Marko left industry then one year after he came back but not in NW...Floor is now focused on family and solo stuff. And they are going to spend a tons of money for new album and they will not go on tour.Weird weird weird.

And poor guys from Wintersun, they came in NW for touring now second band also is not active.
The one where they announced Marco's leaving (I haven't been following many bands on social media since)

I dunno, that whole announcement is pretty incomprehensible to me. Marko was clearly in a terrible spot personally, as his words sound like drunken ramblings. I know English is not his primary language (or maybe this is a translation), but it's all over the place. It seems like he was mostly burnt out from touring, not making enough money, and being overall dissatisfied with the music industry as a whole. If anything it sounds like he's saying "don't blame Tuomas, because you probably will."

I dunno, that whole announcement is pretty incomprehensible to me. Marko was clearly in a terrible spot personally, as his words sound like drunken ramblings. I know English is not his primary language (or maybe this is a translation), but it's all over the place. It seems like he was mostly burnt out from touring, not making enough money, and being overall dissatisfied with the music industry as a whole. If anything it sounds like he's saying "don't blame Tuomas, because you probably will."

If i remember correctly he was making roughly 400k euros a year in Nightwish.

Someone posted that figure on a fan group as earnings in Finland are publicised.
Speaking of Nightwish and the plans they make based on the pregnancies of their lead singers....'s Anette Olzon's turn for a solo project deep dive!


Alyson Avenue - Presence of Mind (2000)
Anette’s first proper band comes in the form of a complete pastiche of 70s and 80s AOR music. I truly do not understand how this album was recorded and released at the turn of the century because it sounds, in both composition and production, 20-30 years older. Every track features reverb-soaked distorted guitar, sparklingly twinkling keyboards, and that good old mid-tempo boom-bap. Anette shines on the choruses, but her voice gets lost a bit in many of the verses. To be fair, all of the musicianship here is quite competent, there’s just not a single thing that is unique or memorable in the compositions. A few tracks have super catchy choruses (Free Like the Wind, Lost & Lonely, Walk Away), but they still sound like Journey, Pat Benatar, or Toto B-sides. Not worth seeking out. C-

Alyson Avenue - Omega (2002)

This is both a step up from the debut and also exactly more of the same. Competent musicianship, good enough songwriting, and solid performances all around. Every song is enjoyable, but, as before, absolutely nothing is unique. Anette’s voice is more well-incorporated here and she sounds far more confident. The vocals melodies are overall stronger, even if the production has only marginally improved. If you have to listen to one of Alyson Avenue’s recorded tributes to the AOR genre, this is the one, just don’t expect to be wowed. You might shift in your chair a bit. Might be a great soundtrack for a hard rock skating night at the local roller rink. C

Anette Olzon - Shine (2014)

The first true solo album by Anette is a blend of symphonic rock and chamber pop. The production is interesting and instrumentation is incredibly minimal, even in the rare instances where the songs veer into bombast. Anette’s voice, however, is front, center and sounding better than ever. Some of the songs are percussion driven, some are almost baroque, and some occasionally blend heavier guitars and distortion into the mix. For the most part, however, this is a singer’s album. Anette sounds powerful yet fragile, the most we’ve ever heard her true voice. You can hear every tiny nuance in her performance. Her vocals are given a lot of room. The lyrics are not always spectacular, but there are powerful songs (opener Like a Show Inside My Head, Lies, Hear Me) and mid-album track Invincible is truly touching and haunting. The material is not a home run, but the album is a great listening experience and there is zero musical fat. B+

The Dark Element - The Dark Element (2017)

Anette drifts back into metal with this label-built project spearheaded by ex-Sonata Arctica guitarist Jani Liimatainen. This is pure symphonic pop metal, focusing on Anette’s vocals and blending keyboard synths and programmed beats with traditional heavy guitar chugs. The title track is catchy as hell, My Sweet Mystery literally sounds like a sunnier version of Nightwish’s “Storytime” (there’s even a Marko copycat harmony in the chorus), Here’s To You is a delightful slice of electrified pop that could be a Battle Beast song, The Ghost and The Reaper is well layered and rewarding, and Heaven of Your Heart is a pretty ballad. The rest of the tracks land in the “decent, but derivative” category. The only real dud is the first ballad, Someone You Used to Know, which starts with lyrics from a middle-aged woman drinking wine at home and ends with her saying, “I’ll be your whore!” As you can tell, the lyrics are the low point of the album. There’s a lot of jilted lover breakup type material that simply feels a bit too pedestrian for this genre (not to mention the very bizarre lyrics in I Cannot Raise the Dead). Regardless, it’s great to hear Anette back in the metal world and her vocals are very well produced. The good songs here will make a stellar addition to a “Best of Nightwish Side Projects” playlist. B

