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Nightwish - Once CD (album) cover

ONCE

Nightwish

 

Progressive Metal

3.62 | 199 ratings

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FalconBleck
4 stars #39 Review

This album ramps up the production from previous ones by including a bigger real orchestra and chorus, while i skipped the previous album, i come to this one with a similar understanding of what to expect as the previous albums i have reviewed, since i have heard a ton of times 2 songs from this one.

Already by looking at the cover i expect great things, i like covers that are grey for some reason, like Wind & Wuthering from Genesis, pretty simple, but already the color choice is effective to give you the feelings of what to expect here, this album is supposedly less heavy and more orchestral oriented, lets see if i'm wrong.

1.- Dark Chest Of Wonders 8/10 And the album its already starting heavier, never mind what i said earlier. Overall this is a really solid composition that doesn't get boring with many changes through out, some parts repeat obviously but its made to serve the song in the best way possible, the solo is pretty nice also. The worst offenders in this song are some bad Nightwish staples, like the guitar and other instruments just doing what the keyboard is doing in some sections, another staple wich is not that bad is that they tend to repeat the chorus and to end the song they repeat it again but in a higher key, wich is better than a fade out, overall this song is really great.

2.- Wish I Had An Angel 3/10 Damn, those strings sound cool, i also like how the instruments add up in the vocal section then when the chorus starts, i really don't dig the sample bass drum. Overall pretty repetitive, some interesting ideas here and there but this isn't recommendable, sounds a little like a pop song.

3.- Nemo 7/10 One of the first things that i tried doing on the piano when creating a song was trying to immitate this song a little, its really simple but effective, gives off a feeling of cold and snow, just as the video shows. I really like the chords in this one, its a little bit repetitive but does a good job, this ballad song could work on different genres without any problem, and when i think its fine, then an small solo and climax section starts wich is fantastic and then the chorus repeats closing the song perfectly.

4.- Planet Hell 9/10 For a long time this song and the longest song where my only favorite songs from this album. I must say that even then when i was 14 i had great taste if i chose this song, some sections repeat but it never gets boring, it sounds fun to play, specially the solo wich is fantastic. I have always been more of an instrumental music fan and this song keeps me happy through out. Probably, the most boring part of this song is the introduction, i like how the song goes incrementing and then the chorus is that epic, i wish this song was longer.

5.- Creek Mary's Blood 7/10 Not only does Nightwish have classical influences, but also folk ones too, like any good progressive rock act, i really like the melody here, specially on the chorus wich feels like a fitting climax, reminds me a little of the Phantom of the Opera at times, probably because of some notes, even though the atmosphere is completely different, and about that, this song nails that as well, that's not the problem of Nightwish though, it mostly is repetition, and this shows in the song, if you play this song only with a piano, you'll realize that the notes of this song repeats themselves 3 times before the solo. The guitar solo was ok, though it played almost the same as what was played before, what comes after is better and serves better the atmophere of the song, what didn't though is the ending wich for my liking sounds too happy compared to the rest of the song, there's a fine line between epic and happy in chords, they try to fix that with the phrases at the very end wich is the first time i have listened to those because for some reason the version that i have heard so far is a shorter one, overall a solid song.

6.- The Siren 7/10 The introduction to this song is clearly inspired by classical music, it sounds really good and clever on a guitar. The major problem of this song is that the main motif is short and every section repeats twice in the song, although scrambled a little. Anyways, this is a great opener for any concert, this is a Nightwish classic that hits all the marks of a Nightwish song, a well done rock ballad with great chords, voice and heavy sound, yet i wish it would've had more going on, like an extended solo. I like the little touches of the sitar and a 3rd voice decorating the song through out, adds a little more complexity to this overall simple but effective composition.

7.- Dead Gardens 4/10 What an aweosome introduction, sadly, the rest of the song doesn't live up to it, its almost as if this song was an after thought from another longer piece. The vocal parts bore me, it must be the monotone drums and the guitar almost playing the same notes throught the entire song. The ending shows that they had little ideas, atleast the drummer gets to shine a little.

