Marco Hietala – Pyre of the Black Heart

Most of you will know Marco Hietala from his work in Nightwish, or even Tarot. His voice is one of the more recognizable voices in metal. With his extensive repertoire, he has quite a lot of experience to put into a record.

Now I would not label Pyre of the Black Heart as a metal album. It is very diverse but in general, it leans more into hard rock than towards metal. Also, the record has two faces. With some unique and diverse tunes, but sometimes it also feels repetitive. I think the latter is mainly due to how some lyrics are formed. With the same words being used, the same phrases and the same sentences a couple of times in one chorus even.

The record starts with the first single “Stones”, which you can also see below this review. I get when a song is named “Stones”, you might hear this often, but here it’s a bit overkill. Same goes for “The Voice of My Father”. Musically, it has a nice rhythm and smooth mixture of Marco’s voice and guitarist Tuomas Wäinölä’s chords. Yet the chorus lyrically lacks depth.

“Star, Sand and Shadow” starts off with a synth intro which smoothly continues into the track. The track is really catchy. And the same can be said about my favourite track of the record, “Dead God’s Son”. It has a nice smooth melody and a surprising style for the chorus. The keys in this track make it sounds fuller and bombastic.

Next up is the slower “For You”. It has subtle riffs and just a timid setting of the instruments. Marco’s voice does most of the work here and it’s glorious. This continues in “I Am The Way” and then suddenly we have the wild “Runner of the Railways”. This faster song has a bit of a western vibe to it and even though it feels a little bit out of place, I still think it’s a fun song.

After a few more songs, Pyre of the Black Heart ends with “Truth Shall Set You Free”, which is a mellow, relaxed song and a great ending. It feels like a conclusion of a record which starts off with songs with a lot of repeating in them, but it grows stronger and stronger. All in all, it’s a great return for Marco Hietala with his solo work and I am curious what this will bring us in the future.

Rating: 8/10

Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release date: January 24th

Review by: Michael

Tracklist:
1. Stones
2. The Voice of My Father
3. Star, Sand and Shadow
4. Dead God’s Son
5. For You
6. I Am The Way
7. Runner of the Railways
8. Death March for Freedom
9. I Dream
10. Truth Shall Set You Free