The Dark Element - Songs the Night Sings (2019)

We’re back with a second helping of Nightwish Lite - brewed with pure Christmas water from a spooky, yet romantic cabin somewhere in Scandinavia! If possible, this album sounds even more like Nightwish than the debut. Literally everything about most tracks, including the structure, feels 100% copied from Tuomas. And, you know, I’m slightly upset by this copying, but also, it’s just cool to hear Anette singing this kind of material. Opening track Not Your Monster has a good riff, great musicianship, and hits super hard. Same can be said of the title track, which wraps hooks and riffs around a synth-driven main riff. It’s a great one-two punch to start the album. Pills on My Pillow sounds like sugary fluff, but has dark lyrics and ends up being a synth-driven romp with an attempt at a Marko-style backing vocal. To Whatever End is an odd semi-ballad with lilting vocals and great guitar work. The Pallbearer Walks Alone is pure symphonic power metal joy, despite some clunky lyrics. Easily an album highlight with a killer bridge instrumental. Get Out of My Head is worth it solely for the ridiculous video game-turns-djenty-breakdown section that rips. The rest of the songs are decent, generic rocked-up pop songs with obligatory hooky choruses (of which You Will Learn is the heaviest and most interesting). Closing number I Have To Go breaks the mold completely with a light, jazzy epilogue that makes it impossible not to recall “Slow Love Slow”. It would have made more of an impact if they cut some songs on the album, but simply feels weird after 53 minutes of heavier material. Overall, this is slightly improved, but more of the same from The Dark Element, a project that will hopefully continue and hopefully evolve beyond sounding like a greatest hits compilation of the modern symphonic metal genre. B+

Allen/Olzon - Worlds Apart (2020)

Following the departure of Jørn Lande, Russell Allen and Magnus Karlsson recruited Anette for their continuing studio project that has produced…well, zero classics, but many entertaining, major key-tinged radio-ready prog/power metal releases. So, what do we have? Extremely competent, well-played and well-composed yet quite generic slabs of metal with excellent vocals and great guitar work. Russell Allen, as always, is superb and continues his family tradition of turning even the most trite material into gold. He always sounded good singing alongside Jørn, though they frequently sounded too alike for the songs to be distinct. Anette’s inclusion in the project adds a completely new layer and she plays off Russell pretty well, even when they belt in the same octave. Each singer gets 3 solo songs and the other 5 tracks are duets, so let’s dig into those 8 with Anette. It should go without saying, Russell’s 3 solo tracks are good as ever, even if I won’t remember them this time tomorrow.

The first duet, and title track, is a nice introduction to the bombastic, glossy, and melodic music we will hear throughout the album. Olzon trades verses with Allen and then adds harmonies to the pre-chorus. The song is a nice chance to hear two metal legends belting out a hooky chorus, but I wouldn’t call it mind-blowing. I’ll Never Leave You, Anette’s first solo, is actually the most interesting track here. It has a killer riff, heavy groove, and some cool dynamic and progressive choices (especially the stellar bridge and solo). An album highlight, for sure. The opening of duet What If I Live is a bit cringeworthy with Anette angelically cooing “ah-ah’s” and Russell pulling out his inner bluesman to belt some “oh-oh’s” and, truly, the song doesn’t get much better from there. It’s a competent power ballad and the two singers harmonize perfectly on the chorus, but the guitar is the best part. No Sign of Life has a great chorus, but not much else. One More Chance is lyrically bland and musically average at best. My Enemy is corny and fluffy, but catchy as hell. Cold Inside is a power ballad of the absolute cheesiest variety. Who’s Gonna Stop Me Now closes the album on a typically anthemic note, with both singers once again swapping lead duties. By the end of the album it’s pretty apparent that Anette is severely outmatched by Russell (who could make a shopping list sound like it has soul), but they still harmonize very well on their choruses. The record was obviously written for Jørn and Anette just had to catch up. Regardless, it is cool to hear Allen and Olzon collaborate (and especially cool to hear Russell singing purely melodic material). B

Anette Olzon - Strong (2021)

The second “solo” outing by Anette is essentially Allen/Olzon, Part 1.5, except instead of the glorious Russell Allen we get Anette’s boyfriend performing some absolutely abysmal harsh vocals. After attempting to write songs with someone picked via her record label, Anette opted to work again with Magnus Karlsson on a decidedly more metal outing. This essentially means that we’re getting more of the same from Magnus’ songwriting: catchy hooks, big guitars and solos, and lots of musical movement. It also means that what we’re getting is just simply not very memorable.

