Review by Mohsen Fayyazi
Artist: Tuomas Holopainen
Album: The Life And Times Of Scrooge
Release Date: 11.04.2014
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
1. Glasgow 1877 6:27
2. Into The West 5:01
3. Duel & Cloudscapes 4:49
4. Dreamtime 4:47
5. Cold Heart Of The Klondike 6:52
6. The Last Sled 5:40
7. Goodbye, Papa 6:26
8. To Be Rich 3:22
9. A Lifetime Of Adventure 6:15
10. Go Slowly Now, Sands Of Time 4:35
According to scientists, The Big Bang was the biggest explosion in the whole of the Universe and its history. But (luckily) we had no chance to experience it (or maybe we did?! I don’t know), and as we live on the mighty and beloved earth, we know very well that nothing stronger and bigger than a nuclear blast can happen here. This is a reminder of the meaning of the name of one the biggest record companies in the metal music industry, Nuclear Blast. So obviously we expect heavy, powerful and fast music from this company.
Nuclear Blast Records has recently released a surprise! An album which is not heavy, powerful, thrashy, nor fast, in fact there is no sign of heavy metal music on it. “The Life And Times Of Scrooge” by NIGHTWISH keyboardist, Tuomas Holopainen is a unique album in the Nuclear Blast release list, which is based on a graphic novel entitled “The Life And Times Of Scrooge McDuck“, written and illustrated by Don Rosa.
As I said, it is not a heavy metal album, nor any metal sub-genre. “The Life And Times Of Scrooge” is a kind of progressive [classic] album, mixed with some folk elements, jazz and even country music, which make it more of a fantasy album. When listening, you will embark on a journey to your childhood daydreams – upon the high snowy mountains, pine trees, cursed and dried deserts and you will even find yourself deep inside an ancient forest with elves. The voice of Finnish singer Johanna Kurkela may remind you of a female elf singing, very soft and light, just like the whispering of the wind on the leaves of flowers. This music has lots of fantasy elements and Tuomas used different instruments which he does not use in NIGHTWISH; a harp, harmonica, mandolin, church organ, violin, contra bass, flute and even an African woodwind instrument (or could be a Scandinavian horn), make you feel soft, relaxed, sad, epic and even a little anxious in places.
In my opinion, Tuomas Holopainen, on releasing this album, did exactly what the legendary Ritchie Blackmore did – going from a noisy place (and of course awesome) to a quieter one. This is not a heavy metal album, but don’t get me wrong, this is really good music, as I said before “the art is the art and true art comes from heart.” If you love fantasy stories such as Lord Of The Rings or Game Of Thrones, this album is perfect for you.