Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography



Progressive Metal

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Nightwish Angels Fall First album cover
3.50 | 154 ratings | 18 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 1997

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Elvenpath (4:38)
2. Beauty and the Beast (6:22)
3. The Carpenter (5:56)
4. Astral Romance (5:11)
5. Angels Fall First (5:34)
6. Tutankhamen (5:30)
7. Nymphomaniac Fantasia (4:45)
8. Know Why the Nightgale Sings (4:13)
9. Lappi (Lapland) (9:20) :
- i. Erämaajärvi (2:15)
- ii. Witchdrums (1:19)
- iii. This Moment Is Eternity (3:12)
- iv. Etiäinen (2:34)

Total Time 51:29

Bonus track on 2002 remaster:
10. A Return to the Sea (5:45)

Line-up / Musicians

- Tarja Turunen / vocals
- Emppu Vuorinen / electric & acoustic guitars, bass
- Tuomas Holopainen / synthesizers, vocals, co-producer
- Jukka Nevalainen / drums, percussion

- Esa Lehtinen / flutes
- Tero Kinnunen / co-arranger, mixing

Releases information

Artwork: Garry Black (photo)

CD Spinefarm Records ‎- SPI47CD (1997, Finland)
CD Spinefarm Records ‎- 066 878-2 (2002, Europe) Remastered by Mika Jussila with a bonus track

LP Vinyl Collectors ‎- VC 005 (1999, Netherlands)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy NIGHTWISH Angels Fall First Music

NIGHTWISH Angels Fall First ratings distribution

(154 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (41%)
Collectors/fans only (14%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

NIGHTWISH Angels Fall First reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Symphonic Progressive Metal

I've just got the CD version of this album two weeks ago. Quite funny for me as I praised the band with their later albums but I never heard their debut album. In fact, I was actually had a BIG doubt as whether or not this is a good album of prog or just another power metal music. I did not open the seal - because I still had other CDs as top priority to spin - until one day it struck me when I wanted some "change" from typical symphonic prog vein to something that I thought would be a head-banging stuff. And, I always have a certain "ritual" in opening a CD seal: it must be during the night when most people are already asleep, while sipping a cup of black coffee or capucino and unseal the CD carefully .sssrrrttt .. Take off the disc, put it on CD player and play! Then, open the CD sleeve and while reading it I enjoy the music produced from a pair of B&W speaker. JRENG! Ghuzzz ..!! I was damn surprised with the opening tune that blasted off my room .Wow man .. Fantastic opening!!! (I don't know why, my CD has "Elvenpath" as the opener - it's different with what the track list of this site. "Beauty and The Best" is second in my CD. Mine is SPINEFARM also. Different version? Dunno and it does not matter .)

"Elvenpath" starts off with Tarja's narration followed by power metal music in a very tidy form and smooth style - characterized by a heavy riffs led by guitar in relatively fast tempo. Tarja voice enters in operatic style with power metal rhythm section. It's a very energetic opening. Well, I'm sure that this tune is suitable to wake you up in the morning as it has a very uplifting mood combined with firm beats in a very melodic style. The keyboard sometimes inserts its solo in symphonic way to accentuate the song. There is some guitar solo as well. Oh man . this opening track is terrific!

"Beauty And The Beast" kicks off with a symphonic keyboard and followed by power metal rhythm section while the melody is repeated at background. The music turns quiet but it suddenly followed with clavinet sound nicely. The male vocal starts the voice line followed with Tarja voice in duet. It's a very nice duet vocal with soft guitar riffs at background. The music shifts to a slower tempo with a growling narration by male vocal followed with nice guitar solo and then Tarja's voice. This slow tempo part is really excellent - especially with the inclusion of piano at the ending part. Again, it's another terrific [prog] metal track.

"Carpenter" brings the music into another venture where the band has incorporated flute-work (by Esa Lathinen - guest musician) al soloist during the interlude part. It has enriched the textures of the music especially when it is combined with keyboard work. Great composition!

"Astral Romance" opens with a guitar solo in ambient style followed by full music in slow rock vein. The tempo gradually increases into medium one in metal style. Tarja's voice in quiet passage has proven her powerful voice. Tuomas plays his keyboard in the intertwining with guitar riffs by Emppu. The music has a component of slow rock but it's blended in power metal style. Guitar solo combined with clavinet has produced a very satisfactory piece of music.

"Angels Fall First" starts mellow with a ballad acoustic guitar. Keyboard flows thinly at background and sets an atmosphere for Tarja to enter the music. The flute-work interjects in between operatic singing. Oh my God .. this is a very catchy piece of music! The flute man .. the flute!! Combined with thin keyboard sound at the back .. Oh . It's really killing me .. The vocal, the keyboard, the acoustic guitar, the flute .. all are excellent! You will definitely agree with me that this track is truly SUPERB! (No drumming here, only some timpani's sound to accentuate the song).

