The majority of the music community likely knows Marko Hietala as the bassist of Nightwish. In 2019, he released his debut solo album Musta sydämen rovio. As Finnish is a rather cryptic language in major parts of the world, Hietala released an English version on 24th January 2020 – Pyre Of The Black Heart.
Marko Hietala – About The Artist
Marko Hietala was born in 1966 in Tervo, Finland. His original music background is classic, as he studied classic guitar in Kuopio. Together with his brother Zachary, he founded the band Purgatory in 1984, which was later called Tarot. The band made him become a full-time musician as well. Marko Hietala joined Nightwish in 2001, Century Child was the first album he recorded with the band. In addition to Nightwish, which Hietala names to be his key project, he joined several other bands. The most prominent is likely the supergroup The Northern Kings, which released a couple of well-reviewed songs. Below is a video of the Nightwish version of Phantom of the Opera, which Hietala sang together with Tarja Turunen.
Marko Hietala – Pyre Of The Black Heart – Track by Track
The album contains ten tracks and is 52 minutes long. The songs have been re-recorded, so that there are also slight differences in the arrangement.
Yes. I give in, I cheated a bit for this review and listened to the Finnish version of the album a couple of times before now listening to the English version. The more I am surprised that I like the Finnish Kiviä somehow more than the now released Stones. The only key difference are the lyrics – and that due to the difference in grammar, Finnish words tend to be a bit longer than Engish ones.
02. The Voice Of My Father
Bombastic parts paired with the fragile, piano-background chorus leads to a very contrasting song and definitely one of the most impressive tracks of the album.
03. Star, Sand And Shadow
The song stars with electronic sounds, which appear all over the song. Marko Hietala uses a lot of different elements to create a nice variety of tunes on Pyre of the Black Heart (and the Finnish original). Stil Stars, Sand And Shadow is not one of my favorite tracks of the album.
04. Dead God’s Son
After I struggled with the previous track, the melodic power ballad Dead God’s Son touches me more again. Again and again, I compare to the Finnish version I have heard before. Somehow, it felt to be better. The arrangement could also be more powerful – however, I believe that this track could be a great one live on stage.
05. For You
Melodic, mystic, epic – For You will accompany you for seven minutes of your life (unless you do not hit the forward button on your player). The track has a grand finale, but I feel that the way to it could be shorter.
06. I Am The Way
To me, this is a some characteristic track for the middle part. Long songs, nicely arranged, nice finish, but overall a bit lame – and definitely not as catching as the first tracks of the album. The middle part of I Am The Way is so good, so promising, but the full five minutes make me think about how the next track will be like already.
07. Runner Of The Railways
The track is much more quicker, much more metal, more accentuated vocals – and here we have a good track finally again. At least it makes you feel like dancing to the rhythm, which is taking a lot of elements from traditional music as well. Like it!
08. Death March For Freedom
Death March For Freedom – the title already does not sound that bad. Hietala is back in his element. Still, the album feels to be very experimental with all the different styles. But track number 8 makes you dance and headbang. One of my favorites!
09. I Dream
Just a light bed of gentle sounds with the voice on top, which is having just a quite limited range of notes, feeling like a narrator of a story – I Dream manages to make me listen (that’s where other tracks on the album failed).
10. Truth Shall Set You Free
Truth Shall Set You Free is a cool track to listen. A wide range of very classical instruments like acoustic guitar and string sounds form a lovely melody. Most of the parts do not even suggest that this could be a metal album (the finale even made me think of John Miles’ epic Music a bit).
M. Hietala – Pyre Of The Black Heart – Spotify
Here is the pre-listen link to Spotify:
If you like to have a listen, here is the Finnish original:
Marko Hietala – Pyre Of The Black Heart – My View
Pyre Of The Black Heart is a prog metal album, which leaves the metal genre again and again to use very different sounds and styles of music. If you follow my blog, you know that I love that kind of setup. However, sometimes I just cannot follow Marko Hietala any more, some tracks bore me. In contrast to that, some tracks really catch me and deliver just what I expected of this exceptional musician. I feel sad that under the bottom line, the total result of the review cannot be more than an average rating. It is a Finnish album adopted to English – if you don’t care that you do not understand a word, definitely buy Musta sydämen rovio instead of Pyre Of The Black Heart.
Marko Hietala – Tour Dates
In order to promote the album, Hietala tours to twelve European cities in early Feburary 2020:
|Su 02.02.2020||Hamburg, Markthalle|
|Tu 04.02.2020||Frankfurt, Batschkapp|
|Th 06.02.2020||Munich, Backstage|
|Fr 07.02.2020||Leipzig, Anker|
|Sa 08.02.2020||Wroclaw (PL), A2|
|Su 09.02.2020||Prague (CZ), Roxy|
|Tu 11.02.2020||Budapest (HU), Barba Negra|
|Th 13.02.2020||Stuttgart, Im Wizemann|
|Fr 14.02.2020||Pratteln (CH), Z7|
|Su 16.02.2020||Oberhausen, Turbinenhalle|
|Mo 17.02.2020||Amsterdam (NL), Melkweg|
|Tu 18.02.2020||Paris (FR), La Machine Du Moulin Rouge|
Finland at Flyctory.com
Here are all postings on Flyctory.com about Finland:
Album cover / Banner: Artist Material / Nuclear Blast