NIGHTWISH
Symphonic Metal / Power Metal / Non-Metal • Finland

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Nightwish is a symphonic power metal band, formed in the town of Kitee, Finland in 1996. The band currently consists of Floor Jansen (vocals), Tuomas Holopainen (keyboards), Marco Hietala (bass, vocals), Emppu Vuorinen (guitars), Kai Hahto (drums and percussion) and Troy Donockley (uilleann pipes, low whistles, vocals).

The band's leader, keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen, composes songs that are often classified as either symphonic metal or power metal; their musical style has also been described as a symphonic metal variant, called opera metal and even in some cases called 'epic metal'. Nevertheless, Nightwish is considered one of the main developers of the symphonic metal genre, which encompasses similar bands such as Within Temptation, Therion, Epica, Edenbridge, Lunatica, and Visions of Atlantis.

The original idea of Nightwish was largely inspired by The Gathering, and the idea was to use keyboards, acoustic guitars and the operatic vocals of their then singer Tarja Turunen. This idea
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OnceOnce
Extra tracks
Roadrunner Records 2004
Audio CD$7.62
$4.08 (used)
Dark Passion PlayDark Passion Play
Roadrunner Records 2007
Audio CD$7.62
$4.20 (used)
OceanbornOceanborn
Extra tracks
Spinefarm Records 2008
Audio CD$5.35
$8.99 (used)
Endless Forms Most BeautifulEndless Forms Most Beautiful
Nuclear Blast America 2015
Audio CD$6.56
$4.89 (used)
Vehicle of SpiritVehicle of Spirit
Nuclear Blast America 2017
Audio CD$19.98
$15.00 (used)
Century ChildCentury Child
Extra tracks · Import
Universal Import 2002
Audio CD$5.35
Vehicle of Spirit (dvd)Vehicle of Spirit (dvd)
Nuclear Blast America 2017
Audio CD$16.14
$15.92 (used)
WishmasterWishmaster
Extra tracks
Spinefarm Records 2008
Audio CD$5.35
$5.35 (used)
ImaginaerumImaginaerum
Roadrunner Records 2012
Audio CD$13.81
$9.94 (used)
Angels Fall FirstAngels Fall First
Extra tracks
Spinefarm Records 2008
Audio CD$5.35
$4.55 (used)
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TARJA & SHANON POSTER !!! Within Temptation/Amaranthe/Nightwish/Epica/Delain !!! TARJA & SHANON POSTER !!! Within Temptation/Amaranthe/Nightwish/Epica/Delain !!! USD $16.66 Buy It Now 2h 5m
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5h
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Nightwish - Oceanborn  CD 2007 excellent condition Nightwish - Oceanborn CD 2007 excellent condition USD $6.32 Buy It Now 13h
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Nightwish-Oceanborn  Vinyl / 12 Nightwish-Oceanborn Vinyl / 12" Album NEW USD $28.90 Buy It Now 15h
NIGHTWISH-CENTURY CHILD (ARG)  CD NEW NIGHTWISH-CENTURY CHILD (ARG) CD NEW USD $22.99 Buy It Now 16h
Made in Hong Kong (And in Various Other Places) by Nightwish (CD, 2009) SEALED Made in Hong Kong (And in Various Other Places) by Nightwish (CD, 2009) SEALED USD $11.75 Buy It Now 16h
RARE 2 EP NIGHTWISH OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY UK LIMITED TARJA PICTURE DISC RARE 2 EP NIGHTWISH OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY UK LIMITED TARJA PICTURE DISC USD $29.99 (0 bids)
17h
Nightwish - Wishmaster vinyl *sealed* Nightwish - Wishmaster vinyl *sealed* USD $12.65 (0 bids)
18h
Showtime, Storytime by Nightwish (CD, Dec-2013, 2 Discs, Nuclear Blast) Showtime, Storytime by Nightwish (CD, Dec-2013, 2 Discs, Nuclear Blast) USD $15.00 Buy It Now 19h
Nightwish Band Photo logo 1 inch button pin badge Official  Nightwish Band Photo logo 1 inch button pin badge Official USD $1.25 Buy It Now 19h
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REVAMP Wildcard DIGIPACK CD ( nightwish after forever ) REVAMP Wildcard DIGIPACK CD ( nightwish after forever ) USD $8.09 Buy It Now 22h
Nightwish - Century Child (2002) Nightwish - Century Child (2002) USD $6.32 Buy It Now 23h
Nightwish - Sleeping Sun single CD (1999) Drakkar Records RARE Nightwish - Sleeping Sun single CD (1999) Drakkar Records RARE USD $33.93 Buy It Now 23h
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Iron Maiden Loudness Helloween Nightwish Dragonforce 2016 Japan Tour Flyer Rare Iron Maiden Loudness Helloween Nightwish Dragonforce 2016 Japan Tour Flyer Rare USD $4.52 (0 bids)