Rousing opener Bye Bye Bye is unfortunately not a cover of NSync, but a spiteful retelling and sendoff to her time in Nightwish. It features lyrical gems such as “I got screwed” and “If I don't brace your down from the sky / A mist white lonely halls far behind”…whatever the hell that means. It’s also our first taste of the seriously-worse-than-Mike-Portnoy-harsh vocals. I don’t know why they included these on an album meant to be a solo showcase, but it’s a really bad decision. Things look up on the ear worm Sick of You, which has a powerful post chorus section. I Need to Stay features a cool syncopated verse riff and a good chorus. The industrial-tinged title track is a bit one note but it ends with a bang. Parasite has a fantastic vocal bridge and is quite heavy, but also kind of a mess. It sounds like it could be a modern Kamelot song. The heartfelt ballad Sad Lullaby is the most authentic moment on the album and Anette’s best performance. Fantastic Fanatic has a really strong chorus but the rest is a mess. Who Can Save Them might have the catchiest riff, but is otherwise unmemorable and (like much of these songs) hurt quite a bit by the ESL lyrics. Catcher of My Dreams is a great straightforward melodic metal tune that rocks all the way through and is the only time on the album where Anette really lets loose vocally. Hear Them Roar is a bit of nothing with a nice prominent shitty backing vocal section. Closing the album is Roll the Dice, a power metal romp with a pretty cool half-time chorus.

It’s certainly noticeable that Anette is singing lower here, which is to be expected when passing 50, but she still performs well and with confidence. The problem, again, is the songs. There is not a single “wow” moment on the entire album and, though it is a fine listen, it’s not something I will be clamoring to hear again. Also the inclusion of those trashcan D-league harsh vocals tarnishes the whole affair. B-

Allen/Olzon - Army of Dreamers (2022)

And just like that, Anette releases 4 albums in 4 years! We’re back for another Magnus Karlsson joyride through the hallowed halls of melodic metal featuring the second pairing of Anette and the illustrious Sir Russell Allen. The opening title track puts a powerful twist on the melody from Europe’s “The Final Countdown” and is more successful than any song on the first A/O album. Russell sounds fierce as hell, Anette is much more in her comfort zone, and the chorus is superb. The more somber second track, So Quiet Here, is another successful duet that sees Anette again taking the main melodic hook and Russell supporting with harmonies. Out of Nowhere starts with a moody piano buildup before kicking off into a powerful, mid-tempo tune. As with everything else here, it incorporates each vocalist in a way that best suits them: Russell gets the rocking verses, Anette the soaring and sorrowful pre-chorus, and unites them both for a hooky chorus. I think Russell sounds way too gravelly on the chorus harmony, but otherwise it’s another killer tune. Up next is the crunchy, twisting A Million Skies. It’s another duet with both singers going line for line on the darker verses and acapella pre-chorus (which Russell handles better than Anette) before launching into another arena-ready chorus. Karlsson, as usual, throws in a stellar bridge, guitar solo and outro.

Carved Into Stone is where the fatigue begins to set in. It’s a good tune, I suppose, but every song has the same premise and presentation so far with this one being the least successful. Russell sings some lightly distorted parts, Anette croons, and then we have another belty chorus but this time it’s paired with an Abba-esque synth line. Shades of AOR show up in the centerpiece power ballad All Alone, where Anette shines particularly well. Thankfully the formula changes a bit as the chorus here is a nice back and forth, making this one of the best and more memorable songs on the album. Look At Me is half Sabaton, half Battle Beast, but with even worse lyrics. I hate to call a foul on my main man, but Russell’s verse parts here are seriously overwrought. This one should have been an Anette solo track. Until It’s Over is a nice tune that allows both vocalists a chance to showcase their subdued side. I Am Gone is pretty cheesy and sounds like a couple breaking up, but it’s still enjoyable since they both sound great. Russell finally reaches his godlike high range in Are We Really Strangers and the song soars. Another highlight, for sure. Closing track Never Too Late is an absolute barnburner that, d’uh, gives Allen and Olzon a big hooky chorus to sink their teeth into.

