CD review MARKO HIETALA ‘Pyre of the Black Heart’

Nightwish-protagonist Marko Hietala is a restless mind when it comes to Rock and Metal. Not only that there are quite some activities ongoing with the mothership, it’s also guest appearances and Tarot, his own band, that filled-/ fills Hietala’s agenda. What was missing up till now is a solo album of the well-known Finnish musician, a gap that was closed in early summer 2019 with ‘Mustan Sydämen Rovio’.

Since was only released in Finland and contains Finnish lyrics the international version is now available under the header of ‘Pyre of the Black Heart’. After having played with the idea of a solo album already since many years it was the busy schedule of Nightwish that was a game stopper for the solo ambition and with Nightwish allowing themselves some rest opened the door to start working on the solo project.

After having gathered ideas and creative thoughts for many years, ‘Pyre of the Black Heart’ is the release point for them. Different than what you might expect, the longplayer doesn’t really comprise of Heavy Metal. Hietala describes the album as ‘Hard Prog” and I think it indicates clearly what road we’re taking.

‘Pyre of the Black Heart’ isn’t loud and heavy. Quite some of the songs have a calmer approach and are in moderate pace. Sometimes, when keyboards introduces songs like ‘Dead Gods Son’ I had to think of German art-rocker Eloy. What I like most are the moments when tempo increases, like with ‘Runner of the Railways’. The song, with the sound of a Hammond, has a solid reference to Classic Rock a la Deep Purple and has for sure some good moments. There’s also ‘Stones’, being the energetic opener and a song that belongs to the musical pinnacles on the album. Unfortunately these moments are rare and the album serves a lot of standard Rock songs too. As examples, there is the sticky ‘Star, Sand and Shadow’, which leaps over to Pop and there is the real featureless ‘For You’, that doesn’t offer more than standard.

There isn’t that much that sticks to your mind after having listened to the album. No doubt, ‘Pyre of the Black Heart doesn’t cause earache, but contains a lot of moderate paced standard songs. It’s the final spark that’s missing, an energy boost that makes you press the ‘Play’-button again and again.

Rating: 6 out of 10.


  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

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Hard Rock / Folk

Release Date EU: January 24th, 2020



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