You’ve got to hand it to Tuomas Holopainen. As the guiding light of Finnish symphonic prog-metal titans Nightwish, he always thinks big – just double the number you first thought of and add a few zeroes. “I know – let’s spend a million making our new conceptual album into a film, and if nobody but us likes it then who really cares?!”
Holopainen writes just about all of the music and lyrics for Nightwish but The Life And Times Of Scrooge is a labour of love for the self-confessed Walt Disney nut. Its contents, based upon a novel of the same name by Don Rosa (who provides the artwork), have been quietly stewing for the last 14 years.
Nightwish recently awarded full-time membership to Troy Donockley of uilleann pipes, tin whistle and backing vocals fame, but the album’s desolate, defiantly understated strains might yet surprise. Enya and Clannad fans will surely appreciate its richness of tone and the lavish swathes of pastel colour, concocted with regular associate Pip Williams in the arranger’s chair.
In truth, though, there’s little to hook in fans of progressive music, nor indeed of heavy metal. Yeah, this is less of a duck and more a bit of a turkey.