Army of Dreamers is an improvement over the first Allen/Olzon album as Karlsson has become far more comfortable with Anette’s strengths. The choice to make every song a duet is both a help and a hindrance, as it certainly adds to the overall sameness of each track. If they do more albums I would love to see the overall length get cut by 10 minutes. All that said, it’s a hell of a lot of fun just listening to these two professionals belt back and forth. A-



So, what to make of Anette’s “solo” work? All of her post-Nightwish music is good, enjoyable and often fun. There are no diamonds in the rough here, though, because there simply is no rough. Anette plays it safe, sticking to a comfort zone of anthemic choruses and pop stylings. There is a power in that. Knowing her strengths and not really deviating from them is certainly the opposite of Tarja’s discography (which has much higher highs and much lower lows).

There is an overall generic nature that permeates through Anette’s solo works because of their sheer number. I mean, she has literally released three times the amount of material as Nightwish in the last 10 years. Quantity over quality seems to be the most recent name of her game. Oddly enough, the most rewarding album of this bunch is her first solo record, Shine, which is truly interesting. I am obviously biased towards the Allen/Olzon albums, but I would be lying if I said they were game changing or unique. Also, I can’t stress this enough, don’t waste your time with Alyson Avenue.
Thinking it over more, my guess is that the reason for their stepping away from touring is due to the industry itself. Marko left because of industry issues; Nightwish also left their label last year, and now they’re going to stop touring. To me it sounds as though they aren’t being specific for legal reasons (and they don’t want people to blame Floor), and want to have more control over their own music, doing it the way they want to. Why release an album you aren’t gonna tour? Cuz you’re still passionate about the music.
Because Nightwish is big enough to earn significant passive income from an album, without the hassle of touring.
Annnnnnd finally...the solo discography of Floor Jansen!

After Forever - Prison of Desire (2000)
Let’s cut right to the chase: this is an album made by very young people (Floor was literally 19 when recording) and it sounds like it. The compositions are generally weak, the melodies are awful, and the production is amateurish and sterile. The guitars have no bite or presence, the keyboards sound like a toy, and the drums and bass literally sound programmed by bad software. Guitarists (and songwriters) Mark Jansen and Sander Gommans provide harsh vocals throughout the album and they are really, truly, painfully bad.

After a suitably pompous vocal intro track, Leaden Legacy opens things up like, well, lead. It combines a dirge tempo and church choir operatics, making for a lumbering and bizarre opener. Semblance of Confusion is another mostly mid-to-slow tempo tune with wayward vocal melodies, but at least we get to hear a young Floor hitting some very high notes. Black Tomb is probably only one of two songs on this record that I would listen to again: it has some cool Eastern vocal runs in the verses and a badass instrumental bridge. Follow In The Cry stays in the same Eastern-tinged mode but the bad growls take center stage here. At least the operatic vocal bridge that sounds like Christmas music is fun.

Silence From Afar keeps the mid tempo party hemming and hawing, Inimical Chimera kicks ass out of the gate with death metal riffing, and Tortuous Threnody takes stabs at being a bit more epic but all three suffer from the same awkward vocal melodies and compositional immaturity. Also, holy shit with those ESL Thesaurus titles. Yield to Temptation once again puts the focus on the atrocious harsh vocals, tainting a pretty rad instrumental. Not going to lie, I skipped the second half of this song because it was so bad. Ephemeral is a synth-driven mini-ballad that doesn’t really go anywhere. The best song is the final track, Beyond Me, featuring Within Temptation’s Sharon den Adel: it’s a proper symphonic metal track with great vocals that is, like everything else here, tainted by the harsh vocals. As an introduction to the band, this is incredibly middling. I’m sure they will grow from here, because this is a straight up D

After Forever - Decipher
Starting out on a much higher note this time as the production and songwriting have seen an upgrade. Mixing problems still abound, but things are definitely looking up. The overture and first track, Monolith of Doubt, are not going to blow anyone away but they are competent and far better than anything on the debut. The songwriting is more cohesive and Floor sounds significantly more confident, even with some subpar vocal melodies. She has a huge belted opera note at the end that probably solidified the band’s spot on Nightwish’s Century Child European tour. The addition of a real string section is also nice.

My Pledge of Allegiance #1 continues to build on the Eastern melodies from the first album and is a really killer song. The harsh vocals have been pushed into the background where they belong, and thus, are far less infuriating. Emphasis is the first taste of the Floor we will come to know: powerhouse switching between belt and operatic deliveries. There are some seriously cool and impressive layered vocal sections here. It also features the first appearance of the Floor Vocal Run™. The following track, Intrinsic, is a moody epic ballad with powerful vocals from Floor but it takes a bit too long to reach its climax. Zenith is a shreddy, upbeat number that has a few cool parts but is ultimately quite disjointed. Estranged continues to keep the pace lively and is a killer progressive symphonic metal tune, despite the shitty harsh vocal section.

