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Nightwish - Century Child CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.34 | 142 ratings

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3 stars NIGHTWISH is one of those bands that is best described as a combination of several influences. Think of SYMPHONY X with more realistic-sounding synths and real backing choirs played by a keyboardist who at times does resemble MIKE PINNELLA in style, but with more of a Stratovarius-like power-metal bent. Vocalist TARJA TURUNEN reminds me most of singers like Loreena McKennitt. The drummer's kit sounds rather like ED WARBY of AYREON, and there are also some similarities in playing style.this occasionally gives it the Flight of the Migrator feel. A male vocalist tries at times to sound like Timo Kotipelto of Stratovarius and at other times like RUSSELL ALLEN of SYMPHONY X...but accomplishes neither and is the main drag on this album. The guitarist is nothing special; I occasionally expect him to take off like a ROMEO or PETRUCCI, but he doesn't. As for the lyrics, they're rather depressing and teenage-angsty but at least passable. The overall production is decent, except that the bass drum seems to clip in places (such as on "Ever Dream".

The opening song is very evocative of the opening from Stratovarius' album Destiny--in fact, they're very easy to confuse. Once you get into "Bless the Child," though, it does take on a distinctive style of its own.

The SYMPHONY X resemblance comes in heavy on "Dead to the World" with TUOMAS HOLOPAINEN taking on a keyboard stule that sounds a lot like PINNELLA and I keep expecting MICHAEL J. ROMEO to lay down some rapid-fire riffs here. The male vocalist (MARCO HIETALA?) shows up here. He's OK high-pitched, such as in the high part of the chorus where he sounds the most like Timo Kotipelto...I find myself thinking again of Destiny, most particularly the song Four Thousand Rainy Nights" . He also does decently on "Ever Dream".

"Slaying the Dreamer" is probably the best song on the album, and also the heaviest. In the middle section the "RUSSELL ALLEN" side of the male vocalist comes out, and he tries to do gruff, Odyssey-style vocals, but needs a lot of computer processing to pull it off. Still, it does work out well here, and this song is a clear success.

Unfortunately what comes after it is absolutely atrocious: "Forever Yours". GAG ME. This is NOT metal.and I should NOT hear a riff that resembles the Titanic theme song "My Heart Will Go On" so closely that one suspects plagiarism. Right down to the damn pennywhistle.

Things get better for the next songs, "Ocean Soul" and "Feel for You", where again the keyboards take on the pseudo-PINNELLA sound. I am trying to figure out exactly which song it is "Ocean Soul" reminds me so heavily of-it's either on The Divine Wings of Tragedy or Twilight on Olympus. It is extremely close to SYMPHONY X, though without the complexities, and more distinctly its own in the choruses. On "Feel for You", TARJA TURUNEN does much more delicate vocals, lending some variety to her technique not heretofore heard. Also, the distorted bassline makes the song distinctive. Unfortunately, the male vocalist mars this one some. However, that doesn't compare to the mess he makes of the next track...

On the cover of "The Phantom of the Opera," the male vocalist screws up badly and utterly wrecks a song I love--he tries to make his voice sound menacing and savage when he simply should not be singing in such a low register. Still, I must admit that musically-speaking, this is a pretty faithful cover, given how hard-edged the original is. I give credit to TURUNEN for understanding what's going on in the song better than some Broadway actors have--the final vocal exercise has a much creepier sound than I've heard on the Broadway versions, which fits considering that the character is being hypnotized at the time. Besides faithfully duplicating the organ, HOLOPAINEN does add a nice touch of his own in the second verse.

The album does end well, with "Beauty of the Beast". This song has a rich sound to the opening. Its bassline even starts to remind me of a slower version of something that DREAM THEATER's JOHN MYUNG did on their early album Images and Words. The album concludes with a satisfying reprise of the opening theme from "Bless the Child."

Still, the overall feeling I get after finishing this is that there are so many things it could have been, yet it falls short. It could have been more epically symphonic like SYMPHONY X or even the S & M collaboration between Metallica and Michael Kamen. It could have been straight power-metal like Stratovarius with Timo Kotipelto handling the male vocals and sticking to the ranges he sings in best. But for all of these, there were parts of the album where it got close but simply did not live up to quite that standard. I may give the band one more chance sometime since I've been told by NIGHTWISH fans that Century Child is not their strongest effort. Still, it's not high on my priority list; I was a bit disappointed. But since the good outweighs the bad, I give it 3 stars...but still, some of the other albums I've given 3 stars I consider better than Century Child.

FloydWright | 3/5 |


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