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Tuomas Holopainen - Music Inspired By The Life And Times Of Scrooge

Tuomas Holopainen
Music Inspired By The Life And Times Of Scrooge
by Tuoksu Holopainen at 04 April 2014, 1:28 AM

"I don't think it has been done before." Quoth the Finnish Master of Symphonic Metal about his debut solo album based on what he described as  "my desert island book." Well, indeed. When the fans' beloved Sunkmanitutanka Nagi announced a non-Metal soundtrack-like project long time ago, the last thing one would expect is what we have here: a graphic novel score!

Hints such as "soundtrack", "instrumental", "Folkish" that have been popping up whenever  this album is mentioned, certainly have inspired the idea that it's going to be something very NIGHTWISH-y in the same vein of the last two releases but lacks the Metal element. Well, if you too were expecting an orchestral "Dark Passion Play" or "Imaginaerum" sound-alike album, you're not utterly mistaken. However, this is definitely not NIGHTWISH music. It is different yet still the brainchild of the same mastermind whose magical touch remains instantly-recognizable.

Although the first single gave us a good glimpse of the material, it's absolutely no dependable reference when trying to predict what "Music inspired by The life and times of Scrooge" sounds like. "A Lifetime Of Adventure" is actually the only "regular" song in the album, something that Mr. Holopainen had to state on several occasions.

Obviously, this record does sound like a film score, consisting mostly of breathtaking orchestral arrangements by the London Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Pip Williams that has collaborated with NIGHTWISH many times before. The vocal presence of the guest singers, namely Johanna Kurkela, Johanna Iivanainen, Alan Reid and Tony Kakko, is quite heavy, although it's mostly just some eerily-beautiful chanting or storytelling. "Glasgow 1877" is the quintessential example of this. "Into The West" extends to the Spaghetti-Western soundtrack boundaries touch à la Ennio Morricone. "Duel and Cloudscapes" is the most "Imaginaerum"-reminiscent track, I'd say. Something along the lines of "Storytime" and "Scaretale" and for some reason "Dreamtime" sounds extremely familiar to me. This track has a slightly darker undertone and features an outstanding female vocal performance that I'd compare to Lisa Gerrard although it's not quite that similar.

The main melody in "Cold Heart of The Klondike" instantly reminded me of AMBERIAN DAWN's "Valkyries" and it's where we can finally enjoy Tony Kakko's splendid vocal contribution which is by far one of the best moments in this musical adventure. At some point it becomes almost-identical to "Mother and Father", the final part of "The Poet an The Pendulum", before Troy Donockley delivers his ever-pleasant Folkish touch.

Kurkela's sweet voice ornamented "The Last Sled" in the best way possible while still contributing to its rather melancholic undertone. "Goodbye, Papa" is another "Imaginaerum"-like moment with its unassailable "Rest Calm" resemblance toward the end.  "To Be Rich" paves the way to (the  quite deceiving) "A Lifetime Of Adventure" where you will most-certainly be like "Finally an actual song on  that I can sing along to!". Finally, "Go Slowly Now, Sands of Time" downshifts the ride and evokes a myriad of nostalgic feelings of "Angels Fall First" while still offering a quite different atmosphere.

Well, I shall very unbiasedly say that Tuomas Holopainen once again delivered a heartfelt musical masterpiece, even though the inspiration stems solely from a comic book about a Disney duck.

4 Star Rating

1. Glasgow 1877
2. Into The West
3. Duel and Cloudscapes
4. Dreamtime
5. Cold Heart of The Klondike
6. The Last Sled
7. Goodbye, Papa
8. To Be Rich
9. A Lifetime Of Adventure
10. Go Slowly Now, Sands of Time
Tuomas Holopainen - Keyboards, Piano

Troy Donockley - Uilleann pipes, Low whistles, Bodhran
Mikko Iivanainen - Guitars, Banjo
Dermot Crehan – Violin
Teho Majamäki - Didgeridoo
Jon Burr - Harmonica
Johanna Kurkela - Vocals
Johanna Iivanainen - Vocals
Alan Reid - Vocals
Tony Kakko - Vocals
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records


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