The sorrowful, showtune ballad Imperfect Tenses, a duet with Dutch tenor Rein Kolpa, is a very odd change of pace. It’s nice to hear Floor slaughter such a straightforward classical song, but it feels completely out of place. My Pledge of Allegiance #2 returns us to the expected, with twisty guitar passages and Floor belting out some Eastern vocal runs. It would be an amazing song if it had 100% fewer harsh vocals. The Key is a straight up banger (shitty male vocals not withstanding). Closing the album is Forlorn Hope, which is solid, but at this point just feels like too much of the same. It also frequently sounds like direct Nightwish worship, spoken word sound bytes and all. The finale is very nice and ends the album nicely. Overall, this is a massive step up from the first record but still has flat production and leans far too heavily on the bad vocals of Mark and Sander. B

After Forever - Invisible Circles
The departure of founding guitarist, songwriter and shitty grunter Mark Jansen finds After Forever moving into a more guitar-oriented sound. The keyboards have mostly become a backing instrument and gone are the gothic overtones of the first two albums. Though this should be a good thing, and sometimes is, the concept of Invisible Circles really puts a damper on things. Floor and guitarist/grunter Sander Gommans have written an hour-long concept album about a family stuck in a loop of psychological child abuse and they handle it with the lyrical sophistication of soggy white bread. Fun stuff, right?

After a brief introduction of sad children’s music, the full band kicks in with a metallic assault that doesn’t let up. The first three tracks feature non-stop vocals and all bleed together. Sins of Idealism has a cool, but too brief, harmonized riff and an awesome operatic bridge. Eccentric has all the makings of a beautiful and painful ballad, but the lyrics are so direct that it completely flattens the impact. Digital Deceit is the most distinct and maybe best song here with a wicked stomp groove and a big chorus, but you still have to overlook the lyrics. Everything starts to bleed together again on Through Square Eyes, which recalls the Eastern tonalities of their previous albums but relies too heavily on the harsh/clean vocal repartee, and Blind Pain, which has some very poor keyboard arrangements. The next few songs tread the same musical and lyrical ground, with the occasional focus on new guitarist Bas Maas’ amateur clean vocals. The songs and schtick grow tired by the time we get to album closer Life’s Vortex, which alternates between lachrymose half-time vocal sections and Eastern-tinged riffing.

I have so far strayed away from discussing the biggest flaw here, which is the atrocious voice acting throughout by Amanda Somerville and some total dweeb who sounds like a reject from West Side Story trying to sound bigger and meaner than he could ever dream to be. There’s a good 5 minutes of material on the record where these two, pretending to be a bitter couple raising a traumatized child, call each other “fucking bitch”. It’s truly putrid, wretched stuff, from the writing to the performances. So, what’s good? Well, Floor has her best performance yet, belting and wailing and cooing and warbling with more power and confidence than ever (which is pretty impressive given her sophomoric lyrics). There are hints of a better band here, but this is not the album. C-

After Forever - Reimagine
The title is incredibly apt as this truly feels like a different band, especially coming off the overly ambitious prog-leaning concept album Invisible Circles. It feels like the band took a big hit with that record and have responded by attempting to sound like a combination of Lacuna Coil and a blander Nightwish. The songs are shorter, simpler, and overall less interesting. They are frequently less annoying, as well, but I don’t know if skewing generic is much of a trade up. Also worth noting: this has to be one of the dumbest, worst, and most ill-advised album covers in metal history.

We begin with a pointless intro track before opener Come rollicks off to a riffy start, adding electronic keyboard beep-boops to a pretty safe song with an operatic chorus. Boundaries Are Open continues with this more straightforward approach, with a poppier structure and an arena-attempting chorus that goes nowhere. The opening of Living Shields is lifted straight from Amorphis and the song gives our first dose of Sander’s harsh vocals while Floor sings-the-op-rat-ic-lyr-ics-on-the-beat-like-that-oth-er-band. Floor’s belting during the bridge dramatically improves an otherwise mediocre song. Being Everyone is an obvious attempt at an accessible radio single and it half works. It focuses on the band’s best asset in Floor but ultimately feels like much of this album: too simplistic without the melodic prowess to back it up.