1 day
TARJA - Left In The Dark new CD 2014 ( nightwish ) TARJA - Left In The Dark new CD 2014 ( nightwish ) USD $8.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Delain April Rain Within Temptation Nightwish Tarot Northern Kings Ayreon Rock Delain April Rain Within Temptation Nightwish Tarot Northern Kings Ayreon Rock USD $7.60 (0 bids)
1 day
DRAGONFLY - Non Requiem CD Nightwish Epica Therion Haggard Avantasia Sonata DRAGONFLY - Non Requiem CD Nightwish Epica Therion Haggard Avantasia Sonata USD $15.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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Nightwish - Logo Baseball Shirt X Large Nightwish - Logo Baseball Shirt X Large USD $15.13 Buy It Now 1 day
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Nightwish - Angels Fall First KOREA CD *SEALED* Nightwish - Angels Fall First KOREA CD *SEALED* USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Audio CD Nightwish Endless Forms Most Beautiful 2015 Metal Digital Remastering Audio CD Nightwish Endless Forms Most Beautiful 2015 Metal Digital Remastering USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Angels Fall First by Nightwish. Angels Fall First by Nightwish. USD $25.56 Buy It Now 1 day
NIGHTWISH Imagenaerum WPCR-14367/8 CD JAPAN 2012 NEW NIGHTWISH Imagenaerum WPCR-14367/8 CD JAPAN 2012 NEW USD $76.84 Buy It Now 1 day
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NIGHTWISH - Nemo Pt.1 - CD ** Brand New ** NIGHTWISH - Nemo Pt.1 - CD ** Brand New ** USD $38.95 Buy It Now 1 day
VISIONS OF ATLANTIS CAST AWAY 2004 RARE PRESSING NEW! NIGHTWISH EDENBRIDGE ELIS VISIONS OF ATLANTIS CAST AWAY 2004 RARE PRESSING NEW! NIGHTWISH EDENBRIDGE ELIS USD $4.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Dark Passion Play by Nightwish (CD, Oct-2007, Roadrunner Records) Dark Passion Play by Nightwish (CD, Oct-2007, Roadrunner Records) USD $14.81 Buy It Now 1 day
NIGHTWISH IMAGINAERUM BRAND NEW SEALED CD 2012 NIGHTWISH IMAGINAERUM BRAND NEW SEALED CD 2012 USD $10.07 Buy It Now 1 day
NIGHTWISH THE CROW, THE OWL AND THE DOVE CD BRAND NEW SEALED EP NIGHTWISH THE CROW, THE OWL AND THE DOVE CD BRAND NEW SEALED EP USD $8.29 Buy It Now 1 day
NIGHTWISH STORYTIME CD BRAND NEW SEALED EP NIGHTWISH STORYTIME CD BRAND NEW SEALED EP USD $8.29 Buy It Now 1 day
NIGHTWISH CD - ENDLESS FORMS MOST BEAUTIFUL [2CD](2015) - NEW UNOPENED NIGHTWISH CD - ENDLESS FORMS MOST BEAUTIFUL [2CD](2015) - NEW UNOPENED USD $19.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Highest Hopes: The Best Of NIGHTWISH UICO-9014 CD JAPAN 2006 Highest Hopes: The Best Of NIGHTWISH UICO-9014 CD JAPAN 2006 USD $107.70 Buy It Now 1 day
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Nightwish - Over the Hills & Far Away [New CD] Nightwish - Over the Hills & Far Away [New CD] USD $8.13 Buy It Now 1 day
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TEMPERANCE - The Earth Embraces Us All, female vocal NIGHTWISH, EDENBRIDGE, digi TEMPERANCE - The Earth Embraces Us All, female vocal NIGHTWISH, EDENBRIDGE, digi USD $18.00 Buy It Now 1 day
TEMPERANCE - Limitless, female vocal, power metal, Nightwish, Epica, Edenbridge TEMPERANCE - Limitless, female vocal, power metal, Nightwish, Epica, Edenbridge USD $18.00 Buy It Now 1 day
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NIGHTWISH ELAN BRAND NEW SEALED CD EP 2015 NIGHTWISH ELAN BRAND NEW SEALED CD EP 2015 USD $11.33 Buy It Now 1 day
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Nightwish - Whismaster / TH Cassette Nightwish - Whismaster / TH Cassette USD $14.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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METAL JAGERMUSIC - CROWBAR- NIGHTWISH - SEPULTURA-UNEARTH-VENOM - RARE METAL JAGERMUSIC - CROWBAR- NIGHTWISH - SEPULTURA-UNEARTH-VENOM - RARE USD $10.00 (0 bids)
USD $15.00 Buy It Now
1 day
Nightwish - Made in Hong Kong: & in Various Other Places [New CD] With DVD Nightwish - Made in Hong Kong: & in Various Other Places [New CD] With DVD USD $15.73 Buy It Now 1 day
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NIGHTWISH Discography

