Despite being a former vocalist for one of the metal world’s premier and beloved metal acts Nightwish, Annette Olzon’s voice has never seemed to get the recognition it deserves. Yes she may not have quite the “wow factor” of her predecessor Tarja Turunen, nor the dynamic range of Floor Jansen, but even just one play through of Imaginaerum is testament to her talent and beautiful tones. Now free to pursue a solo career, Shine (EarMusic) is her opportunity to remind the world just what she is capable of.
Much more stripped down compared to the music most people will know her for (especially compared to the eccentric Imaginaerum album), Shine appears very simplistic at first but does show some very subtle layers. Virtually stripped of metal traits, there are some restrained distorted guitars. For the most part this sits in the softer realms of prog rock fairly suited for mainstream radio, much like Anneke van Giersbergen’s last solo effort. Some of the album’s more delicate moments even show folk-like tints, like the emotional ballad ‘Invincible’.
Annette’s voice is certainly the star of the show, her gentle notes being especially suited to the tender parts such as ‘Invincible’ and ‘Like A Show Inside My Head’. The music behind her however at times is a bit too safe and forgettable to challenge the vocals for your attention; at times rendering this almost merely a showcase for Anette’s lungs than a full musical body.
With plenty to prove to a lot of doubters who have dogged her Nightwish career, Olzen sadly unshackles herself and goes to very steady sonic ground. Not too far removed from Nightwish’s more straightforward moments, Shine proves very familiar and comes across as more a vocal exhibition of Annette’s criminally underrated vocal prowess.
6 / 10