Attendance ups the pop factor with a driving electronic rhythm, nü-metal riffing, and more harsh/clean alternate vocals. I actually think the harsh vocals work better than Floor in this song, which pretty much tells you about its quality. Free of Doubt finally picks up the pace with some mild thrash riffing and a synth-driven verse, helping to build up one of the best tracks on the record. Only Everything keeps the train rolling with an electric intro, heavy chorus, a double time mid-section, and an operatic bridge that breathe a ton of life into the album. It’s a very fun ride of a song and one of their best. Power ballad Strong is basically a Floor Jansen solo track with a melodic guitar solo. The riffs return in Face Your Demons, a great pop metal song, and the completely unsuccessful No Control, where the band makes their worst mistake ever by completely leaving Floor’s voice off the track. Forever closes the album with a whimper, once again highlighting Bas Maas’ clean vocals over a track that is neither exciting nor new. At the end of the day, is this album more listenable and enjoyable than the previous one? Sure. But not by much. C+

After Forever - After Forever
This final self-titled album finds the band mostly continuing in the more streamlined vein of Reimagine, but with a general improvement in the songwriting department and a few nods to their older sound. Floor has truly come into her own here, embracing the vocal delivery she will continue to use most prominently throughout her career. The album feels a bit schizophrenic in style, but ultimately ends up being a sampler platter of what the symphonic metal genre has to offer.

Unfortunately, the album kicks off with its weakest material. Opening track Discord boasts a good chorus and some nicely incorporated orchestration, but has some really lackluster verses. Follow-up Evoke starts strong but quickly loses its way in a mess of pop aspirations and bad melodies. Transitory has cool thrashy riffing, spirited power metal keyboards and energy for days but once again falls short in the vocal melody department. The album hits its stride with Energize Me: a straight up pop song and probably their best attempt at it. There’s not much to it, but it’s catchy. Equally Destructive finally finds a perfect blend of pop and metal. Again, it’s very simplistic and straightforward, but it works. Withering Time harkens back to their earlier sound a bit, but Floor’s operatic tone doesn’t work as well as if she’d just sang it in straight belt. Still, it’s a pretty cool song with some nice dynamics.

De-Energized has the absolute best instrumental on the whole album, including a killer jazzy bass break, but also the worst vocals thanks to a heavy focus on Sander’s shitty growls. Also it’s just incredibly annoying that they would have two titles with the word “energize” on the same album. Cry With a Smile is the obligatory poppy power ballad. It has some really nice verses but the chorus is a dud. Envision is a slightly disjointed but moderately catchy pop metal nugget. Who I Am is one of the lesser tunes here, with a heavy bridge that is awesome but completely wrong for the song. Doro Pesch duets with Floor and it’s cool to hear them belting out the refrain together. Then we finally come to the superb progressive epic: Dreamflight. I honestly did not think this band was capable of it, but it’s quite good. Floor has a middle opera section that is wonderful. It feels very out of place on this album, but I’m glad it’s here. Closing track Empty Memories is a mistake. There’s a neat operatic pre-chorus section, but otherwise it feels cheap after the amazing Dreamflight.

The After Forever era comes to a close on a high note with easily their best album. Though they never reached the heights I’d hoped they were capable of, this is a good record to leave it on. B+

ReVamp - ReVamp (2010)
Floor rises from the ashes of After Forever by recruiting the keyboardist from After Forever and writing an album that basically sounds like latter-era After Forever. There’s a lot to like here and, by “a lot” I mean Floor’s voice, because there’s not much else to dig into. This is mostly straightforward symphonic metal-lite with Floor’s vocals pushed so far to the front that they occasionally feel disconnected from the instruments.

Let’s start with the bad. Most of the album bleeds together with inoffensive, three-and-a-half minute chunks of weird verse melodies and big choruses. The opener, Here’s My Hell, immediately loses the melody and tracks like Million and Break are just strange, mediocre instrumentals with Floor belting out on top with no real direction. The three part In Sickness… suite is mostly unremarkable except for an average guest appearance by Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid from Soilwork. I’m also not sure why they made the bizarre choice to not sequence all three tracks together, but they did and, shocker, it doesn’t help.

Luckily, half the record is quite good. Head Up High has stellar dynamics, strong orchestral work, and a gigantic chorus. Sir Russell Allen shows up to knock it out of the park on the hooky power ballad duet Sweet Curse. It should come as no surprise that Russell and Floor sound great together. Single material Kill Me With Silence finds Floor weaving a twisty, lilting web of darkness before unleashing raw power during the massive chorus. Fast Forward is one of the heavier, and better, tracks on the album with a quick, catchy chorus and some sinister vocal runs in the verses. The Trial of Monsters has a stellar main riff that sounds like some kind of Middle Eastern pirate ship. The verses have a playful bounce and the chorus is equally fun and interesting. It’s probably the most unique song on the record. Under My Skin has a huge chorus and Floor sounds unstoppable. The bridge is also very cool. I Lost Myself is a beautiful ballad with just Floor and a piano and bonus track No Honey For The Damned has the best guitar on the whole record. I’m not sure why it wasn’t included on the proper release. It’s better than most of the main tracks.

