Marko Hietala

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Marko Hietala
Marko Hietala in 2019
Marko Hietala in 2019
Background information
Birth nameMarko Tapani Hietala
Born (1966-01-14) 14 January 1966 (age 55)
Tervo, Finland
GenresHeavy metal, symphonic metal, power metal
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, producer, Studio engineer
InstrumentsBass guitar, vocals, guitar, synthesizers, drums
Years active1984–2021
Associated actsNightwish, Tarot, Northern Kings, Raskasta Joulua, Sapattivuosi, Sinergy, Ayreon, Dreamtale, Altaria, Amorphis, Delain, Conquest

Marko Tapani "Marco" Hietala (born 14 January 1966) is a Finnish heavy metal vocalist, bassist and songwriter. Internationally, best known as the former bassist, male vocalist and secondary composer to Tuomas Holopainen, of the symphonic metal band Nightwish.[1] He was also the vocalist and bassist as well as composer and lyricist for the heavy metal band Tarot.[2]

He was also a member of the supergroup Northern Kings, and portrayed one of the main characters in Ayreon's 2013 album The Theory of Everything.


Marko Hietala was born in Tervo, and is the youngest child of the Hietala family. Hietala lived in Tervo until the age of 15, after which he moved to Kuopio to study classical guitar, vocals and musical theory in high school. In 1984, he and his brother, Zachary Hietala, formed heavy metal band Tarot under the name Purgatory. In 1986, Tarot received a deal for their first album and went on tour.[3] Before becoming a full-time musician, he worked as a live and studio sound engineer.[4]

While on tour with Tarot in 1998, Marko had met the members of the band Nightwish in Siilinjärvi as they were an opening act for his band. Marko recalled having watched their performance: "I watched their show and thought their music was actually quite good at times. They had all this force and drama, so maybe some day they would successfully combine the two. But goddamn, they looked absolutely horrible on stage. Shorthaired guys just standing there – Tarja was a pretty girl but just as petrified, shrieking in the middle of the stage in her leather pants. Honestly, I assumed them to be just a momentary fad and thought they will fade away after six months or so. Luckily, of course, I was so wrong."[5]

Hietala joined Nightwish in 2001 when Tuomas Holopainen and the band's manager called him and said that there would be a place in the band for a vocalist and a bass player.[6] Century Child was his first Nightwish album, following the departure of previous bassist Sami Vänskä.[7] He was a prominent guest musician in Delain, a project involving many members of the gothic and symphonic metal community.[8] He also participated in the recording of Invitation, by Altaria, providing backing vocals.[9] Hietala has also been part of the bands Sinergy and Northern Kings.[10]

Upon his arrival to Nightwish, several songs were written to contain duets with then Nightwish vocalist Tarja Turunen, allowing songwriter and band leader Tuomas Holopainen to take advantage of Hietala's distinctive raucous voice to add a new dimension to the band. A famous example is Nightwish's cover of "The Phantom of the Opera," from the album "Century Child."

During Nightwish's shows, Turunen would take a break halfway through the set. Before Hietala joined the band, the band would perform an instrumental song during this time. After Hietala joined the band, they performed covers of well-known songs, with Hietala singing the lead vocal part in this break. The band has performed Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train", W.A.S.P.'s "Wild Child", Dio's "Don't Talk to Strangers", Megadeth's "Symphony of Destruction" and Pink Floyd's "High Hopes". Some of these songs have been put up for sale as well on various Nightwish album releases. Following Turunen's departure from Nightwish, Hietala was much more involved with the production of Dark Passion Play, which was released in September 2007. He sang some songs, completely, and wrote the music for the song "The Islander", on which he also plays acoustic guitar instead of bass. Hietala is also credited alongside Holopainen for co-writing the song "The Crow, the Owl and the Dove" from Nightwish's 2011 album, Imaginaerum.

In Delain, Hietala played bass for the album Lucidity and was also the main male vocalist on the album with featured vocals on the song The Gathering. He is also featured as vocalist in two of the songs on Delain's second album April Rain and two songs from Delain's fourth album The Human Contradiction.

In March 2009, Hietala joined the band Sapattivuosi. They cover Black Sabbath songs in Finnish.[11] In this band, however, Hietala does not play bass; he only performs vocals.

