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Nightwish - Oceanborn CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.96 | 269 ratings

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3 stars Oceanborn may take a few good listens to realize the progressive factors. The power and gothic metal elements are far more obvious, but after several listens the music unveils quite a few complexities, including technical keyboard and quick playing, making Oceanborn a perfect fit inside progressive metal circles.

The basic structure of the album is quick-uptempo power metal, with the keyboard possibly the most prominent instrument in the mix, using lots of string tones, piano, and straightforward synth tones, often showcasing Tuomas Holopainen's rather strong musicianship, especially on tracks like "Gethsemane" and "The Pharaoh Sails to Orion". Most of the other instruments are rather standard for the genre, but Tarja Turunen is a very notable singer. She uses a rather unique operatic vocal style, while most female vocalists choose to use a far more mainstream "pop" vocal approach, never reaching the heights that Turunen is able to accomplish.

The standout tracks on Oceanborn are generally uptempo and creative, using the orchestral synth sounds to their fullest. There are tracks like "Gethsemane" where the piano and the guitar play off each other fluidly in the quick uptempo riffs, and other places in the song the drums create interesting syncopated beats, forming a completely progressive metal song. "Moondance" is a killer instrumental, with the band forming a unique composition, with both beautiful flute and piano parts leading into a sort of 'metal jig' with celtic rhythms, also fully progressive. Also one of the better compositions is "The Pharaoh Sails to Orion", with speed metal elements all through it and gliding piano flowing through it from its ominous intro to its epic conclusion. Fans should also enjoy the softer "Swanheart" and "Sleeping Sun", along with the snowman theme "Walking in Air".

The album is not without a few flaws though. Like lots of power metal albums, the songs do have a tendency to sound a same. This is especially true towards the beginning of the album, since most of the more interesting songs come at the beginning. However once the listener is midway through the album they have nothing but great music to enjoy, all of it creative. Therefore lots of standard progressive metal fans should recognize this as an excellent album to have in their collection, and the essential Nightwish album to own.

topofsm | 3/5 |


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