Despite the good songs and another wonderful performance from Floor, ReVamp can’t help but feel a bit generic. The melodic songwriting issues that plagued After Forever are still present here, leading me to the conclusion that Floor is just incredibly hit or miss as a songwriter. Still, this is an overall improvement. B+

ReVamp - Wild Card
The second, and final, ReVamp album finds them embracing further heaviness and shining the spotlight directly on Floor’s vocal versatility. The opening double punch of On The Sideline and The Limbic System (parts 1 and 2 of the, again, broken up suite called The Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown) is a killer way to open things up. The first track is immediately cooler than most of the debut, with heavier riffs and a much better sense of melody. We also get our first of many tastes of Floor doing full guttural death growls - and they sound pretty alright! Track two has a few bizarre melodic choices but is even heavier and has a very cool chorus and operatic bridge. Eight minutes into the album and Floor has already used every single facet of her voice. She really sounds remarkable.

The title track has perfect pop metal verses and an absolutely show stopping, evolving chorus. Another barnburner with more Floor growls! Precibus alternates between pummeling riffs and soft, dramatic opera verses. The chorus is on the weaker side, but overall it’s an enjoyable tune with even more growls. The quality keeps coming with the industrial-tinged Nothing, which features lilting verses and another powerhouse chorus. We return for the third part of The Anatomy trilogy with track 6, subtitled Neurasthenia, which finds Floor playing the beauty to guest vocalist Devin Townsend’s beast. It’s a miss for me, honestly. I’m not very well acquainted with Heavy Devy, but his voice is grating here. The song is still a decent listen, I suppose, if only for Floor’s totally unhinged bridge vocal section. Distorted Lullabies is a slightly messy, but solid mini-epic with a stellar bridge. Floor lets loose with some character-driven vocals on Amendatory, but it’s one of the lesser tracks. Following that up is I Can Become, a nice little aggressive symphonic metal track. Misery’s No Crime sees an appearance by former bandmate Mark Jansen, doing worse harsh vocals than Floor, though I’m not sure why. The operatic chorus is decent enough, but the spoken word-turns-shouting bridge is lame. Probably the weakest overall song for me. Wolf and Dog is a dark, sinister closer that pulses with a wacky nu-metal riff and some cool drum and bass work. It’s even got a proggy mid-section and some great lead guitar.

I would love to give this a higher rating because when this album is good it’s really good and I firmly believe this is the best and most versatile Floor has ever sounded on a studio recording. Her performance here is so multi-faceted and she knocks it out of the park. For my money, it is the best vocal album that Floor has recorded. Even in its inconsistency, Wild Card is still a more complete record than anything offered up so far. A-

Side note: I caught two shows on the U.S. tour for this album (opening for Sabaton, opening for Iced Earth no less!) and even met Floor after the Chicago show. They kicked ass, she kicked ass, and it was probably the most stacked lineup I’ve ever seen. Iced Earth seemed like total B-leaguers after watching Floor and Sabaton tear it up.

Northward - Northward (2018)
And now for something (kind of) different. Floor’s long-delayed project with Pagan’s Mind guitarist Jørn Viggo Lofstad finally saw the light of day in 2018 and it’s an energetic, well-produced slab of hard rock. Opener While Love Died rocks from the start and never lets up. It’s incredibly catchy, even if it sounds like Floor singing a Foo Fighters song (literally The Pretender). Follow up Get What You Give is an average mid-tempo rocker with good dynamics, but a pretty bad whispered rap section. It’s definitely one of the few weak songs here. Storm In A Glass treads much poppier ground and has a good bluesy refrain. Floor is verging on Kelly Clarkson territory, but I’m here for it. Drifting Islands finds Floor dueting with her sister Irene in more of an alt-rock number with shades of Fleetwood Mac. Unfortunately the chorus is a total mess. It is still cool to hear a direct pairing of the Jansen sisters.

