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Nightwish Century Child album cover
3.35 | 152 ratings | 16 reviews | 16% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Bless the Child (6:12)
2. End of All Hope (3:55)
3. Dead to the World (4:19)
4. Ever Dream (4:43)
5. Slaying the Dreamer (4:31)
6. Forever Yours (3:50)
7. Ocean Soul (4:14)
8. Feel for You (3:55)
9. The Phantom of the Opera (4:10)
10. Beauty of the Beast (10:24) :
- a) Long Lost Love
- b) One More Night to Live
- c) Christabel

Total Time 50:13

Bonus track on 2002 Japanese release:
11. The Wayfarer (3:23)

Line-up / Musicians

- Tarja Turunen / vocals
- Emppu Vuorinen / guitars
- Tuomas Holopainen / keyboards, piano, co-producer
- Marco Hietala / bass, vocals
- Jukka Nevalainen / drums

- Kristiina Ilmonen / tin whistle (6)
- Veijo Laine / orchestral, chorus & percussion arrangements, orchestration & producing (1,4,6,8,10)
- Riku Niemi / orchestral, chorus & percussion arrangements, orchestration, producing & conducting (1,4,6,8,10)
- The GME Choir / additional Möykkä vocals
- Hilkka Kangasniemi / choir master
- The Joensuu City Orchestra (1,4,6,8,10)
- Juha Ikonen / orchestra leader
- Mongo Aaltonen / orchestral percussion
- Sam Hardwick / dead boy's voice

Releases information

Artwork: Markus Mayer

CD Spinefarm Records - SPI149CD (2002, Finland)
CD Toy's Factory ‎- TFCK-87287 (2002, Japan) With a bonus track

2LP Back On Black ‎- BOBV008DPD (2004, UK)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy NIGHTWISH Century Child Music

NIGHTWISH Century Child ratings distribution

(152 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(16%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

NIGHTWISH Century Child reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars A night at the opera

"Century's child" is Nightwish's fourth studio album, excluding compilations and "interim" releases. It has a slightly harder edge than their previous works. The orchestration is generally less up front, replaced in part at least by some excellent guitar.

There's still the usual mix of symphonic prog metal and softer ballads. Tarja Turanen's sensational operatic vocals are still here of course, and there still plenty of orchestrated pomposity. In many ways, the album is constantly building towards its wonderful climactic conclusion. That conclusion starts with the penultimate track, a magical reworking of Lloyd-Webber/Rice's "Phantom of the opera" (no really!). Those who know the music of Nightwish will appreciate just how appropriate this track is for the band, and will be able to create a mental vision of the track even before hearing it. It is slightly speeded up from the stage show version, but otherwise faithful, including a fine male/female vocal duet.

The final track, "Beauty of the beast" is where it all comes together. The song is a 10 minute masterpiece in three parts. Those three parts fit together seamlessly to form a complete piece. The extra space offered by the track allows Emppu Vuorinen to slip in some fine guitar work. There still plenty of orchestration, and dramatic vocalisations, which cumulate in the fading refrain.

As ever with Nightwish, the sleeve design is imaginative and beautiful, I would probably have been lured into buying the album whether or not the music was worthy! As it happens, the music is more than worthy, completing a highly recommended package.

Review by semismart
4 stars From an AMERICAN perspective, the most widely known and loved of the symphonic and other variations of Progressive music practitioners from EUROPE, is Finnish band, Nightwish

Born in 1997 in Kitee, Finland, Nightwish was the brainchild of Tiomas Holopainen. Initially an acoustic format was planned, however after adding the inimitable operatic style vocalist, Tarja Turunen a new direction was needed. He decided on following in the footsteps of the Gathering and Lacuna Coil (goth- influenced "symphonic" metal bands with female vocalists) and soon added full metal- band instrumentation in the persons of guitarist Emppo Vuorinen, bassist Sami Vänskä, and drummer Jukka Nevalainen.

This has turned out to be a recipe for success and fame as Nightwish quickly turned out four excellent albums; Angels Fall First, Oceanborn, Wishmaster and Century Child

"Bless The Child"

"I was born amidst the purple waterfalls. I was weak, yet not unblessed. Dead to the world. Alive for the journey. One night I dreamt a white rose withering, a newborn drowning a lifetime loneliness. I dreamt all my future. Relived my past. And witnessed the beauty of the beast"

"Bless the Child", 6:12, Very symphonic and orchestral, along with crunchy guitars and Tarja's powerful vocals , the structure of the song is difficult to put into words, atmospheric, symphonic, heavy, melodic, fabulous, majestic. "End Of All Hope"

"It is the end of all hope To lose the child, the faith To end all the innocence To be someone like me This is the birth of all hope To have what I once had This life unforgiven It will end with a birth"

"End of all Hope", 3:55, is a typical NIGHTWISH-track, symphonic and Power Metallic, similar to music on Wishmaster or Oceanborn

"Dead To The World", 4:19, the first song with Marco Hietala's voice. Takes a little to get used to, but Marco has a very pleasing voice, rather mid-pitched, contrasting and complimenting with the voice of Tarja. The music on this song is lush orchestral, grandiose, and complex.