NIGHTWISH albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.47 | 33 ratings
Angels Fall First
Symphonic Metal 1997
.. Album Cover 4.15 | 49 ratings
Oceanborn
Power Metal 1998
.. Album Cover 4.03 | 41 ratings
Wishmaster
Power Metal 2000
.. Album Cover 3.71 | 26 ratings
Century Child
Power Metal 2002
.. Album Cover 3.94 | 42 ratings
Once
Symphonic Metal 2004
.. Album Cover 3.57 | 35 ratings
Dark Passion Play
Symphonic Metal 2007
.. Album Cover 4.12 | 21 ratings
Imaginaerum
Symphonic Metal 2011
.. Album Cover 4.20 | 8 ratings
Endless Forms Most Beautiful
Symphonic Metal 2015

NIGHTWISH EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 1.50 | 1 ratings
The Carpenter
Symphonic Metal 1997
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sacrament of Wilderness
Power Metal 1998
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Sleeping Sun (Ballads of the Eclipse)
Symphonic Metal 1999
.. Album Cover 3.43 | 10 ratings
Over the Hills and Far Away
Symphonic Metal 2001
.. Album Cover 3.25 | 2 ratings
Wishmastour 2000
Symphonic Metal 2001
.. Album Cover 3.33 | 3 ratings
Bless the Child
Symphonic Metal 2002
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Siren
Symphonic Metal 2005
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Ballads of the Eclipse
Symphonic Metal 2006
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Hi Five - Female Fronted Metal
Symphonic Metal 2007
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Trials of Imaginaerum
Symphonic Metal 2012

NIGHTWISH live albums

.. Album Cover 4.09 | 3 ratings
From Wishes to Eternity: Live
Power Metal 2001
.. Album Cover 4.26 | 4 ratings
End of an Era
Symphonic Metal 2006
.. Album Cover 3.05 | 4 ratings
Made in Hong Kong (and in Various Other Places)
Symphonic Metal 2009
.. Album Cover 4.51 | 3 ratings
Showtime, Storytime
Symphonic Metal 2013

NIGHTWISH demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Demo
Non-Metal 1996
.. Album Cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Passion and the Opera
Power Metal 1998
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Kinslayer
Power Metal 2000
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sleepwalker
Symphonic Metal 2000
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Erämaan Viimeinen
Symphonic Metal 2010
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Imaginaerum - The Score
Non-Metal 2012

NIGHTWISH re-issues & compilations

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Golden Wishes
Symphonic Metal 2001
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
1997-2001
Power Metal 2002
.. Album Cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
Tales From the Elvenpath
Symphonic Metal 2004
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Bestwishes
Symphonic Metal 2005
.. Album Cover 4.43 | 2 ratings
Highest Hopes: The Best of Nightwish
Symphonic Metal 2005
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Sound Of Nightwish Reborn
Symphonic Metal 2008
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Lokikirja
Symphonic Metal 2009
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Walking In The Air - The Greatest Ballads
Symphonic Metal 2011

NIGHTWISH singles (17)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Walking in the Air
Symphonic Metal 1999
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Deep Silent Complete
Symphonic Metal 2000
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Bless the Child
Symphonic Metal 2002
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Ever Dream
Symphonic Metal 2002
.. Album Cover
2.50 | 1 ratings
Nemo
Symphonic Metal 2004
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Wish I Had an Angel
Symphonic Metal 2004
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Kuolema tekee taiteilijan
Symphonic Metal 2004
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Sleeping Sun
Symphonic Metal 2005
.. Album Cover
3.50 | 1 ratings
Eva
Symphonic Metal 2007
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Amaranth
Symphonic Metal 2007
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Erämaan Viimeinen
Symphonic Metal 2007
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Islander
Symphonic Metal 2008
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Bye Bye Beautiful
Symphonic Metal 2008
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Amaranth (Live)
Symphonic Metal 2009
.. Album Cover
3.50 | 2 ratings
Storytime
Symphonic Metal 2011
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Crow, The Owl And The Dove
Symphonic Metal 2012
.. Album Cover
4.52 | 2 ratings
Élan
Symphonic Metal 2015

NIGHTWISH movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
3.98 | 4 ratings
From Wishes to Eternity
Power Metal 2001
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
End of Innocence
Symphonic Metal 2003
.. Album Cover
4.48 | 2 ratings
End of an Era
Symphonic Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Imaginaerum
Metal Related 2013
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 1 ratings
Showtime, Storytime
Symphonic Metal 2013