Acoustic-driven power ballad Paragon is pleasant, but far too wordy for its own good. Things really pick up with Let Me Out, an awesome straightforward pop metal rocker that wouldn’t feel out of place on a latter stage After Forever album. It’s definitely the heaviest song here and has a wonderful guitar solo. Big Boy has a killer groove, metallic bluesy riffage, but incredibly dumb lyrics (and some really bad almost-rap sections, too). At least it sounds like Floor is having fun and it has more incredible guitar work. Timebomb begins as a subdued acoustic song and builds to an absolutely kickass chorus. It is far and away Floor’s best vocal performance on the album. Bridle Passion completely strips down to acoustic guitar and voice for a beautiful, brief ballad. The fiery I Need is a feast of cool guitar work and boasts a strong chorus. Epic album closer Northwards starts off as a quieter pop rock tune and gains a metallic edge halfway through.

This album really suckered me in. I’ll admit, I was skeptical throughout the first few songs and didn’t think that Floor’s voice was the best fit for this style, but by the time the album ended I found that I had really enjoyed myself. Revisiting the songs has proven even better as the songwriting is very solid. Yes, there is an air of genericness, but nearly every song is good and some are truly great. The second half is definitely superior. Lofstad’s guitar work throughout is impeccably crunchy and melodic. Northward is not going to blow your mind, there’s no new musical ground here, but it is hard rock done exceedingly well. A-

Floor Jansen - Paragon (2023)
And finally for something completely different: it’s Floor’s first solo record. A non-stop pulsing beat leads us directly into opening track, My Paragon, and it’s clear we’re immediately in for a new Floor Jansen. It’s pure uplifting pop music with plenty of synthy layers, a simple lead guitar line, and an ending that demands the hand claps of an arena full of young folks. Daydream is a bit moodier, but suffers from overly wordy verses. There is a really beautiful section in the first chorus where Floor sounds more fragile than we’ve ever heard her before. Of course, by the end of the song she has built the vocal power up to 110%. Final single and lightly-driving Invincible could be the theme song to a Christian family drama and acoustic ballad Hope could be the closing credits song to the same show. Both are fine, but exceedingly corny.

The album continues in the same fashion. We either get inoffensively upbeat ballads (Storm, Armoured Wings) or downbeat pop songs destined to be the soundtrack to someone’s Sunday morning pre-gym (or pre-worship service) wakeup playlist (Me Without You, The Calm). The most interesting of these tunes is probably Come Full Circle, with it’s strange back-and-forth pre-chorus. Closing track Fire is the best one - not surprising as the tonality and performance is probably the closest thing you’ll get to Nightwish here. It’s a rousing way to end, but ultimately there’s just not much to say about this album. The production is tip top and Floor sounds phenomenal, showing a subtler and softer side than we’ve ever heard before. Many of the lyrics are truly cringeworthy, though, and read like a serious take on a Stewart Smalley mantra. It’s decent background music and there’s nothing bad here, it’s just all very generic and broad. I imagine Paragon is currently topping a lot of Dutch coffeehouse playlists. C+/B-



Floor’s pre-Nightwish and solo discography is a complete mixed bag that yields plenty of great music, but nothing truly essential. The woefully inconsistent After Forever albums, a band in a constant state of identity crisis, are the the worst but at least their run ended on a high note. Oddly enough, Floor’s strongest material occurred during her Nightwish recruitment and following a pretty well-publicized burnout/mental health crisis. ReVamp’s Wild Card and the self-titled Northward record are easily the most fun and most consistent of her career. It’s clear that the Nightwish Boot Camp upped her game significantly.

Also, what's up with her obsession with the word "paragon?"
Yesterday they posted something against fake merch on internet, and Tank the Tech had a rant video how Nightwish send I belive some kind of "hate" mail to people who react to their videos on YT.

Nightwish is the band with one of the worst managment in industry.
It’s still a level up to the management to Guns’n Roses. But that is a different story..

What is this unrest thing? Did something happend before Marco left? Is Floor trying to take over the band, or the English guy for that matter? Is Emppu tired of playing live?

I have been a fan of Nightwish for a very long time, since 2000/2001, so I know they have had alot of interesting turns during the years. But I have not followed much of what they have done the last couple of years.
It’s still a level up to the management to Guns’n Roses. But that is a different story..

What is this unrest thing? Did something happend before Marco left? Is Floor trying to take over the band, or the English guy for that matter? Is Emppu tired of playing live?

I have been a fan of Nightwish for a very long time, since 2000/2001, so I know they have had alot of interesting turns during the years. But I have not followed much of what they have done the last couple of years.
I’m pretty sure she’s talking about her own unrest. She knew they were going to make this announcement and she was unhappy with it but couldn’t talk about it.
Found this today

I don't particularly like her inflections and general vocal approach - sounds way too annoyingly modern, honestly - but still, in case Tuomas decided to stop brooding in his tent, this bird could theoretically replace both Floor and Troy, I guess.
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