On 1 April 2010 it was said that Hietala would leave the band to concentrate on a choir career. This was identified as an April Fool's joke, but was also a reference to his participation in Kuorosota (the localized Finnish version of Clash of the Choirs) in 2010. Hietala was the master of the Kuopio choir in the program's second season. He came second in the contest, losing in the finals to the Joensuu choir, headed by pop rock singer Ilkka Alanko. Tarot's single "I Walk Forever," from the Gravity of Light album, was performed for the first time by Hietala, Tommi "Tuple" Salmela and the Kuopio choir during Kuorosota 2010; other songs performed included "The Phantom of the Opera," which Hietala has covered with Nightwish as well.

In June 2010, Hietala joined the heavy metal supergroup HAIL! on two occasions, performing Black Sabbath's Neon Knights with Ripper Owens, Andreas Kisser, James LoMenzo and Paul Bostaph at two of their shows in Finland.[12]

On 14 August 2013 Hietala was the first singer to be confirmed by Arjen Lucassen to guest on Ayreon's new album The Theory of Everything.[13]

Hietala released his first solo album Mustan Sydämen Rovio in May 2019. He released the album under his birthname Marko Hietala and will be using the name also in his other projects in the future. Hietala has described his solo material as "hard prog".[14] An English version of the album, titled Pyre of the Black Heart (Nuclear Blast), followed in January 2020.[15] Joining him on the albums are drummer Anssi Nykänen, keyboardist Vili Ollila and guitarist Tuomas Wäinölä with whom he also toured in Finland in the summer and autumn of 2019.[14] The band will embark on a European tour in February 2020.[15]

In 2020 he participated in and won the Finnish edition of Masked Singer.[16]

On January 12, 2021, Hietala announced his withdrawal from the public eye and departure from Nightwish.[17] On January 22, 2021, Swedish symphonic metal band Therion released a music video for the song "Tuonela" that features Hietala.[18]


Hietala in 2013

Hietala has stated that the biggest influence on him as a bassist is Geezer Butler and Bob Daisley, while Ronnie James Dio and Rob Halford are his biggest influence as a vocalist. He has also stated that he listens to wide array of music ranging from "really sensitive stuff to a lot of really hard stuff", saying that he "tend[s] to soak up almost everything" which "somehow ends up being used" when he writes his own music.[19][20]

How is your musical taste towards metal music / other genres?

— Question on the official Tarot website (2006)

Anything works for me, if it's good enough. I'm mainly a metalhead, but I have this basic respect for any kind of music. Writing and listening to music would become stale if I couldn't draw influences from other styles too.

— Marko's answer

Personal life[edit]

Hietala has two children with his ex-wife Manki, twin boys Antto and Miro. He and his family currently live in Kuopio, Finland. When he is not touring, he enjoys reading books, playing video games, and watching movies. He especially likes fantasy, horror and science fiction books. In 2016, a Finnish newspaper reported that Hietala had filed for divorce.[21] In August 2018 he married Camila Cavalcanti.[22]

Born "Marko", Hietala has been regularly credited throughout his career as "Marco". He said he adopted the version with "c" when he was young and trying to sound "cool", but that now it doesn't matter to him anymore. Starting from Mustan Sydämen Rovio, he intends to be credited as Marko in all his future projects.[23][24] He also referred to the "Marco" spelling as "the last lie I had constructed about myself".[25]





Northern Kings



Raskasta joulua


As guest/session member[edit]


  • Warmath – Gehenna – (backing vocals, keyboards)




  • DreamtaleBeyond Reality – (vocals on "Heart's Desire" & "Where the Rainbow Ends")
  • Virtuocity – Secret Visions – (vocals on "Eye for an Eye" & "Speed of Light")










  • Grönholm – Silent Out Loud – (Vocals on ″Vanity″)



  • A2Z – Parasites of Paradise – (acoustic guitar on "Nightcrawler", "Caterpillar" & "Praying Mantis")
  • AyreonThe Theory of Everything – (vocals)
  • Turmion Kätilöt – Technodiktator – (backing vocals on "Jalopiina")
  • Lazy Bonez – Vol.1 – (duet with Udo Dirkschneider on First to Go – Last to Know)






  • Jupiterium – 'King of Spades', a tribute song to Lemmy – (vocals)[27]


  • TherionLeviathan – (vocals on "Tuonela")
  • Circus of Rock – Come One, Come All – (vocals on Sheriff of Ghost)