NIGHTWISH Reviews

NIGHTWISH Imaginaerum

Album · 2011 · Symphonic Metal
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Finland's Nightwish are probably one of metal's best known artists and certainly are a name that new metalheads will come across sooner rather than later. They've always been a pretty divisive band as well though, having popularised the soprano voiced symphonic metal sound that was a far cry from metal's roots. With Tarja Turunen fronting the band they gained quite the loyal following though, so when Tarja was fired Nightwish became even more divisive than ever. There weren't just fans and detractors any longer, but divisions within the fans themselves. With Tarja's distinctive voice gone many fans understandably felt that the band had lost one of its key elements, which was only further enforced when they announced that instead of doing what was expected of them and finding someone who could handle the material of the Tarja era, that they were instead bringing in one Anette Olzon of the AOR group Alyson Avenue to be their new lead singer.

Now, I think Anette Olzon gets a lot of unfair criticism for her performance in Nightwish. She's certainly no Tarja Turunen but she was never supposed to be. For what it's worth I think she gave it her all for her two albums with the band before she too found herself going the way of Tarja and was also fired. The first of her Nightwish albums was Dark Passion Play (2007) and though I personally quite liked it at the time I can't say it's weathered too well since. I think that album feels like the band were still in the same gear as they were with the final Tarja voiced album Once (2004) which would have been all well and good if Tarja had still been around to sing on it. Fast-forward a few more years though to Olzon's second and final studio album with Nightwish, which may just be their most divisive release all told. Imaginaerum (2011) is not an album I recall fans reacting too positively about at the time of its release and I can say that I for one hated it right at the start. But then it started to grow on me. This is actually not my first review of it as I reviewed it way back when to the best of my ability once it had opened up into a more positive experience, leaving my readers with words along the lines of 'I'm very sure that there’s a masterpiece hidden in Imaginaerum somewhere, only I haven't found it yet'.

Well guess what? Many years later, I do believe that I have now found what I have expected has always been here. It's been a long journey to take to get to where I am at now with the album, listening to it only very occasionally to see if my perspective had changed at all as I got more experienced with different types of metal music (and more importantly, other symphonic metal acts) and every time I couldn't say that I felt any different about the album, until the day that it suddenly clicked. I'm not sure exactly what changed to make everything about Imaginaerum suddenly fall into place, but it happened. I've left it a good while (over a year even) since then before doing this review re-write just to make sure it wasn't just me being in a specific mood for this album, but lo and behold it seems this is the real deal.

I've had to have a good think about why this could be and I think it may be because I've listened to a lot more symphonic metal bands since I first heard Imaginaerum and noticed that most artists playing the genre are pretty generic. There are a few variances in sound such power metal and folk influences creeping in and sometimes there's some progressive stuff or even outright pop leanings, but those things have become so common that they are now part of the generic symphonic metal formula. It's actually more unusual I think to hear a new symphonic metal release that doesn't use any of these little cliches. Then there's Imaginaerum. It has the folk influences (both in a metal context and not), and it has a little bit of power metal, but it also has a whole lot more besides. Track by track Nightwish do different things on this album, refusing to uphold any formula. Although it has taken me a long time to hear and appreciate it I think it may be the case that Imaginaerum is not only the most creative Nightwish album but also a contender for the most creative symphonic metal album in general. The amount of atypical elements along with the familiar in this album should be applauded. There's Celtic folk music, folk metal, jazz, power metal, progressive and even avant-garde metal, poetry recital, pure orchestral music; you could probably even make a case for it being a form of cabaret. Now tell me, what other symphonic metal album does all of that?

I, at least, can't name another. Of course it's all very well being inventive with your influences but what really matters in any album is whether the songs themselves work. I think that maybe my initial disappointment in the album may have been to do with it possible feeling disjointed. As I previously stated, the band do flit about with their style a lot more than normal on Imaginaerum. This is ultimately to the album's credit though. It's a difficult album to really summarise how it sounds because there's rarely a second song on it that is quite in the same frame as a previous one.

Taikatalvi opens the album and it's basically an intro track lasting for just over two and a half minutes. Male vocalist Marco Hietala sings it solo, in the band's native Finnish. Afterwards they proceed to Storytime, the lead single of the album. This is a fairly standard symphonic metal track that probably would have fit well enough on Dark Passion Play and seems to promise that Imaginaerum is going to be more of the same as its predecessor but then comes Ghost River and things start to get a bit more different, adding in some semi-harsh vocals from Marco.

