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3.72 | 44 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 2004

Filed under Symphonic Metal


1. Dark Chest of Wonders (4:28)
2. Wish I Had an Angel (4:05)
3. Nemo (4:36)
4. Planet Hell (4:38)
5. Creek Mary's Blood (8:29)
6. The Siren (4:45)
7. Dead Gardens (4:28)
8. Romanticide (4:58)
9. Ghost Love Score (10:02)
10. Kuolema tekee taiteilijan (3:58)
11. Higher Than Hope (5:35)

Total Time: 60:06

Bonus tracks spread over several releases:
12. White Night Fantasy (04:08)
13. Live To Tell The Tale (05:02)
14. Where Were You Last Night?(??:??)


- Tarja Turunen / Vocals
- Tuomas Holopainen / Keyboards
- Erno Vuorinen / Guitars
- Marco Hietala / Vocals, Bass, Acoustic Guitars
- Jukka Nevalainen / Drums

Guest Musicians:
- Marc Brueland / Spoken part in "Higher Than Hope"
- Jouni Hynynen / Growling in "Dead Gardens"
- John Two-Hawks / Vocals, Native American flute in "Creek Mary's Blood"
- The London Philharmonic Orchestra / All orchestral sections
- The Metro Voices / Choir

About this release

Release date: June 7th, 2004
Label: Spinefarm Records.
Several re-releases in 2004

Thanks to Metalbaswee, adg211288, diamondblack for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Although Nightwish was fairly well known as it was, this album burst them into the mainstream, likely with the backing of Roadrunner to throw them into more well known repute. Unfortunately, there seems to be a general dip in quality once a band becomes more popular. However, the dislike for the new era of this band comes a bit warranted, as this is still a good album worth getting, especially for fans of melodic and symphonic metal.

Fans hoping for more power metal oriented Nightwish a la Oceanborn and Wishmaster are ultimately the people who complain about the record. Once is more straightforward in composition for the most part, and obviously have pop radio type content, as evidenced in the soft "Nemo" and the danceable "I Wish I had an Angel". But there are still songs that are among the top of the Nightwish catalogue.

For one thing, the opener, "Dark Chest of Wonders" is an energetic power infused song with enough epic strings that it stands with many other modern power type songs. "Planet Hell" is excellent as well, with an excellent bombastic intro, possibly their darkest song to date. But the real meat and bones of the album comes midway through in the forms of the longer tracks "Creek Mary's Blood" and "Ghost Love Score". The former is an emotional track with beautiful melodies and Native American instrumentation, along with a well placed monologue at the end of the track to cap it all off. "Ghost Love Score" is epic in every sense of the word, and quite well written. It is structured and develops like a progressive rock song, and contains many different moods. This is one of the best songs in metal period, and having this song on it makes the purchase of the record worthwhile.

Of course, the rest of the songs pretty much ruin it. With the exception of "The Siren" most of the rest of Once is unmemorable. You will look back on the tracklist and think "Dead Gardens? I think that track had synth in it?" or "Higher than Hope? Was that a ballad." Which, along with the mainstream styles at the beginning of the track generate the hatred for the album.

So this album has some great songs, a couple fantastic songs, and the rest is filler. That is why a lot of hate gets built upon this album. Though to be honest it's a good pop metal album with some great metal songs on it, which makes it all worthwhile.
Conor Fynes
'Once' - Nightwish (5/10)

Nightwish is a band with a very distinctive sound; characterized by the powerful operatic voice of their singer, Tarja Turunen. While theres incredible talent to be found here, there's something that feels very lacking here. There are some great, mind-blowing tracks on here such as the film score inspired 'Ghost Love Score,' but alot of this music is nothing more than general symphonic metal; and were these instrumental tracks, there would be no way of telling this great band apart from the countless symph-metal bands in a sea of mediocrity.

Tuomas Holopanien has proven to be a very able and brilliant composer, and if he utilized his talents to the extent he does on the more serious compositions more consistently, I would have no problem giving this a great rating.