"Ever Dream", 4:44, begins with Nightwishe's patented intro and refrain. reminds one of songs on previous albums but they were good, so this is good

"Slaying The Dreamer"

"I'm a priest for the poorest sacrifice I'm but a raft in a sea of sorrow and greed You bathed in my wine Drank from my cup, mocked my rhyme Your slit tongues licked my aching wounds"

"Slaying the Dreamer", 4:31, for the first thity seconds you'd think you were listening to Megadeth. Even when Tarja starts singing the similarities remain. This is heavy metal with symphonic passages, very, very interesting.

"Forever Yours"

"Fare thee well, little broken heart Downcast eyes, lifetime loneliness

Whatever walks in my heart will walk alone

Constant longing for the perfect soul Unwashed scenery forever gone

No love left in me No eyes to see the heaven beside me My time is yet to come So I'll be forever yours"

"Forever Yours", 3:50, is a pretty ballad that many people would like but I found, soupy.

"Ocean Soul"

"One more night To bear this nightmare What more do I have to say

Crying for me was never worth a tear My lonely soul is only filled with fear"

"Ocean Soul", 4:14, picks up the pace a little but I'm afraid not the interest level much.

"Feel For You"

"You were my first love The earth moving under me Bedroom scent, beauty ardent Distant shiver, heaven sent"

"Feel For You", 3:54, a medium to medium slow number with a great Nightwish feel and dramatic structure, with brilliant vocals of Tarja and Marco, excellent orchestration, exceptional!

"Phantom of the Opera", 4:10, a very nice version of "Phantom Of The Opera". If Nightwish was going to do a cover, this is a great choice, for this song almost seems to have been written for this band, Tarja and Marco duel themselves vocally that it is pure ecstasy.

"Beauty Of The Beast"

"Long Lost Love

Trees have dropped their leaves, Clouds their waters All this burden is killing me

Distance is covering your way, Tears your memory All this beauty is killing me"

"Beauty and the Beast", 10:21, oh, how I like long epic songs and this is a dandy. This song is highly bombastic and symphonic, with lush orchestration, just a grandiose masterpiece!


Nightwish is probably the most well known and loved femme fronted symphonic metal band in America, despite the fact they are from Finland. Although they are not my ultimate personal favorite in this Sub-genre, there is no dispute in my mind that this group is the top such group around. They are a prodigious and prolific talent that I cannot help but admire.

If you enjoy any form of progressive rock / metal including Gothique, you must give them a try. Also if you enjoy. Enya, Yanni, Loreena McKennitt, I would recommend Nightwish.

Similar Artists

Therion, Within Temptation, Edenbridge, Visions of Atlantis, Artrosis

Review by FloydWright
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.

Review by russellk
3 stars The welcome addition of MARCO HIETALA on bass (and occasional vocals) reinvigorated NIGHTWISH. Their previous studio album, 'Wishmaster', was less than it ought to have been, and they compounded this error by trying to capitalise on the admittedly excellent song 'Over The Hills and Far Away' by packaging it with live material and flogging it as a full album. What they needed was some strong material, and HIETALA helped them provide it.

Simply put, this album contains songs that are sonically larger than those of their peers. Enormous, in fact. The louder you play them the better they get. Their brand of symphonic metal relied much less on ridiculous soloing or cheesy power chords and much more on melody and restraint (well, in the context of the genre, anyway). Their meticulous production gives the music tremendous depth: just listen to the exhilarating opening to 'End of All Hope': they exploit the limitless possibilities of TURUNEN's voice, supporting it with solid playing and majestic stabbing chords that suggest DVORAK or MAHLER as much as anything from the metal pantheon. Not for a moment do they sound like they are making noise for the sake of it.

Of course, I'm not for a moment comparing NIGHTWISH to the masters of nineteenth century classical music. I'm merely giving you an idea of how this music is flavoured.

As with all NIGHTWISH albums, the songs are of variable quality. There are tracks of such quality that, were they all of this level, 'Century Child' would be a five-star album - or, taking other tracks (such as 'Dead To The World'), a two-star album. HIETALA is feeling his way throughout the album; it seems that the band doesn't yet know what to do with his voice, employing him mainly as a 'clean' vocalist.

The treat here is the conclusion to the album. NIGHTWISH do a splendid, menacing rendition of 'Phantom of the Opera', which acts as a prelude to their first true epic, 'Beauty of the Beast'. While the fans may not agree, this is what they were born to do: longer tracks with a 'soundtrack' feel.