The real curveball's start though with track four and the album's first full non-metal song, Slow, Love, Slow, as from out of nowhere Nightwish turn into a jazz band. Picture a dimly lit nightclub in times gone by (1930's) and Anette Olzon singing it up on the stage and you won't be far off what the album just dealt you. The song really shows off how good a vocalist she really is actually, as the music is quite minimal (this isn't the most lively kind of jazz). Though it's almost as long itself it forms a pretty great intro for I Want My Tears Back, which is when the genre of the album switches to folk metal. This is one of the tracks I've always liked the most. Then there's Scaretale, which takes things into some just plain weird, circus-like avant-garde kind of territory that seems totally at odds with the more structured I Want My Tears Back. Arabesque then serves as a short interlude, which includes some oriental folk elements.

When the second half of the album gets going the band have entered ballad territory with Turn Loose the Mermaids. There are probably too many instances of non-metal/balladry on Imaginaerum for the more traditional metalhead to stomach, but for me they actually also show the strength of the band as unlike most ballads in symphonic and/or power metal bands they aren't completely bland fare, this one being folksy. It's really quite a beautiful song. The Crow, the Owl and the Dove, just two tracks on from this, is quite similar in style but features some guest vocals delivered by Troy Donockley (who'd later join the band full-time). It's the closest the album comes to having two songs that are very alike though, along with Last Ride of the Day and the aforementioned Storytime. Between the two ballads though is Rest Calm, which plays well with both heavy and light elements to create an effective song. The slower plays and drawn out guitar in the heavy parts is even a bit of a nod to doom metal.

In the final stages of the album we get what promises to be an epic, Song of Myself, since it lasts for over thirteen minutes. This one was always a big shock to me because instead of being something on the level of Dark Passion Play's The Poet and the Pendulum, it's actually sort of half a fairly standard song and then everything is given over to a poem recital, inspired by (but not actually being) the piece of the same name by Walt Whitman. For a long time this has been my least favourite part of the album but I've come to appreciate it more of the years. It's actually quite a nice, gentle way to close the experience that has been Imaginaerum. But of course, there's still one track to go, the title track itself. It's actually a medley of the main themes from most of the previous tracks and sort of feels like the end credits of the whole production, which of course makes sense as the band also worked on a film of Imaginaerum (which I still haven't seen).

Imaginaerum is not the easiest of albums to understand but it is an album that I've really come to regard very highly. While my personal favourite of the band will likely always remain Oceanborn (1998), I think that objectively it's hard to argue that Imaginaerum is Nightwish's most interesting and inventive album; one that also has good songs. I expect some fans still listen to the Anette Olzon fronted Nightwish albums and expect to hear Tarja Turunen's soprano style over symphonic power metal as per the band's classic period and come away with a lower opinion of Imaginaerum because of it, but approach the album from a point of view other than it being a work by the same artist who made Oceanborn and Wishmaster (2000) and you may just come away surprised by it. For me, it's a masterpiece that I have finally unearthed and can now enjoy to its full extent.

NIGHTWISH Oceanborn

Album · 1998 · Power Metal
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Modrigue
Nightwish's best album

"I'm listening to some super music right now"...

...said one of my best friends during my campus years. Intrigued, I immediately came to his room to check his affirmation, and... what an ear-shock! A female opera singer over a power metal song? What was this? Never heard that before! In my defence, at that time, I suppose many other people haven't either, as this was the album that really started it all...

Whereas the debut "Angels Fall First" was still hesitating in its approach and incorporated gothic touches, this second opus saws the band now fully assuming their lyrical heavy metal orientation by pushing its concept to the maximum. Both uncommon and refreshing in 1998, "Oceanborn" marries raging and energetic guitars though elaborated compositions with superb melodies, sometimes epic, sometimes melancholic, sublimed by Tarja Turunen's ethereal soprano voice. A classically trained female vocalist, bringing her talent and her 3 octaves range to this genre, was quite atypical at the time. Her crystalline interpretation literally carries the music to a whole new dimension, magic, enchanting, elegant, out of this world...

Not everything is perfect though. The disc contains some of the band's best tracks, but also less catchy passages.

The fast-paced "Stargazers" is a glorious heroic heavy metal opener that directly transport you into another place. Its dark interlude is beautiful. Completely different, the melodic mid-tempo "Gethseman" is tragic, even touching at times. However, my favorite tune is undoubtedly "Passion And The Opera". Epic and haunting, with Tarja's aerial vocalizations and a thrilling finale! The instrumental "Moondance" opens with piano and, supported by rocking guitars, possesses quite dancing folk vibes and numerous rhythm changes. A fairy tale... "The Riddler" is energetic and powerful, whereas "Walking In The Air" is a cover of "I'm Walking In The Air", from Howard Blake's 1982 film "The Snowman". NIGHTWISH's revisit is ethereal and floating...

As I said, some titles have less seduced me. The lyrical "Sacrament Of Wilderness" contains charming moments but is overall rather average. I'm not really fond of the two songs with Tapio Wilska - ex-singer of their fellow countrymen Finntroll - either. "Devil & The Deep Dark Ocean" is raging and oppressive, but fails to really lift off. Same goes for the "Stratovarius-esque" "The Pharaoh Sails To Orion", which includes pleasant Egyptian touches though. "Swanheart" is a melancholic and gracious ballad, but a bit soapy.

