Hot off the Press

The Dark Element | The Dark Element

by Franco Cerchiari
– Sr. Columnist —

With the history that Anette Olzon has with Nightwish, the similarities to this release and that band will of course be made. But, listen to this release on its own merit. This is a band that was put together to feature the angelic, gorgeous voice of Anette Olzon, and here she seems to be in her element (pun intended.) Firmly planted in the genre of Melodic Metal, The Dark Element showcases just how incredible of a voice Anette does have. While her time with Nightwish was, for whatever reason, brief, here she shines and it’s a hope that her tenure with The Dark Element will be long and fruitful.

Released on the Frontiers Records label, along with Olzon is Finnish guitarist Jani Liimatainen (Cain’s Offering, Sonata Arctica) drummer Jani Hurula (Cain’s Offering, Silent Voices) and bassist Jonas Kuhlberg (Mygrain, Cain’s Offering) and together this foursome meshes amazingly well. The vocals soar, the keyboards are incredible, the choruses shoot heavenward and the chugging guitar offers the sound that is Melodic Metal.

While of course the music is a huge part of The Dark Element, all ears and notes point to the voice of Anette. She is the focal part of this band and she is allowed to cut loose and sing her lungs out, and the fact that she is allowed to cut loose and belt out the sung words is what makes this album such a fantastic listen. The music is dramatic, symphonic, insanely appealing, and one can tell that when the time came for the songwriters to sit down and create the melodies, care was taken to produce music that would work with the voice that Anette does have. Mix the voice of Olzon with the Melodic Metal of this band and the results are fun, engaging and infectious songs, that during many moments when the verses gave way to the choruses, the head began to nod, and once again because of the crystal clear sound that the Frontiers label is so known for, that radiant and dazzling mixing gave this release the vibe it has. So it has to be said, the music that the band was shooting for, they found it.

Listen of course to this CD’s single, the bombastic, heavy, symphonic “My Sweet Mystery” the gorgeous keyboards of “Here’s To You,” and the Heavy Metal experience, complete with vocal screams, heard on “Dead To Me,” and “Last Good Day,” would complete any movie soundtrack. Listen as well to the gentle “Heaven Of Your Heart,” and “I Cannot Raise The Dead” is dramatic as hell with a sinister underscore. “The Ghost and the Reaper” is a guitarist’s dream come true, and closing this CD is the soaring, larger-than-life “The Only One Who Knows Me,” that features a steady beat coming from the drums, and a heroic sounding chorus that grows in volume and pitch.

This was a great listen all the way around. Not a bad track to be heard, and the CD played out nicely. Fans of Metalite, Minniva, Bare Infinity, and Exit Eden will love this, but for those who have been wondering what’s been going on with Anette, here’s your answer – her and the boys of The Dark Element have been busy in the studio and releasing an excellent slice of Melodic Metal.

Genre: Melodic Metal

Band Members:
Anette Olzon – vocals
Jani Liimatainen – guitars, keyboards
Jonas Kuhlberg – bass
Jani Hurula – drums

Track Listing:
1. The Dark Element
2. My Sweet Mystery
3. Last Good Day
4. Here’s To You
5. Some You Used To Know
6. Dead To Me
7. Halo
8. I Cannot Raise The Dead
9. The Ghost and the Reaper
10. Heaven of Your Heart
11. Only One Who Knows Me

Label: Frontiers Records


Hardrock Haven rating: (8.5 / 10)


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.