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MARKO HIETALA - Pyre Of The Black Heart

Friday, January 10, 2020 - by Nuclear Blast

After starting influential career few decades ago and selling enormous piles of groundbreaking albums along the way, what might be the next logical move for one of the most gifted singing heavy metal bassists of our – or all – times? 

Yes, indeed: a solo record.
Photo credit: Andrea Beckers

Very own studio album is exactly what Savonian rooster MARKO HIETALA – oh, you read it right: artist name Marco Hietala lies in the past these days – has been planning and sketching already for ages.

The obvious question remains: why has it taken so damn long? With that kind of exceptional gifts for playing, composing, singing and writing, most fans of wonderful rock music would have expected MARKO HIETALA’s own studio recording many, many moons ago.

Well, there has been some serious speed bumps en route – most monumental of them being one certain Finnish musical ensemble named NIGHTWISH. Let’s explain this in plain English: when your band is easily one of the biggest names in the world of heavy metal, there may just be no time for external activities.

Enter 2017. Enter NIGHTWISH’s year-long sabbatical, following enormously successful “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” album and consequent 18 month long world tour. 
When we decided to allow some rest for NIGHTWISH – first time in about 20 years –, I soon reached the point of realization: The time has come – I will be spending my year off by working like hell... Working around my own album”, says Hietala with a smile.

After my musical career started in the dawn of 1980s, I have ever since been coming up with all kinds of ideas. Of course, good pile of selected works have been used by NIGHTWISH and huge number of epiphanies have been released on TAROT’s – my other band – albums, but on top of these, there has been a lot of musical discoveries that have been sounding little bit more personal and also somewhat different... You know, there is definitely different kind of mindset when you are just writing something out of the blue, and there’s simply zero need to justify these ideas to some band who already has its own style and sound.

When asked about the certain goals concerning the first solo album – namely “Pyre of the Black Heart” –, Hietala ponders for a good moment.

Well, let’s put it this way: NIGHTWISH is without a doubt my main band, and thanks to income from that direction, I don’t have to be that commercially aware... What I mean is that when I was coming up with the ideas for this solo work, I was able to do simply anything without limits at all. Really, even if I got some completely wacky idea (that I liked), I just utilized it immediately without hesitation”, laughs bearded musician.

So if I had a goal, it was not to have any kind of limits, but to prepare unpredictable, spontaneous, adventurous, ferocious and intimate album. And when I am listening to the final album by myself these days, I can say with a hand on my heart that I – or rather us – pulled it off... The record’s really diverse musical roller coaster ride from strong emotion to another, and nothing makes me more happy at the moment!


Photo credit: Andrea Beckers

That’s the thing: when anyone voices out sentence “ MARKO HIETALA’s going to release an solo album”, some 99% of the fans of harder music are thinking that there will another “heavy metal to the bone” -album in the pipeline. Well, think again.

I would call the style of my solo record as “hard prog”. There are definitely very metallic elements, but that’s just one twist in a bigger picture. Alongside powerful riffs and sounds, there are progressive flavours, acoustic moods,
atmospheric stuff and whatnot”, Hietala points out.

Just listen to the hard rocking first single “Stones” and accompany that with more or less tongue-in-cheekkind of song “Runner of the Railways” and epic and bombastic ballad “I Dream”, and you have screatched the surface. Yes: I guarantee that there are a lot of different material to deal with!



Photo credit: Andrea Beckers

Hietala’s voice has barely faded away, when he is already homouring his prodigious band mates.

Even if “Pyre of the Black Heart” is definitely my solo album, I didn’t compose everything on my own. When the song writing was really happening, I kept sending all the ideas for my long-time collaborators Tuomas Wäinölä [guitar] and Vili Ollila [keyboards], and this twosome came up with great additions and arrangements one after another. The drummer Anssi Nykänen – simply a wizard behind his set – completed the line-up like no other.”

Already mentioned “time consumer” NIGHTWISH is soon re-starting its steaming motors with new studio album and world tour, but despite this, MARKO HIETALA has found some time to head out for an European solo tour as well.

Come February... I simply can’t wait to get out and perform these songs for multinational friends of my music”, Hietala nods and continues: “I strongly recommend to come to see me and my band now, as this will be my first and last European solo tour in a long time – or ever!

Pyre Of The Black Heart Tracklist : 
  • 01. Stones
  • 02. The Voice Of My Father
  • 03. Star, Sand And Shadow
  • 04. Dead God’s Son
  • 05. For You
  • 06. I Am The Way
  • 07. Runner Of The Railways
  • 08. Death March For Freedom
  • 09. I Dream
  • 10. Truth Shall Set You Free

Line Up :
  • MARCO HIETALA - bass, acoustic guitar, vocals
  • TUOMAS WÄINÖLÄ - guitar
  • VILI OLLILA - keyboards
  • ANSSI NYKÄNEN - drums, percussion

Tour : 
  • 02.02. DE Hamburg - Markthalle · 
  • 04.02. DE Frankfurt - Batschkapp · 
  • 06.02. DE Munich - Backstage · 
  • 07.02. DE Leipzig - der ANKER
  • 08.02. PL Wroclaw - Centrum Koncertowe A2 · 
  • 09.02. CZ Prague - Roxy · 
  • 11.02. HUN Budapest - Barba Negra · 
  • 13.02. DE Stuttgart - Im Wizemann
  • 14.02. CH Pratteln - Z7 · 
  • 16.02. DE Oberhausen - Turbinenhalle · 
  • 17.02. NL Amsterdam - Melkweg ·
  • 18.02. FR Paris - La Machine du Moulin Rouge

Marko Hietala on Social Media : 


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