A good album, building towards something great.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Stick with the live shows unless a certified fan

Nightwish is one of those guilty pleasure bands that is almost impossible not to like even if you question their inclusion as progressive..anything. Occasionally the cheese factor can be very high but once hooked by the unique vocals, like a car crash it can be hard to look away. I came to know Nightwish by watching their live DVDs before listening to their studio albums. After watching their very good live act, the studio album becomes quite a deflating experience. In the live setting this band is extremely engaging and entertaining, their considerable power is breathtaking to behold. Those attributes do not transfer adequately to "Century Child." The songs here seem to suffer death by production. The album is so over-produced that it sounds almost mechanical, the guitar/bass/drums fused into a single wall of sound. Impressive in one way as Russell mentioned, by the fact that this album does sound better the louder you play it. But the real spark in the individual's personal performances are all but drowned. It's really difficult for me to appreciate the material in the confines of this production, the sameness of the sound, the relative coldness. I would like to hear more of an organic warmth like that which comes through live. Even Tarja's passionate singing seems oddly constricted by the album's sound, except on tracks like "Forever Yours" where the band is toned way down. The keyboard sound is dreadfully sugary. The best moment is the long closer "Beauty of the Beast" which is undeniably effective with its wider variety of sound.interesting parts, orchestration, thematic drama. If only the whole album were at that level it would help overcome the homogeneous sound. I would suggest that the two live DVDs are where the real mojo of Nightwish resides and that you should check them out even if you are a bit underwhelmed by the studio albums. They are fun whether you consider them progressive or not. 2 ½ stars and mostly of interest to fans.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars The more I listen to "Nightwish", the more I feel that their music is closely related to "Ayreon". While the latter is probably more guitar oriented, the former is using more keyboards sounds, which probably can suggest a proggier approach (to be determined).

The daunting voice from Tarja Turunen is definitely a distinctive characteristic. Very little band (if any) can count on such a special "organ". Still, if one listens to several "Nightwish" albums in a row, this superb asset can become somewhat monochord.

The songs featured on this album, are close to the rock-opera sounds; and I have more the impression to listen to a (metal?rock) musical than a standard album. Don't get me wrong: the music is well crafted and powerful, the band is quite well surrounded by the orchestra. But too few songs really appeal to me. Very few moments do I have to say: gosh!

The heavy parts of a song like "Slaying The Dreamer" just leave me totally cold and alien to this type of music. Pure heavy metal for most of the song; press next to avoid indigestion. The weak "Feel For You" is not a great moment either. Flat and predictable.

The contrast with "Forever Yours" is quite brutal: this one is a soft folk rock composition closer to the sweet "Mostly Autumn" and I have to admit that this is not to dislike me. "Ocean Soul" is another bombastic rock ballad. Fine to break the global atmosphere for sure.

Most of the compositions are on the short edge (except a couple of songs). One of my fave is their interpretation of the title track of the West End / Broadway musical "Phantom Of The Opera". Powerful rendition (no wonder) but is this what we should expect from this sort of band? A cover of a musical?

The mini epic and closing track saves the bill and brings the album into good territories (from average). Some more passion, a deep bombastic feel, theme changes and not too many metal lines. A very good combination after all.

Three stars for this album. An improvement in comparison with their prior "Wishmaster".

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars Nightwish´s fourth studio album was the first to introduce their current bassist/second vocalist Marco Hietala (ex Synergy and Tarot). It is also their less inspired and less satisfying album so far. After the extraordinaire success of their masterpiece Oceanborn (1998) and a very fine follow up (Wishmaster from 2000), it seems the pressure was to much and the band seemed to be treading water. Surely the demands for live shows all over the world and the expectations for an equally good third album was a bit too much, Fortunately, the group´s next work (2004´s Once) would prove to be one of their very best and would put things back on track. But at the time it seems that the band was running out of ideas, both musically and lyrically.

No that Century Child is a bad album. Not at all. It has some nice tracks all around and the performances are very professional. It is just that everybody was expecting something outstanding and clearly this one was not. I see it now as a transitional album, It was no t only the first CD to feature Hietala as bassist and his heavy, raw vocals interventions were a perfect match to counterbalance Tarja Tarunen´s clean, operatic voice, but also it was the first time the band used real strings on five tracks. Until then, for budget reasons, they had to rely on synthesizers for orchestrations. The results were promising. They would be better if the songs were stronger, but again the Follow up Once would prove they were on the right path. However, the musical press in general was not in a forgiving mood at the time and Century Child was heavily criticized when it came out. A bit unfair, I´d say, but the sales were good, proving the band already had a very loyal following.