As it stands, the only two amazing songs for me to be found here are 'The Siren' and the aforementioned 'Ghost Love Score.' 'Ghost Love Score' in particular is of special note because it uses orchestration to the point of giving the song a true motion picture soundtrack-like quality to it; it is a song that would not sound out of place resonating in any theater.

'The Siren' delves into greek mythology, and has a strong neoclassical feel to it. The chorus works wonders, and is a magical moment I kept rewinding to listen to over and over again. Tuomas really knows how to counterpoint vocals very well.

The rest of the music here though is very mainstream metal sounding. Mind you, being 'mainstream' does not by any means automatically condemn, but I really wish there could have been more ambitions involved with this project. It's alright, and I gave it the few listens it deserved, but now is time to move on... Three stars.
This album achieved massive success worldwide and even went gold. I can see why...

Ok, I'm kind of annoyed at Nightwish, due to the fact that after Wishmaster, they stopped writing intresting neo classical sounding songs and went for a more Within Temptation sound (power chords and an orchestra following them basically.) But, what annyoed me even more, was that I love this album. Nightwish almost became a new band, one of the best live ones I have ever seen as well. The guitars had been powered up with amazing distortion, double bass pedals were used to punch the listeners ears, Tuomas decided to learn every instrument in the orchestra (not really, but It sounds that way, and Tarja started to learn how to control her opera style and even use a more poppy sounding vocal. The result was a band that sounded like a polished version of Within Temptation (I have nothing against Within Temptation, but there is a point were the orchestra needs to be toned down a bit.)

This also one of the heaviest albums I have ever heard and one of the most well produced. This album reminds me of one of those albums where if a wrong not was struck, then you wouldn't notice.

1. Dark Chest Of Wonders - Amazing riffs, catchy, epic, and kickass. What an intro. Very memorable.

2. Wish I Had An Angel - The use of industrial sound electronics was a bit cheesy, but it worked. The music behind the song may have sounded like Rammstein jamming with the Philharmonic, but it worked, great vocals from Marco & Tarja and a very catchy chorus.

3. Nemo - I must have played this song a thousand times, but the beauty never is lost. Very cathcy and there must be at least 10 key changes in the song, but you never notice if you are playing. Incredibly well structured and beautiful.

4. Planet Hell - One of the best songs I have ever heard. No seriosuly. It's so epic and powerfull, amazing chorus and amazing vocal performance from Marco and especially Tarja. If you haven't heard this song, listen to it now, it very may well changed your life.

5. Creek Mary's Blood - This song was quite nice. I liked the Native American influences, but that weird guy who keeps on following them around on the End Of An Era DVD, Chief MooMoo or something like that was a bit annoying. The key change in the song I think wasn't that good and felt a little rushed.

6. The Siren - I loved the fact that this song was built more on music rather than vocals. The instrumental sections are amazing and Tarja and Marco really give it there all to make the vocals sound just as good to match the instrumentals. Amazing and suprisingly catchy.

7. Dead Gardens - Very metal and very kickass. I also loved the lyrics, which kind of showed that the song is the end of Tuomas' childhood like mind. Very effective and dramatic.

8. Romanticide - This song is anout Tarja, and it's very funny, cause I don't think she noticed when she was singing it, and it really matches what is said in Bye Bye Beautiful, "Did you ever read what I wrote you." Still a great song. A lot more metal.

9.Ghost Love Score - Very epic and dramatic. This song could only be topped on the next album (The Poet & The Pendulum). They also play this song amazing live.

10. Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan - A lovely's also quite Finnish people though.

11. Higher Than Hope -A nice epic way to end an album.

CONCLUSION: Wow, a kick in the face really. Buy it now, and wear a hemlet.

Members reviews

"Once" marks the farewell "Tarja Turunen" of the band. The album is heavier than "Century Child". The production quality develops further. It seems they have learned a little from the mistakes of the previous disc. "Dark Chest of Wonders" is full of riffs, aggressive bass ... characteristics as the standard normal to the bandwidth. The big difference is the return of rhythmic variation greater than "Century Child".

