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Release Date: 31st March 2014

Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke

Rockulus Maximus

Anette olzon

Shall we spend this entire review debating Nightwish and their evident rotating door of lead vocalists, or shall we try to avoid the obvious and focus on the good lady's debut studio opus?

I've already tackled this album for review on another online publication, and was approached by the muscle here at MetalTalk Towers to re-assess the virtues of 'Shine' and do another review for those of you who worship the voice of early Alyson Avenue. You cannot say that we here at MetalTalk don't look after you.

Containing ten songs which flow with an elegance that was once bestowed upon Kate Bush and Loreena McKennitt amongst many other fine examples of female singers, this gently majestic collection of soaring and sweeping melodies refuses to follow in the exact footsteps left behind by her former Finnish Gothic Metal outfit.

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Neither is this album an echo to her Melodic Rock days of Alyson Avenue. Instead Anette furrows in newfound glades and ditches that hide the studio presence of the modern, whilst showcasing her beautiful vocal talents which are associated with those previous musical outlets.

Already launched into the public domain are singles in the form of 'Falling' and what Olzon clarifies is her "divorce song"; 'Lies'. The latter is the longest track on the album and carries itself very comfortably on an infectious soaring hook, whilst the former initially starts out with the slightest hint of Eastern promise before introducing an atmospheric vocal presence and some understated keys. The chorus explodes through a collage of instrumentation as if reaching out to a grasping hand, saving it from drowning in a sandstorm.

The production values are complementary and offer a sheen to the songs which adds nicely to the personality of 'Shine'. Highlights on the album arrive in the shape of 'Invincible' which offers up a fragile and lonely vocal initially, naked of backing instruments before gradually placing each piece of the puzzle to eventually provide a complete tapestry.

This ballad is only one side of what 'Shine' has to share as the title track takes the listener on a different path. The guitar is there, but not in-your-face. In this instant the guitar is wielded as a companion to the modern drum sound and the accompaniment of strings which fill out the sound.

The chorus floats as the slightest hint of Madonna casts a shadow when focussing on Olzon's vocal performance. While we're making comparisons, if you wrap your ears around 'Floating' you'll hear possibly some hints of Madonna again and in the quirky arrangements, maybe a Kate Bush vibe too in places. Mind you, in my head these comparisons are with specific eras of these artists, not a generalisation.

This Swedish vocalist has been working on this album since 2009, and to be fair it isn't a band album. It feels like a safe release though, daring to go nowhere near an adventurous exhibition but instead showcasing her vocal ability and providing an accessible musical backdrop. On all of these accounts, it is a success. Personally, I was hoping for something a little more inventive, but maybe these things are around the corner and still to come.

If there is any message presented within 'Shine', it is one of Olzon's favourite philosophical outlooks and that is to look forward, and don't dwell in the past. It will be interesting to see how she tackles her career from this point onwards, but there's certainly little here to offend or provoke any major intolerance.

Like A Show
Hear Me
Moving Away
One Million Faces
Watching Me From Afar

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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