Although nowadays I find some fine moments on this album, it is still their weakest effort up to this date. Overall the songs sound like a rehash of their previous ones and there are few moments when the band really click: the ten minute suite, Beauty And The Beast, that closes the album, is the strongest cut musically, although that that theme was already worked by songwriter/keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen on the bands debut album, Angels Fall First (1997). The decision to record for the first time a cover song (Andrew Lloyd Weber´s classic The Phantom Of The Opera) only enhanced the idea the band was short of original ideas. Besides, Austrian band Dreams of Sanity had already done a much stronger version of the same song just a couple of years before.

But as we say of the great, innovative groups that are around, even their least convincing product is better than a lot of other´s finest. And this is surely the case. it is a minor work but it is still good. Not a good starting point for a newbie, but surely stands well side by side of Nightwish´s greater stuff.

Rating: 3 stars. Good, but not essential.

Review by Menswear
3 stars Guilty pleasure #1

Now that the trend is gone, I can appreciate this record without all the hype. Yes, the metal opera fashion is almost gone, peaking in the early 2000's, introducing the genre to legions of teenage girls with fat eyeliner, broken hearts and black hoodies. And I do feel guilty because the trend is so passé, but also because it's so over-the-top...please don't judge me. You like it too.

But Nightwish is doing it so well, why resisting?

Nightwish is indeed a beacon in this repertoire. They've survived many trials that would've killed more than one band: change of singers, change of bass players, change of managing, ego wars, inner fights, lack of communication for long periods and finally the tense mechanics of 4 guys and only 1 woman. That is a heavy sheet of problems, but they seemed to pull out quite well, as long as Holopainen keep the songs fresh and inspired (which seemed to lack in recent delivery).

Anyway, Century Child is a powerful meal of astonishing vocals by Tarja, crunchy guitars (more up front), me-so-sad lyrics and catchy hooks done in a refined but modest way. Give those ideas to Dream Theater for instance and you'll get a much more complex cookie. They are not the best players around (indeed the limitations are obvious), but it's nonetheless a pleasant experience, cheesy and corny at times I must admit. Snatch off stars for lack of complexity, redundancy...and steampunk costumes (*snickers*)

Not as good as Oceanborn (their most honest effort) but look for Beauty of the Beast, the title song and the Lloyd Webber cover all done with panache.

Latest members reviews

2 stars With the departure of "Sami Vänskä," the bassist for the arrival of "Marco Hietala," which would also have stakes in the vocals, the first perception was that the band had become heavier, at least this was the first impression last song on the album, "Bless the child". The music itself does ... (read more)

Report this review (#745259) | Posted by Vobiscum | Friday, April 27, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Great Nightwish album, maybe their best effort. Heavier and much more complex Most prog elements than Wishmaster, and so much variety of sounds.. Good symphonic keyboards, and nice operatic Mezzo-Soprano voice by Tarja Maybe is not too progressive, but this album have great instrumental passage ... (read more)

Report this review (#172058) | Posted by Kurpij | Friday, May 23, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Why do I get the impression that I heard this before? Because "Century Child" is an "Onceanborn" - remastered version. Unlike the 1998 release this album has a far better production:loud guitar riffs, more natural keys and true drums. However the melodies don't seem to match the level of productio ... (read more)

Report this review (#140844) | Posted by Zarec | Friday, September 28, 2007 | Review Permanlink

1 stars I never considered Nightwish prog, and I probably never will. I also can't admit that their operatic metal style really impressed me all too much. However, I was drawn into the band by the beautiful vocals of Tarja and became a moderate fan. However, excluding the impressive closing effort, "Bea ... (read more)

Report this review (#129139) | Posted by Equality 7-2521 | Wednesday, July 18, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is Nightwish's fourth studio record and is the best album IMO but best is too overused!!!. Unlike the previous I have heard this album is more harder sounding, Orchestra is less of a role here and is stepped aside with some good guitar work. A mix of Prog Metal, Symphonic and softe ... (read more)

Report this review (#66699) | Posted by craig4 | Wednesday, January 25, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars After the outstanding album "Wishmaster", I was expecting for the next Nightwish album another masterpiece. Knowing that Marco Hietala (from Tarot - a great straightforward metal band) had joined the band, I was even more confident. But what a disappointment! Half of the songs are still great, ... (read more)

Report this review (#65748) | Posted by zaxx | Friday, January 20, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Century Child what can be said? it is a stunning album and it was the first album i ever bought of nightwish's in 2002and then other people bought it only because Once! most people would class Once as the best album but arguably i would have to say the best album is hands down Century Child. J ... (read more)

Report this review (#55620) | Posted by | Wednesday, November 9, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "Century Child" is the best progressive metal album after "Once". From the beginning the track "Bless the Child" kicks you right away. Continuously, track after track bombarded your stereo with high speed and melodious compositions. What a joyride! It feels like you riding a storm and never want t ... (read more)

Report this review (#33356) | Posted by | Monday, December 13, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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