Anyway, "Oceanborn" remains an influential breakthrough album, paving the way for a new genre and for future female vocalists in the metal sphere. NIGHTWISH has now definitely crafted its own identity as well as its leadership. With this impacting second opus, the Finnishs impose themselves as one of the most important formation on the nascent revival scene at the end of the 90's and will gain international notoriety. Unfortunately, the later releases won't match the same level of quality and inspiration...

One of the best power/heavy metal with female singer record, and the one to start with if you're not familiar with NIGHTWISH. Fans of progressive metal will also appreciate the numerous ambiance changes within the tracks. A journey through a fairy tale suspended world...

NIGHTWISH Endless Forms Most Beautiful

Album · 2015 · Symphonic Metal
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adg211288
Endless Forms Most Beautiful (2015) is the eighth full-length studio album by Finnish symphonic metal act Nightwish. For this album the band has increased their line-up to six having added Troy Donockley (who was a guest on their last two albums) to their line-up full time playing uilleann pipes, low whistle, bodhran and bouzouki. With that said drummer Jukka Nevalainen opted out of taking part in Endless Forms Most Beautiful due to his suffering with insomnia, so the drums on the album ended up being performed on a session basis by Kai Hahto (Wintersun, Swallow the Sun). The album also marks the first studio album with lead vocalist Floor Jansen (ReVamp, ex-After Forever) following Anette Olzon's dismissal. Both Jansen and Donockley appear on the prior live album/DVD Showtime, Storytime (2013) so Endless Forms Most Beautiful isn't really their introduction to the fans, though they were both still guests when the live album was recorded.

I had high hopes for this album as soon as I knew that Floor Jansen had been selected as the new vocalist of Nightwish. After original vocalist Tarja Turunen was fired Jansen was my personal choice to replace her. Instead we got Anette Olzon, who lets be fair on both sides of the argument, wasn't the sort of singer anyone was expecting or really wanted considering Tarja's operatic style that so defined the Nightwish sound, but who also didn't really do that bad of a job on the two albums she got to do with the band. Though I did not like it at all at first I happen to really quite enjoy Imaginaerum (2011) now and consider it Nightwish's bravest and most adventurous record. But with all that said, Floor Jansen would always have been a better replacement for Tarja Turunen. So this is really a better late than never appointment if you ask me.

It's a real shame though that Floor's talents feel completely downplayed and squandered on Endless Forms Most Beautiful. Floor Jansen is an incredible vocalist. She can do the operatic stuff like Tarja, but also be quite comfortable doing the stuff Anette sang on. She can also do growls, as demonstrated on her most recent ReVamp album Wild Card (2013). Not that I ever expected growls to make their way into Endless Forms Most Beautiful, though there are bits during Yours is an Empty Hope that sound like she's trying hard to hold herself back from doing just that. Wasn't what I was getting at anyway. It simply seems to me that Nightwish didn't make full use of Floor's abilities as a vocalist on the album and that's a lot of thrown away potential before the actual music is even discussed. Now don't get the wrong end of the stick with me here, Floor does sound great, but I have listened to her in other bands and I believe she has done better performances and perhaps more to the point, performances that have long had me convinced that she, not Anette Olzon, was the singer to replace Tarja Turunen.

The situation with the vocals extends to male vocalist Marco Hietala as well though, as he has had his vocal contributions incredibly scaled back on this album, to just three songs, not counting backing. While male vocals haven't always played a role in Nightwish's music, Marco has had quite a strong presence since Century Child (2002) and it feels strange for him to suddenly be pushed to the side. I can't even reason that it's because the band want to show Floor off, because as I said, she can do a lot more with her range and power than she does here. Troy Donockley gets a little bit of vocal time too, but not enough to balance things out.

Endless Forms Most Beautiful sets a better first impression than Imaginaerum did for me, as I actually really hated that album at first but it seems to be a thing with me now that Nightwish records need three or four listens to properly sink in. Endless Forms Most Beautiful has grown on me a lot quicker than the previous album though, but I'm actually not sure that's a positive thing for once, as I'm left with the nagging feeling that my opinion on the record, which I do enjoy despite my incessant moaning about it, has already settled down, leaving no room down the track to say, as happened with Imaginaerum, "You know what? This is a lot better than I originally gave it credit for!"

