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Nightwish - Once CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.63 | 189 ratings

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4 stars 9/10

I apologise for the length of this one but I felt nothing shorter could do this at times wonderful album justice. Great use of the London Orchestra also!

Dark Chest Of Wonders: fast, edgy and loud. Vintage Nightwish. Some interesting experimental bits including the Rasputin Effect in the middle (just when you think it's dead.) 7/10

I Wish I Had An Angel: takes a bit of getting used to but once you do, it's fantastic. Tarja sings the verse and Marco the chorus. More religious images (as you may guess from the title. The line "I wish I had and angel, your Vigin Mary undone" caused a certain bit of eyebrow rising. Wonderful haunting bit of wind instrument playing in the middle and Tarja's backup to Marco's singing later on in wonderful. Say what you like but the woman can really sing, even if Marco sounds like his vocal chords are being torn out near the end. 9/10

Nemo: one of my favourites. Beautiful song, fantastic finish, a worthy Rasputin in the middle/end, all over a great performance. 10/10

Planet Hell: starts off with an ominous beat, only a beat and the voices with a steadily growing melody line behind it. It wouldn't be altogether out of place as a theme tune to a Batman movie- or some other slightly dark film based ona comic, visions of dark alleys and cityscapes for some reason. Then it really goes bananas before Marco starts with the first verse. Then Tarja and...we're into another Nightwish song. You can tell it's Nightwish, it just has that feel. Louder and more in your face then much of their other stuff. And Marco sounds suitably evil in his one rowled 'talky' line. 7.5/10

Creek Mary's Blood: one of my favourites and one of the two highlights of this album. Starts with male chanting and some sort of woodwind instrument- pipes. Then the beautiful, deceptively simple melody. The story of the massacres and cruelties of so-called 'ethnic cleansing', including a reference to the Trail of Tears, the 'Nunna daul Tsuny' where over 4000 Cherokee Indians died of starvation and exposure on a cruel 1000 mile forced 'removal' from Georgia in winter of 1835. Simply beautiful. Long one, over eight minutes. 10/10

Dead Gardens: hmm.rather like Romanticide and The Siren.and to a lesser extent Planet Hell and even Dark Chest of Wonders. 5,5/10 for repetitiveness.

Romanticide: a slightly discordant psychotic opener leaves you going 'wow, what just happened?' Then Tarja sounding amazingly clear and tuneful considering she's only moving slightly slower then a full-out rap. Definitely not my favourite, but still worth a listen. Maybe it takes a few listens before it pulls you in. Another talky in the middle, with Marco's voice growling out, low and fast-rather like as in 'The Kinslayer' 5.5/10

Ghost Love Score: what can I say.sitting there with my mouth open. Beautiful, beautiful sound. Epic, sweeping, fantastic. Parts of it is the sort of music they could have played in LOTR as the camera pans over the mountains and across the valleys of Middle Earth. Opener lasts over a minute before there's any singing but it amazingly doesn't drag. In fact, when the singing DOES start for the first couple of lines I found myself saying 'Go away Tarja,I'm listening to the music. Then the harmonies start I could babble for the full 9+ mins that this song lasts so I'll stop now (and go back to listening to it!). Listen to the chorus ("My fall will be for you.") just once and I DARE you not to be enraptured! One thing I don't altogether like about Nightwish is the often rather teen-angst lyrics. Sometimes it seems like the lyricist is about two inches from jumping over a cliff-but for this it really works. The music and words interweave beautifully. 20/10

Higher The Hope: starts with an almost medieval/renaissance sound-think 'Greensleeves' only more complex. Then the stressed metal blasts in. And is pulled back into the background so Tarja's beautiful voice can be heard. Not my favourite one-bit unnecessarily angsty, but still a damn good track. What's with the random talking in the middle of the song? It's something they do a lot, I've noticed. It works sometimes but it can very easily be overdone. 6/10

The thing I like about Nightwish is that even many of their less-good songs are still as good or better then much of the other stuff out there. WHY must the radios insist on playing Britney and Christina and interminable boybands when THIS is around? And why is Ireland seemingly the only European country that they don't play in? Lyrics can be a bit adolescent but music rarely below amazing. Very talented and hard to pigeonhole band. Having listened to later albums, I'd suggest they mature as they go, if that's thee right word, but this has some wonderful pieces- Creek Mary's Blood, Nemo, Ghost Love Score and Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan in particular. IF you want a really wide ranging taste of all their stuff try the Best of- the latest album, and last with Tarja singing. (Highest Hopes, The Best of Nightwish, 2005). 9/10

| 4/5 |


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