"Wish I Had an Angel" and "Nemo" were hits on the radio. The first is aggressive with the participation of "Marco Hietala" on vocals, while the second has more rhythmic, almost a ballad.

It is observed that since the first album, "Angels Fall First" to "Nemo", the musical evolution of the band also became the band's sound more commercial. Before there was a certain air of innovation in the album "Oceanborn" and "Wishmaster", then the band has not remained as precursor of a style, but followed the trend, so were his last two works, "Century Child" and "Nemo".

With the image of a weeping angel on its cover, "Once" is the last studio album yet to have a lighter color, the two subsequent albums have highlights to darker shades.

"Creek Mary's Blood" is a ballad band's official, which allows a simple fingerings and guitar solo.

A real orchestra participates in this album, not limited to synthesizers "Tuomas". The production of this album was exquisite, majestic and audible instruments not overlapping each other.

In short, "Once" is the more polished and better produced than any previous one. The musicians were improved greatly. Regarding the "Century Child" was a sure step, but looking at the whole discography of the band no longer has the same splendor.

It may be that with new hearings to change any thing in view but so far the impression is that.

Approaching the end of 2004, Finnish metal band Nightwish has delivered their finest, most complex, operatic, and up to date album called Once. Eleven beautiful tracks plus two bonus tracks including a video clip of “Wish I Had An Angel” compiled into one record. Undoubtedly, Once is their peak performance so far. Opened with a killer/metal/keyboards driven track “Dark Chest of Wonder”, this song marks the starting of long journey once you stepped into this record. Tarja Turunen’s operatic voice is at its best. Not only in this song, but the beautiful voice is also clearly heard across all the tracks in this album. The first single of the album, “Wish I Had An Angel” –as well as the next track “Nemo”—sound as dark as ever. Tarja Turunen and Marco Hietala (bass/vocals) beautifully exchanged vocals line during “Wish I Had An Angel”, a dark song with catchy rhythm guitar nicely put by guitarist Emppu Vuorinen. My favorite lines in this song are “…old loves they die hard/old lies they die harder…”. “Nemo” is even darker than the previous track. How could anyone would experience such pain as described in “…oh how I wish for soothing rain/all I wish is to dream again/my loving heart lost in the dark/for hope I’d give my everything…” . Once again, Tarja’s voice is beautifully penned down on this track.

“Planet Hell” is an angry track gloriously sung by Marco Hietala. I guess on this album marco has proved that he deserved one slot on vocalist chair along with Tarja. His thrashy and heavy voice is perfect match for the beautiful and operatic voice of Tarja Turunen. “Creek Mary’s Blood” is the first epic offered by the band telling a story about the Indian tribe in America. You can feel the pain and anger at the same time expressed through “…white man came/saw the blessed land/we cared, you took/you fought, we lost/not the war but an unfair fight/sceneries painted beautifully in blood…” The next track “The Siren” is very much sounding as somewhat a ‘mysterious song’. I can’t really get what they’re trying to say with “…I tied myself to the wheel/the winds talk to my sails, not me/somewhere there my fate revealed/I hear but how will I see…”

“Dead Gardens” and “Romanticide” are pretty much similar to Nightwish’s previous efforts, songs with its rhythmic guitar driven style. If you were familiar with Nightwish’s albums pre-Once, then you will understand what I am trying to say here. “Ghost Love Score” is the second epic offered by the band. The album is closed by a song in Finnish “Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan” and “Higher Than Hope”. Can’t talk much about the song in Finnish as I have no idea what it means, while the latter is a beautiful ballad about hope… “..passiontide/an angel by my side/but no Christ to end this war/to deliver my soul from the sword/hope has shown me a scenery/paradise poetry/with first snow I’ll be gone…”

If you’re lucky enough to have Road Runner release, there are bonus tracks called “White Night Fantasy” and “Live To Tell The Tale”. Both songs are worthy as a collection as well. I personally am happy and satisfied with this album. The next question is whether they would be able to take another journey beyond what they have achieved here. It is hard to tell, let alone to predict. But surely you can’t miss this one.

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