I've said that I eventually came to consider Imaginaerum as Nightwish's bravest and most adventurous record; the band even experimented by putting a jazz track on it, but by comparison the music found on Endless Forms Most Beautiful plays things very safe with the band's influences. They're brought the power metal elements back, not enough to call Endless Forms Most Beautiful a power metal record like Oceanborn (1998) or Wishmaster (2000), but enough to make them notable, which is a positive thing to me. They've also again increased their folk elements, giving the album a very Celtic feeling. Again, I consider this a positive thing. But there are no surprises in store for listeners either. It sounds more or less how you might have expected a Nightwish album to sound pre-Imaginaerum. That in itself is not necessarily a bad thing but it does seem to me that Imaginaerum, the harder record to really understand and appreciate, is ultimately more rewarding.

This is probably due to that whole wasted potential thing I mentioned when I was talking about Floor's vocals, though the problems on Endless Forms Most Beautiful certainly extend beyond that. This is a good album by Nightwish overall but it's clear to me that it could have been a lot better had they made some different stylistic decisions. Most of the songs are actually really quite good, especially My Walden, Alpenglow and the lead single Élan. The only track I don't have a high opinion of is the instrumental The Eyes of Sharbat Gula, which at six minutes really outstays its welcome for the amount of ideas present. I'm also got mixed feelings for the closing twenty-four minute epic, The Greatest Show on Earth. On one hand, some of the very best ideas on the album are contained within this track but like with The Eyes of Sharbat Gula it simply feels a bit too long, at least in some sections, and probably could safely have been cut down by quite a few minutes. I'm not big on the narration (done by ethologist/evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins) either, though it's not as bad as was done with Imaginaerum's Song of Myself and it's poem recital. But tracks one through nine are pretty strong.

Endless Forms Most Beautiful is a difficult album to rate because while it is good it also has some glaring faults, ones that were apparent from the first spin and didn't disappear as the album grew on me. I have moments when I think that even despite my issues with it I should award as high as a 4.5 star rating and then others when I think it should be as low as 3 stars. I'm going to settle on 4 stars but objectively speaking, the rating is only just scraping up from a 3.5.

NIGHTWISH Showtime, Storytime

Live album · 2013 · Symphonic Metal
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Kev Rowland
Back in 2012 I heard that Nightwish were going to be coming to New Zealand, and me and one of my daughters knew that we just had to be there. I had loved ‘Imaginaerum’, and felt that the band had come a long way since they replaced singer Tarja Turunen. Her final performance with the band was captured as ‘End of An Era’, and is something that I had played time and again but felt that Anette Olzon was a better fit with the way that the band had changed into something that was more bombastic and metallic. But, I was surprised to hear that after just two albums Anette was no longer in the band, and that she had in turn been replaced by Floor Jansen from After Forever. But, although she had performed well in the studio, the live performances I had seen seemed to show someone who possibly wasn’t fully in tune with the band and what they were trying to achieve. So, what would the concert be like with Floor?

Simply put, it was brilliant. Floor has the controlled soprano that is required to perform the classic Nightwish numbers but is also very much a rock performer and knows that there are times when an edge and roughness are required to provide the emphasis. The other surprise that night was the appearance of veteran Troy Donockley, who is now a full band member. I first came across Troy when he was a member of Iona for their classic ‘Book of Kells’, and have heard some of his solo work as well as other band performances, and he certainly provides the group with additional styles with his pipes, flutes and whistles.

But why am I talking about a concert and not reviewing the album I have before me? Well, that is because this is a recording of their appearance at Wacken later the same year. By now Floor had really settled in (bear in mind that Anette’s final performance was September 29th 2012, and Floor joined the band for their performance on October 1st, having learned and rehearsed the vocal parts on the flight from Holland to Seattle!!), and the whole band seems comfortable and relaxed. It will always be Tuomas Holopainen’s group, he writes the material and provides all the symphonics with his keyboards, but for me the most important person is bassist/vocalist Marco Hietala who provides the brutality and depth in his powerful singing as a total contrast to Floor. My one gripe about the gig is that they didn’t perform “Bye, Bye, Beautiful”, which is easily the most played song on my phone as I have both the studio video and a live performance loaded and I play both multiple ties each week. But given that it was about Tarja, possibly they didn’t feel that performing it after Anette had left would be the right thing to do.

But, if you enjoy symphonic metal then it really doesn’t get much better than this. It is quite a contrast to ‘End of An Era’, and this is very much the one that I prefer.

NIGHTWISH Oceanborn

Album · 1998 · Power Metal
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siLLy puPPy
After an acoustically laden folk metal experience on the debut album NIGHTWISH decided to really go for the gusto on their second release OCEANBORN and what a triumph of musical mixing this is. They still retain some of the Finnish folk music that is intrinsically sewn into the fabric of their songwriting but on this release they really ramp up the metal and symphonic aspects of their sound. I see this as equally part neo-classical metal of the Stratovarius type married with symphonic prog a la Renaissance laced with Finnish folk music and topped off with some classical diva operatic vocals by the stunning Tarja Turunen.