8.- Romanticide 6/10 I can hear a slap bass, yet it plays the same things as the guitar, or is the guitar playing the same? In the starting vocal parts i like how some notes in the piano decorate, but i would've chosen strings over "ohs", the metal in this song is strong and the chorus works well with the song for this purpose, but for some reason the same scale piano decorations still occur in the chorus, while the violins are doing a good job, then Thomas uses both strings and "ohs" in the guitar solo? So he used strings on this songs but decided to add another layer of "ohs" and also the violins and the decorations, wich i think is a little overkill, specially for the chorus. The chords are mostly sick as always

The solo is something to behold, 26 seconds of brilliance that should leave anyone unsatisfied, the bass finally does something different but its overall pretty fast and boring.

I like the final instrumental part, they gave the bass more protagonism for a little time though they could've improvised a little more in this part, it also reminds me of the ending to Dead Gardens, wich wasn't that good, atleast this one was more developed until reaching that part.

9.- Ghost Love Score 10/10 I mean, what can i say that hasn't been said, this is insane, the start of this song its perfect and then continues being amazing. First of all, the first chords that set up the mood and the complex composition that keeps adding until the first verses wich gives a slight relief, then goes increccendo, and Tuomas adds the perfect notes to accompany the second verse, in the first minute the song shows what wants to do, take you from your place, tell you an story and bring you back, but nothing will ever be the same, this kind of experience that this song offers its on par with the best music i've heard and totally fits with other progressive rock classics, while i have given other Nightwish songs a 10, this one for me is the biggest crowning achievement of the band so far.

The instrumental, this composition shouldn't envy what the classical orchestral artists have done, you can say whatever about Nightwish, but i'm sure as hell that whatever band you're a fan of has never done something like this song, they could've done some other great stuff, but only Nightwish did this one.

This song shows how much passion the group has not only for the composition but for the production, this one in particular, compared to all their songs so far sounds excelent, really well put together and an excelent selection of what sound to put here and there, i can even pin point an instrument that sounds like Sitar in the background of some parts, pure brilliance.

10.- Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan 8/10 I must say, many of the Nightwish songs have beautyful chords, great startings and all, this being the only song written in finish in this album and being that it reached number 1 in that country (their home country) shows how much they know the audience there but it also shows how beautyful that country is, and this song that talks about death its pretty and nostalgic for some reason, probably one of my favorites simple ballads that Nightwish has produced, there's only orchestra and chorus, no metal here, and i appreciate that. This song gives much more respect to the atmosphere than Creek Mary's Blood, where they tried to overcompensate.

11.- Higher Than Hope 6/10 Starting with a mostly sweet instrumental it quickly becomes heavy when it reaches the chorus, its an interesting direction that i don't know if to aprove, if i go straight to what they're playing i think that its overall a pretty solid ballad, while its not the best on the album and gets a little repetitive, the middle section gives an interesting add up to the climax wich i would've liked to hear more developed instead of going to the chorus back again like Nightwish always does when they don't know how to finish a song.

I expected a little more on this album, is still great because each song in it is well done and likeable (except the chorus on Wish i Had an Angel wich i outright don't like), yet i expected more instrumental parts, i expected more songs like Gethsemane or The Pharao Sails to Orion or more songs like Ghost Love Score, i'm still happy with the results though and this album overall gets a 68/100... yes, almost the same score as the first album, i mean, overall after listening to it and listening to previous albums again, i realized that i have been wearing out of Nightwish a little, that's why i skipped Century Child after listening to the first 2 songs.

Even though my scale says that i should give it 3 stars, it needs 2 more points to be 4, and i'll give it that, it deserves that score because i think that the overall package is an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection. I really like the direction on wich this is going, after all, Nightwish is still around and i have more albums to review, a group can't last forever doing the same songs right? maybe there's a certain 14 minute song that i really admire in the next one...

FalconBleck | 4/5 |

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