I want to preface this review with a “warning”: those of you who are somewhat closed-minded about your music – metal-purists, if you will – probably shouldn’t bother with Time to Tell. When I say it is a gigantic leap in a new direction, I mean it; Time to Tell cannot be deemed “metal” by any stretch of the imagination, so if you’re looking for metal then this won’t be your cup of tea.
Having left the warnings out of the way… Goodness, what a treat Time to Tell is! And I don’t say that flippantly. Since I’m a girl who thoroughly enjoys variety in her music, when I was approached with this album and told to not go into it with a metal mindset, I was a bit excited. While I still I kind of expected there to be at least some hints of metal stylings, this album is much more folky and – dare I say it – almost indie in its sound. It possesses a calm and relaxed sound to each song, reminiscent almost of Lorena McKinnett (though a tad less mystical). Utilizing not much more than an acoustic guitar, a piano, some percussion and Kari’s poignant voice, Time to Tell manages to be relaxing, beautiful, uplifting, heart wrenching and emotional.
Although the first track of the album, the titular “Time to Tell” really didn’t draw me in that much, as I progressed my notes on the album became nothing but ranting and raving in its favor. as each and every track had something striking about it. “Hide Under Bridges” is such a full and emotional song that it drew me in almost immediately; I couldn’t wait to hear more. As I progressed, I found “Paint the Rainbow Grey”, which is, without a doubt, my absolute favorite track on the album. I have this nasty little habit of finding a song I like and listening to it until I can’t stand it anymore; well, I listened to “Paint the Rainbow Grey” about 13 times (according to my music player) before I had to force myself to move on to the next track. Even now, as I’m typing this review, I have the song on repeat. I don’t hate it yet and, frankly, I’m not sure if I even could do it. Continuing with some of the gems in the album, “Why so Lonely” is quite a remarkable track and almost reminds me of a lullaby; interestingly enough, it’s a cover of a song originally done by The 3rd and the Mortal, with Kari giving a new take on her previous worl. Part of the charm comes from Tuomas Holopainen, the man behind Nightwish, in charge of the keys, providing a sound that brings memories of “While Your Eyes are Still Red” and, of course, the Nightwish sound.
Time to Tell is such a lovely piece of work, so unexpected and refreshing while still highlighting the very best of Kari’s talents. It is intricate in its lyricism, poignant with Kari’s incredible vocals, and touching with the beautiful instrumental work it utilizes. As I said, if you’re looking for metal, look elsewhere. But if you’re willing to branch out a little bit, please do give Time to Tell a chance. If you like Lorena McKinnet, Kings of Convenience, Tori Amos, Ingrid Michaelson, or anything similar, odds are you will enjoy this exquisite album.