This is my only NIGHTWISH album i've yet heard so I can't compare to other releases but on this one the musicians are all top notch. Tuomas Holopainen who is the main songwriter really knows how to create some interesting hooks and his keyboard talents are one of the main ingredients in holding this symphonic metal together so well. Emppu Vuorinen nails the neo-classical guitar shredding and the double-bass drumming of Jukka Nevalainen really blend well with the bass skills of Sami Vankska.

Everything works together perfectly to create an epic musical fantasy. The music is further embellished by flutes, violin, viola and cello. There is also some male vocals that appear as the voice of both the devil and pharaoh but Tarja is the star of this release with her angelic presence totally dominating the accompanying symphonic power metal music. This album goes by too fast. From the high energy opening track “Stargazers” that sets the stage for the rest of the album it promises to keep your attention to the end of the album. Only a couple of the slower tracks keep me from rating this higher. The album shines brightest when the band is delivering epic fast-paced fantasy metal like there's no tomorrow.

I didn't realize how huge this band is as far as popularity goes. They are one of the best selling Finnish acts ever and have been hugely successful worldwide. I understand this is their best release but I still need to check out more of their output because if any of it comes even close to the melodic and symphonic beauty of OCEANBORN then I am a fan indeed.

NIGHTWISH Movies Reviews

NIGHTWISH Showtime, Storytime

Movie · 2013 · Symphonic Metal
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Pekka
You probably know the story. Anette Olzon, Tarja Turunen's replacement at the Nightwish mic was let go in the middle of the band's tour for Imaginaerum, and Floor Jansen was summoned to be her stand in at an extremely short notice, finally ending up as the permanent vocalist. At least for the time being, that is, knowing the band's tumultous history with their front women. While all this was happening they had the cameras rolling for a tour documentary they would probably have released anyway, but this turn of events naturally kicked the interest level up a notch or two.

The documentary starts at the turning point of the tour - the gig with the Kamelot singers while Anette was hospitalized and the heroic entry of Floor Jansen, and so naturally the viewer expects a dramatic back story of how they got to the low point. But no, the tour starts out great and everything goes smoothly and the touring machine is examined in great detail from many angles right down to Tuomas Holopainen's wine bottle stand under the keyboards. The tour continues to be a success and everyone is having fun, and suddenly they have insurmountable personnel strife that just can't be salvaged. Especially after reading the mercilessly honest and brutally detailed official band biography, it's very disappointing that the problems with Anette are in no way explained. They just couldn't continue being in the same band and that's that.

So the big potential is wasted, possibly due to Anette's refusal to be included in any form, and that may after all be a blessing in disguise, since the documentary was originally supposed to be a stand alone release. I'm only guessing here, but perhaps this bastardisation was the reason they chose to include the Wacken gig as well, and push the documentary to the second disc.

And holy hell are they on fire in the main feature! I get immense pleasure from the sense that this group that I started listening back in 1997 when I first heard The Carpenter on a metal compilation cassette (fuck yeah) made by a friend, and lost for some years after Once, has finally found the perfect line-up without a single hiccup. Tarja's voice was what made the band stand out in the beginning, but as a metal frontwoman she was always awkward, as was the pop-oriented Anette Olzon after her. Third time's the charm, and in Floor Jansen they have a true stunning metal goddess with lungs to handle any and every song from the band's catalogue while making them her own. And let's not underestimate the official addition of Troy Donockley, who brings important colour to their sound. I'll be excited to hear how the band utilises his rather metalless but extremely pleasant voice on the next album.

The band is captured touring my favourite Nightwish album, so the setlist leaves little to be desired, but it would've been nice to hear more than one track from their first three albums. And Scaretale from Imaginaerum, though that was such a perfect performance by Anette that I doubt Floor can top that. Nightwish as a musical unit is so much tied to the taped orchestrations these days that it leaves very little space for improvisation, which is why it's nice to hear a little additional keyboard solo in I Wish I Had An Angel, and which is also why it's easy to let the newly improved vocal department steal the show.

Put cameras on this show, and it's bound to be brilliant. The band were on top of their game on this tour after the personnel change, so it will be interesting to see how they make the new line-up work on record. For the first time since 2005 I'm eagerly awaiting the next Nightwish album.

Concert ***** Documentary **½

NIGHTWISH Shouts

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adg211288 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Been a while since I listened to those but if memory serves you're right. Probably applies to several symphonic power acts placed under symphonic right now. Perhaps they'll be moved in time, I'm due a revisit of their stuff. By the way please post such things on the forum, that way it might not take a member of the symphonic team over three years to discover your post.
topofsm wrote:
more than 2 years ago
IMO Wishmaster and Oceanborn are more power than symphonic. Probably doesn't matter for much but whatever.

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