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If you like Tarja’s vocals skills then blind eyes go and buy this. This is one of the best old Nightwish worship albums I have heard in years. That doesn’t mean this is bad. No, the problems with this album come from other places which I will explain but as far as entertainment it is good but not excellent. This album is short and since I am a sucker for the genre I had to dig into this. Let me elaborate on what I think are the main two things about this recording: 1. there is a massive lack of good song writing skills and/or 2. The simple structures are made on purpose to appeal to pop masses. I say this because I have listened to this album a lot of times and the 36 min. it lasts, plus the less than 4min. length of the songs and structures make me think so. It is that obvious!
Thus, let’s start by the very beginning which is nothing less than the vocal performance: Heidi Parviainen is a good singer. Her range is, perhaps, wider than Tarja’s herself. She uses higher tones than Tarja ever did. She goes from classical trained singing style to pop style effortlessly and she is very interesting to listen to. Why I keep comparing (as perhaps everybody around) to Tarja Turunen since this is not Nightwish? Simple: because the fashion nowadays is to put a red hair opera singer in front of 4 or 5 more and less average musicians, playing some pop-metal and zap! You’ve got yourself a recipe to sell a lot of records and become famous. If you do not believe me, ask Epica, After Forever, etc. This is, to put it lightly, a worship to Wishmaster days but even easier to dig. Thus, the vocals are quite good but as far as I am concerned, Floor Jansen and Marcela Bovio are still far more superior and professional providing entertainment to me. Heidi’s tone is very clean and she knows what she does but I bet the problem is that she does not have (yet) kick ass songs as Tarja had back then. This would help a lot to Heidi to fly sky high.
The song writing is sailing in middle ground which is another problem I find. The songs have simple verse-chorus-verse-chorus-solo-chorus. The lyrics are somewhat cheesy and too pop influenced as far as sentences and all that. There is no in depth details, for example, such as Epica today with really good lyrics.
There are the usual guitar-keyboard dual leads all over. This is good as long as the keyboards don’t overpower the guitars and that doesn’t happen here. The riffs are very simple and have nothing remarkable. They are following the songs and build themselves along with the rest of the instruments; especially the vocals but they do not drive the songs. The guitar solos are present on all the songs but they lack some melody. They make me think they were written just to put a solo in the song but they didn’t know how to create good solos.
The songs are very melodic and somewhat catchy. They might not stick into your mind at first because of the classical vocal performance in some instances. Nevertheless they are so simple that you can play the album twice a day and you won-t even notice it. That does not mean this is bad. If you want to have some fun listening to a short album with really good vocals and simple structure overall you can easily dig this one out. Standout tracks I would say the title track, ‘Dawn Valkyries’ (awesome vocal melodies), and ‘Face of the maiden’. This is a good album but lacks good song writing skills that perhaps have improved in the second album. I eagerly will go to that one.