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Nightwish - Endless Forms Most Beautiful CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.75 | 129 ratings

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4 stars With prog metal groups having been added to progarchives faster than food trucks in an abandoned lot, it's somewhat surprising that the latest offering from one of the least metallic, most progressive and most internationally successful has only received reviews from a few odd fanpeople immediately upon release. With a concept as grandiose as anything from the 1970s but a great deal more penetrable, not a growl in sight, and only occasional raucous riffs dotting the mostly symphonic and occasionally Celtic backdrop, this 2015 issue picks up where the superb "Imaginaerum" left off. The apparently contentious split with former lead singer Annette Olson has occasioned the ascent of the equally expressive Floor Jansen for another engrossing romp.

The subject is Darwin's theory of evolution and the title is a quote from "The Origin of Species", with the NIGHTWISH concept focusing on how lucky we are to be alive, given that the likelihood of our ever being conceived is infinitesimally small. My intellectual problem with this is the same as stating that if everything is great then nothing is great. Everybody we meet is as equally fortunate. Now, if we could make the acquaintance of those who were never squeezed into existence that would be another matter. In any case, Nightwish does justice to the bombastic theme from the outset with "Shudder Before the Beautiful, and the sequence beginning with with the mostly gentle "Our Decades in the Sun" and ending with the dazzling "The Eyes of Sherbat Gula" is uniformly ravishing. The most identifiable aspects of their sound apart from the vocals would be the synthesized and bona fide orchestrations, the gallivanting melodies, and the frequent interjections of pipes and flutes from one Troy Donockley. The gravitas of occasional narrator Richard Dawkins, a renowned author and biologist, rounds out the cast.

While our favourite prog is often challenging and intellectually and emotionally satisfying, it's rarely this entertaining as well. It might even bring a lump to your throat.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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