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Anette Olzon – ‘Strong’

Frontiers Records
The Dark Element, Amberian Dawn, Edge of Paradise
Release Date
September 10, 2021
Frontiers Records
Symphonic/Power Metal

Like many, my first exposure to Olzon’s voice was during her unenviable task of filling theshoes of original Nightwish vocalist Tarja Turunen. Having seen both artists, I personally didn’t think Nightwish was a good marriage. Maybe just really good housemates. Make no mistake; some amazing music was made with Olzon fronting the band, but…on her solo outings, she shines like the brightest of stars. After all, recording as a solo artist, you can tailor anything you like.

On ‘Strong,’ all her strengths are on full display. A change of gears from her solo debut, ‘Shine’ (excellent album by the way) this album burns fervently. It has tons of glorious riffs and thundering rhythms, but at the heart is Olzon’s voice and charisma. Lyrics are personal and striking, stemming from the heart, but also relatable to all. A perfect balance of emotion, ferocity, and sincerity, ‘Strong’ is a magnificent portrayal of Olzon’s trials…or perhaps one of your own.

“Bye Bye Bye” (a bit of double irony, as I see it) opens the album on an electric note. Epic and sweeping, buckle in folks; we’re going for a ride. “Bye,” along with “Sick of You,” hurl not so thinly veiled barbs at…someone. You be the judge. Harsh vocals (from Olzon’s husband) are presented here and throughout the album to excellent effect. He delivers non-traditional vocals, more akin to an instrumental solo break. They add an extra unexpected layer to an already wonderfully complex album.

The rest is a wonderful journey through icy peaks and lush valleys, the blurred landscape whirling by. What is absorbed in the fray is up to the listener, as it should be. These songs are for her exclusively, her vocal range and her nuances. This is Anette Olzon saying exactly what she wants and exactly how she wants to say it.  If and when it is offered, I will gladly travel afar to see this show. Highly recommended.

'Strong' is Anette Olzon saying exactly what she wants and exactly how she wants to say it

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