For as much flack as I got about my interest in heavy metal as a youth, it has done more to expand my intellectual horizons than any teacher I've ever had. Were it not for Metallica's "For Whom The Bell Tolls" I would probably not have discovered the work of Ernest Hemmingway. Chances are I would not have sought out the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" if not for the Iron Maiden song of the same name. Art and literature have often been part and parcel with heavy metal music.

Anette Olzon was, like many singers before her, put into an impossible situation. Replacing a unique and beloved vocalist is next to impossible, especially when the band in question does nothing to help the cause. Anette seemed like an odd choice to join Nightwish after Tarja's departure, and her two records with the band offered mixed results. There were flashes of brilliance, but they were obscured by a band that wrote songs without realizing they had a different voice singing them, which did no favors to either side.

The thing about concept albums that often gets forgotten is that both the artist and the listener have to truly be invested in the story for the album to work as intended. Without that sincerity, they amount to nothing more than bloated albums that use art as a means of excusing their weaknesses. When a bad idea comes along, like writing a double concept album about a mystic charlatan who was the medieval equivalent of a carnival huckster sitting in front of a crystal ball (yes, I'm talking about “Nostradamus”), there is no hope of the album ever overcoming the subject matter.