Tuomas Holopainen is primarily known as the leader and main composer of Nightwish, one of the leading bands in the symphonic metal genre. Besides being a very gifted musician he’s an avid fan of stories, including “The Life And Times Of Scrooge McDuck” by Don Rosa. It doesn’t come as a surprise that that specific novel is the main theme on Holopainen’s first solo record, entitled “The Life And Times Of Scrooge”.
The first question would be if this album contains any similarities with Nightwish. To some extent it actually does. Especially the moody and brooding atmosphere is quite in line with the records like “Dark Passion Play” and “Imaginaerum”. The cinematic feel, the choirs and orchestral parts that dominate ‘Into The West’, ‘Dreamtime’ and ‘Cold Heart Of The Klondike’ all should sound familiar to any Nightwish fan.
However, branding “The Life And Times Of Scrooge” as just a Nightwish album sans guitars would be quite an insult to all the work that has been put into this project. Tracks like ‘Glasgow 1877’ and ‘Goodbye Papa’ are strong and imaginative enough in their own right and the record as a whole does exactly what any great soundtrack does, namely taking the listener along on an imaginary journey. The folky overtones on a couple of tracks are the proverbial icing on the cake.
If anything, “The Life And Time Of Scrooge” underscores Tuomas Holopainen’s ability to write emotive and soul stirring music without the use of any metal influences. It would be interesting what Mr. Holopainen could do when he’s asked to score the music for a Disney project for instance.