I always find it interesting how these fabled, tough and usually black-haired front chicks of Gothic and Symphonic Metal outfits embark on a solo career. And suddenly the style is totally different.
Just check the stuff Anneke van Giersbergen did after her departure from The Gathering. And it is not only the hair color that changes.
So, after her somewhat unconventional and forced departure from Nighwish – to say the least – Anette Olzon was looking for a new calling and identity in music for a considerable amount of time. Evil tongues were – of course – predicting a fall so deep that there would be no return possible.
The hate of the Tarja lovers sometimes took amazing proportions during and after her tenure at Nightwish. This made me wonder why Holopainen did not step in and put a stop to it. But hey, it takes guts to do that, right?
And what a nice surprise to find her new debut album Shine on the shelf all of a sudden. Not what I expected – mind you – and at first I felt somewhat derailed with my metal senses all astray. The reason being that this album is nowhere near metal, but more gets into the realm of soft or pop-rock. So, in this light, the album actually rocks – in a geeky Anette kind of way.
Much more aligned to her personality, Anette Olzon managed to turn her bad experience into some sort of a success story. And I must say, I am thrown! In essence, Shine tells a story about her views on life – and her experience as the front of a major Symphonic Metal outfit.
The lore tells us that writing for the album already started in 2009 during Dark Passion Play, and went on until and after her dismissal from Nightwish. So for sure, not all of those tracks deal with the trauma of her experience. But some do.
I love the way she turned things kind of diplomatically around adding her point of view. Of course, the masters of Within Temptation and others surely helped a lot with the song-making.
And it shows. From a somewhat subdued Like a Show Inside My Head up to Floating with its style elements of Kate Bush, one does feel this helping hand.
Shine‘s tracklist touches upon a number of topics, culminating in Moving Away and – the cherry on the pie – One Million Faces. And this is good work. It is as if a totally different persona all of a sudden emerged. Light-years away from Symphonic Metal, crazy tattoos, black lipstick, and the type of loyalty a band like Nightwish usually demands.
Anette Olzon put together an amazingly well-rounded, quiet, almost folksy soft and pop-rock album. With any metal totally out the door, she tastefully worked over her past experiences in a style so totally different from before that it is almost unbelievable.
Shine is one of those albums that I will listen to on quiet evenings, once I had enough metal for the day. Great work for a tasty solo debut. A surprise, when we expected none.