us all of what they are capable of in the form of "I want my tears back," and a couple of other glimpses of their previous output.
Then there is always "Turn Lose the Mermaids," which brings to mind Blackmore's Night minus a bit of mandolin.
Overall Olzon really can't keep up with the music and her vocals seem to be struggling most of the time. There is no sense of warmth and engagement in her delivery. Is Olzon the Blaze Bailey (who spent two patchy albums with Iron Maiden before Bruce came back) of the goth metal world? Olzon is not a bad singer, but despite her pop rather than operatic style of singing, she just does not work in Nightwish.
Then there is rather dire and too-long track "Song of Myself" with its lame spoken word bit and dire lyrics. Hasn't the whole circus oddity theme been beaten to death in the metal yet?
The fact there is more than 10 minutes of instrumental music, in the form of two different tracks, really suggests the band know that Olzon is weak on the vocal front in relation to the Nightwish people expect to hear.
Of course the major trouble for this band is that there are bands that have followed in their original wake that are producing stuff that rivals Nightwish at their "Wish I had an Angel" peak.