THE DARK ELEMENT – Songs the Night Sings
Featuring the skilled Anette Olzon (ex-Nightwish) and Jani Liimatainen (ex-Sonata Arctica), The Dark Element dabbles in symphonic metal with sing-along choruses aplenty and subtle progressive undertones to it, and this 11-track LP has a rather modern and polished sheen to it. Many strong melodies and clever arrangements present themselves throughout and Olzon’s voice sounds good on top of those huge riffs that permeate the record. Songs such as "To Whatever End" and "The Pallbearer Walks Alone" strike a great balance between melancholy and grandeur while simultaneously coming across as pretty damn memorable. Having said that, some tracks sound and feel a bit same-y and never really manage to take off or stick out, which is to say that some parts and portions of "Songs the Night Sings" lack staying power and depth. Also, the album does not exactly give the impression of being a band effort either, which is okay given that this is probably more of a Olzon/Liimatainen project than anything else, but they could have done much more interesting things with the static drumming and somewhat lackluster lyrics, for instance.
The Dark Element know what they are doing and the disc definitely has its merits and qualities, but somehow it strikes me as being a tad too safe and predictable, and the relatively clinical and sterile production does not do it any favors either. Still, if you are fan of symphonic metal, this one might tick all the boxes for you.
Standout track/album highlight: The moving and catchy "If I Had a Heart".