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Introducing The Dark Element, prog's newest supergroup

Introducing The Dark Element – a new project from Cain’s Offering guitarist Jani Liimatainen and former Nightwish vocalist Anette Olzon. Liimatainen tells Prog more…

“I heard a great story about someone from Germany,” says Jani Liimatainen, his voice full of amusement. “This guy was listening to The Dark Element album and one of his colleagues came over and said, ‘Hey, that new Nightwish album sounds pretty good!’” he laughs.

Liimatainen is taking a break from acoustic rehearsals with Stratovarius vocalist, and Cain’s Offering bandmate, Timo Kotipelto to talk to Prog about his latest project. He’s particularly excited because it’s the first time he’s worked with a female singer. Despite crossing paths with Nightwish on many occasions during his time with Sonata Arctica, Liimatainen only met Anette Olzon in person a few months ago. The partnership was instigated by Italian label Frontiers, who approached Liimatainen with the idea of a side-project in early 2016.

“I love Anette’s voice and I really loved some of the songs she did with Nightwish so I was really happy with the idea,” he says. “When I started working on this album, I went back to listen to Dark Passion Play and Imaginaerum to analyse her vocal range. I thought, there’s no fucking point in making a Cain’s Offering record with a female vocalist, so I made a conscious decision to keep it more straightforward this time.”

His plan suited Olzon perfectly. The Dark Element is the Swedish singer’s first album since the release of her 2014 solo debut Shine, which was met with mixed responses. Save for a few guest vocals here and there, and appearances on the Finnish talent show Tähdet Tähdet – a celebrity cross between X Factor and Stars In Their Eyes – she’s been keeping a low profile to concentrate on a degree (see sidebar). Her other commitments meant her only involvement in The Dark Element was recording the vocals remotely, so it was down to Liimatainen to work his magic on what she sent him. The results are insanely catchy.

“Working with Anette, her voice… if you have a metal song with symphonic elements it’s going to sound like Nightwish and I don’t think that’s a bad thing,” he says. “They are a great band so I take it as a compliment if someone says we sound like that.”

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