Indica – A Way Away

     Granted, Indica could never be mistaken for PowerMetal. More to the point, they only slightly border within the Metal realm. They are very Symphonic and much more so on this; their first all english language release.
     Yes, that Toumas Holopainen of Nightwish produced this album and invited his friend Pip Williams to do the score changed the dynamics of the songs (all but one previously released on earlier albums sung in Soumi). Still, they remain the same.

     What interested me in Indica was that vocalist, Jonsu, had recorded with Nightwish during the Dark Passion Play sessions. She sang the song titled Last Of The Wilds, an instrumental track on Dark Passion PlayErämaan Viimeinen (The Last One In The Wilderness) was released on the Platinum edition of Dark Passion Play

     The thing is, while not being Metal, the heavier songs are chunky sounding and the lyrics are poignant, as are those on the slower, more mellow songs, but the heavy music is laden with a sharp sarcasm that Jonsu expresses as well as Dave Mustaine of Megadeth does.
     To say that this is a PopMetal laden album would not be doing it any justice since those songs that are not faster have a melancholy mood to them, yet, I would be hard-pressed to call it Gothic.
“Little sister, playing hide and seek
Even though mama told you I’m really gone
If you miss me, sneak a peek at my diary
Or read the peek-a-boo sky that lights the night…”
from In Passing)

     A bit melancholy, but not Gothic dark in any way. Even if the music is not to your musical palette, the lyrics and the way they are offered to you shows a mature band with strong writing and storytelling skills.

Indica is:
                    Jonsu – Vocals & Violin
                    Heini – Bass
                    Jenny – Guitars
                    Laura – Drums
                    Sirkku – Keyboards & Grand Piano

Track listing for A Way Away:
01: Islands Of Light
02: Precious Dark
03: Children Of Frost
04: Lilja’s Lament
05: In Passing
06: Scissors Paper Rock
07: A Way Away
08: As If
09: Straight And Arrow
10: Eerie Eden
11: Outside In*

     Metal? Not so much. Good? Definately.
     Those that I have played the album for tend to like it despite what their musical taste is. Also, when people are over, it is one album they most want to hear again.
     Hailing from Finland, unknown in the United States but for those that seek out new music; give these ladies their due and give this album a few listens – it will grow on you.

* – Bonus track.


Nightwish – Dark Passion Play

     This was one of two albums I honestly say I wanted to dislike. Tarja was no longer in the band and new vocalist Anette Olzen has a voice better suited to Pop or Rock; it has a bubbly, almost perky, upbeat sound to it.
     That Anette sounded nothing like Tarja, nor did she try to (ala Blayze Bailey and Tim “Ripper” Owens, the two that took over vocals for Iron Maiden and Judas Priest) was a saving grace. Anette had some big shoes to fill and rather than try to fill them with ersatz sound, she worked her own sound into music that, lets face it, was written with Tarja‘s vocal style in mind. Old habits die hard, eh Tuomas?

     However, vocals aside, the music became fatter sounding. Whether from palm muting or track overlaying, the rhythm guitar playing, coupled with the bass, sounded chunkier that it had ever sounded on previous Nightwish releases. This lent the music a more ThrashMetal style edge while still holding onto the symphonic elements that are synonymous with Nightwish.
     Bassist and male vocalist, Marco Hietala, took a more prominent role in singing. Two songs on the album have Anette singing back-up to Marco‘s lead, while other songs have him singing lead alongside Anette rather than just back-up. He does sing backing vocals to.

     One other thing about the music… It is dark. However introspective the lyrics get, the music finds its niche surrounded in darkness. Even the slow, more ballad type songs, have this darkness within them. It is not GothicMetal. It is Nightwish just, as Chuck Schuldiner once said, “Let the metal flow”, writing what was inside them. There are many elements and aspects to the music and what is peculiar about this is their ex-vocalist, Tarja, the same thing can be said about her second solo release, My Winter Storm.

Track listing for original release of Dark Passion Play:
01: The Poet And The Pendulum
02: Bye Bye Beautiful
03: Amaranth
04: Cadence Of Her Last Breath
05: Master Passion Greed
06: Eva
07: Sahara
08: Whoever Brings The Night
09: For The Heart I Once Had
10: The Islander
11: Last Of The Wilds
12: Seven Days To The Wolves
13: Meadows Of Heaven

All special editions had instrumental/orchestral versions of all songs. They are a bit different.

Platinum Edition had the single b-sides on a third disc
01: Erämaan Viimeinen*
02: Escapist**
03: Meadows Of Heaven (Orchestral)
04: The Poet And The Pendulum (Demo)
05: Bye Bye Beautiful (DJ Orkidea Remix)

There were also different versions of the songs in the demo process that were released on singles and as digital only downloads:
Reach (Amaranth demo)
Escapist (Instrumental/ Orchestral version)
While Your Lips Are Still Red***

     It is not that the album grew on me, but that it was so different in sound while remaining familiar too.
     Some of the astrix noted songs are bonus track or extra recordings. All are very good and worth getting.

* – Erämaan Viimeinen is the song Last Of The Wilds with lyrics sang in Soumi (Finnish) by Jonsu, the vocalist for the band Indica. The music is a bit different from the original instrumental release.

** – Escapist was originally a bonus track on the Japanese release of Dark Passion Play.

*** – While Your Lips Are Still Red is not, technically, a Nightwish song. It was written by Holopainen and performed by Holopainen, Hietala, and Nevalainen (3/5 of the band) for the Finnish movie Lieksa!
     Later, the band released it on the live release Made In Honk Kong (And Various Other Places).
     The music for the song is very simple, cut and dried. Lyrically, it is… I sing this song (cover) because it is such a great song and the lyrics are moving (only reason I would sing music by another band).

     Some of the songs are directed at Tarja and/or her husband.