The Dark Element - Songs the Night Sings

The Dark Element Songs the Night Sings cover
The Dark Element
Songs the Night Sings
Frontiers Music srl
This project by vocalist Anette Olzon (ex-Nightwish) and guitar/songwriter Jani Liimatainen (ex-Sonata Arctica, Cain’s Offering) released their debut a couple of years ago and now returns with a sophomore effort, including a new drummer, Stratovarius’ current sticks man, Rolf Pilve. In all truth, while the debut album was trying too hard, this one having gotten through the door manages somewhat better to combine the elements from the former bands their chief members were part of.
“Not Your Monster” feels like typical Nightwish fare, sung in a more comfortable range with probably a more power metal mentality that the Finnish superstars seem to have expelled some time ago in favor of more polished elements.
The eponymous song has typical keyboard fanfares and feels like something that would have barely been left on the cutting floor, during the “Dark Passion Play” sessions.
“When it All Comes Down” is heavier and more orchestrated, but while it has the bombast, it’s not necessarily as accessible as one would expect, loosing itself in its symphonic sweeps and waves.
“Silence Between the Words” is more melodic and almost manages to endear itself, but the melodies have a sense of dejavu and the vocals don’t dare to impress, leaving a stale impression. Also the production doesn’t leave enough space for the vocals, sometimes antagonizing them with sibilant instruments. I did like the ending however.
“Pills on My Pillow” tries to copy the more dramatic style of Nightwish songs, like “Bye Bye Beautiful” and it almost succeeds in doing so. However the full on disco rhythm that comes on during the chorus as an extension of a riff is a little weird.
“To Whatever End” tries to be a heartfelt ballad, but doesn’t absolutely convince and as soon as it goes into a symphonic swing it is for the worse… it feels a little devoid of passion.
“The Pallbearer Walks Alone” feels more theatrical and dramatic, like something that could have been on “Imaginaerum”, but has the oomph,that a lot of songs on that album lacked. I actually enjoyed it, despite the weird lyrics.
“Get out of My Head” has a nice riff/hook, but doesn’t happen until the chorus hits and it tries to be a hit, which it is, but I sort of didn’t get the disco/electro break, which I found quite disruptive.
“If I Had a Heart” is another attempt at a ballad, a more electric one and its okay, but again Olzon has trouble sounding invested in what she sings.
“You Will Learn” again is centered around a chorus and this one is pretty great. It sounds like something that could have been in “DPP” or might have even worked on “Once”. A keeper…
Last but not least, “I Have to Go” is a smooth smokey blue-jazzy piece, which is not too bad, but seems to serenade the fickleness of being a traveling musician. The lifestyle comes with the territory, so maudlin about it doesn’t make too much sense.
A decent follow-up with a fine production and some good songs that might appeal to fans of Anette Olzon’s era of Nightwish, I suppose, but is unlikely to have a far greater reach.