  1. ^ "Nightwish: Video Interview With Marco Hietala Posted Online". Blabbermouth. 16 July 2009. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 19 March 2010.
  2. ^ "Tarot's New Album Lands on Finnish Chart". Blabbermouth. 18 March 2010. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 19 March 2010.
  3. ^ "Nightwish – The Official Website". Nightwish. Archived from the original on 10 April 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  4. ^ "Nightwish: Floor Jansen, Tuomas Holopainen and Marco Hietala on making the cut as a musician". The Cut. 31 December 2015. Archived from the original on 8 January 2016. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  5. ^ Ollila, Mape (2007). Once Upon a Nightwish. Deggael Communications. pp. 68–69. ISBN 978-952-99749-2-4.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 May 2015. Retrieved 28 January 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Sinergy Singer, Former Bassist Issue Separate Statements Regarding Split". Blabbermouth. 7 May 2002. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 19 March 2010.
  8. ^ "Delain Announces New Bassist". Blabbermouth. 11 March 2010. Archived from the original on 16 March 2010. Retrieved 19 March 2010.
  9. ^ "Altaria Complete Recording, Begin Mixing Full-Length Debut". Blabbermouth. 9 January 2003. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 19 March 2010.
  10. ^ "Northern Kings Performs at Finnish 'Eurovision Song Contest' Finals". Blabbermouth. 10 February 2009. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 19 March 2010.
  11. ^ "Marco Hietala's Black Sabbath Tribute Band To Play in Poland". Blabbermouth. 25 June 2009. Retrieved 19 March 2010.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "HAIL! Performs With NIGHTWISH's MARCO HIETALA at Finland's SAUNA OPEN AIR". BlabberMouth.
  13. ^ "Marco Hietala guests on Ayreon Theory of Everything". Retrieved 18 May 2014 – via YouTube.
  14. ^ a b "Nightwishin Marko Hietala kypsytteli soololevyä 20 vuotta ja lopputulos yllättää: "Karvanaamalta odotettiin täräkkää heavyn vääntöä ja huutoa"". Yle Uutiset. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  15. ^ a b "MARKO HIETALA - Announce first solo album!". Nuclear Blast. 22 November 2019. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  16. ^ "NIGHTWISH's MARCO HIETALA Crowned Winner Of Finnish Edition Of 'Masked Singer'". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. 19 December 2020. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  17. ^ "Marko Hietala leaves Nightwish". Metal Hammer. Future plc. 12 January 2021. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  18. ^ Harju, Toimittaja: Minttu (23 January 2021). "Therion julkaisi musiikkivideon "Tuonela"-kappaleestaan, jolla vierailee laulaja-basisti Marko Hietala". KaaosZine (in Finnish). Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  19. ^ "Marco Hietala interview". 5 July 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2011 – via YouTube.
  20. ^ "~ Wings of Darkness ~ The Official Tarot Website". Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  21. ^ "Nightwish-basisti Marco Hietala: avioero". Ilta-Sanomat. 12 May 2016. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  22. ^ "Vau, mikä morsian! Kesällä avioitunut Nightwish-Marco ja Cami-vaimo juhlivat naimisiinmenoaan vasta nyt - katso kuvat hulppeista hääjuhlista Brasiliassa!". Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  23. ^ Ronkainen, Anna (1 May 2019). "Nightwishin Marko Hietala kypsytteli soololevyä 20 vuotta ja lopputulos yllättää: "Karvanaamalta odotettiin täräkkää heavyn vääntöä ja huutoa"". Yle (in Finnish). Ministry of Transport and Communications. Retrieved 9 January 2021.
  24. ^ Kostiainen, Pasi (29 June 2019). "Nightwishistä tuttu Marco Hietala raitistui lähes 10 vuotta sitten – nyt muusikko laulaa alkoholismista, joka oli viedä isän tavoin hänetkin". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). Sanoma. Retrieved 9 January 2021.
  25. ^ Sauermann, Gunnan (16 January 2020). "Marko Hietala: Ehrlich währt am längsten". Metal Hammer (Germany) (in German). Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  26. ^ "Raskasta Joulua 2020". Archived from the original on 26 December 2013. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  27. ^ "JUPITERIUM – Current / Former NIGHTWISH, HAMMERFALL, AMORPHIS Members Pay Tribute To LEMMY With "King Of Spades" Lyric Video". Bravewords. 16 December 2020. Retrieved 19 December 2020.


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