"Tutankhamen" starts beautifully with a combination of guitar, flute and keyboard sounds that blend nicely and produce excellent harmony music. Flute takes solo after in between vocal line. Keyboard still plays important role at the background to project the "symphonic" nuance. Guitar riffs still function as rhythm section. Bold ideas - incorporating flute in this track.

"Nymphomaniac Fantasia" starts ambient with acoustic guitar rhythm and flute augmented with keyboard sound. The intro sounds like a traditional music. The music turns colossal with the introduction of keyboard and followed by guitar that brings the music in crescendo with the entrance of Tarja's voice. At the first paragraph of the lyrics, Tarja sings in a long sustain high register note. Great voice! The music is also great. There are some beautiful transition pieces exploring keyboard sounds and excellent flute solo.

"Know Why the Nightingale Sings" is a power metal track in relatively fast tempo, characterized with guitar riffs. The music turns quieter when voice line enters.

The band's epic "...Lappi (Lapland)" is sectioned into four parts. It begins with a very nice acoustic guitar work followed with voice line. Flute plays beautifully while the Tarja sings. The music turns ambient in quiet mood containing only the keyboard sound and some smooth percussion sound. Tarja voice returns back augmented with soft guitar riffs at background. This is completely not a power metal track. I can smell the influence of classical as well as traditional / folk music. It's another superb track by the band. I'm sure that you will love this wonderfully crafted track! (My CD ends up with this epic as concluding track - there is no "A Return to The Sea" track).

It's a highly recommended album because it has an immaculate songwriting, tight & tidy composition, and great musicianship. The music has a variety of styles; incorporating flute in its majority of songs in the album with great riffs, symphonic keyboard exploration and catchy melodies. Keep on progging!

Yours progressively,

GW - Indonesia

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Starting out softly

This, Nightwish's debut album, gives only passing glimpses of what was to come on future albums. That is not to say it does not stand up in its own right, but it has little of the power and pomposity of their later work.

At the time of the album's release in 1997, the band members were still metaphorically in short trousers, with two of them in the army, and classically trained lead singer Tarja Turunen completing her University course. When the band formed, they were acoustically based, and this shows through in a number of the tracks here, especially the four part "Lappi" ("Lapland"). "Lappi" is nominally a nine minute concept track about that area of Scandinavia, sung in both Finnish and English. The track starts with stereo acoustic guitars backing a soft female vocal, the four parts building though ambient instrumentals, and power choruses before the atmospheric, Renaissance like ending. The track is far from the later signature works of the band, but it demonstrates their diversity well.

Elsewhere, the prog metal edge which Nightwish have made their trademark is seldom in evidence, the album as a whole having a softer feel than their subsequent albums. Tracks such as "Beauty and the beast" (almost seven minutes) "Astral romance", and "Nymphomaniac Fantasia" show the band's prog credentials well with time changes, strong guitar riffs, orchestral interludes, great lead guitar solos, flute pieces, operatic vocals and fantasy lyrics a plenty. "Carpenter", a quasi-religious piece which became an early single, is more in the power ballad mode, with some excellent flute by Esa Lathinen.

The instant success which the band enjoyed with this their debut release, particularly in their native Finland, is testimony to the strength and originality of the product. Their following album, "Oceanborn" would see them finding their real identity, while moving to the next level. "Angels fall first" represents an excellent first album, which may well appeal to those put off by their later symphonic prog metal albums.

Review by sean
4 stars So this is Nightwish's first attempt at making an album, and they quite a good job. It gives some hints of what is to come for the band, but there is also a strong acoustic element, which makes it interesting and differentiates it from their later albums. The music also has a very strong power metal feel, especially in tracks like "Elevenpath", a personal favourite of mine. The thing that differentiates Nightwish from other metal bands though is the vocals of Tarja Turunen, a classically trained opera singer. I don't know how progressive you could say this release is. The music is relatively simple, but it is progressive in the sense that they are doing something different, something which a lot of symphonic metal bands have since attempted to emulate. The most progressive song here would be the epic "Lappi (Lapland), which is about that area of Finland. My version also came with the bonus track "A Return to the Sea", a solid song but not their best.
Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Nightwish´s first album was really their second demo, when they were still finding their own sound. It was a transitional time from their acoustic roots to full power metal deliverance of the next release, the brilliant Oceanborn. As it is what seemed to be a rather undefined, directionless CD, turned out to be quite good. Ok, it does have a kind of umbalanced tracklist, but the songwriting and the preformances are very good, showing they were very talented and special from the very start. The chemistry between them is awesome. Tarja gave some interviews claiming she still didn´t know how to place her operatic voice within the band context at the time, but actually she is shining already, delivering a style that would set a path that dozens of other female singers would follow in the next few years.

The same cannot be said of Tuomas Holopainen: his voice is rather flat, sometimes even a bit offkey but he never claimed he wanted to be singing for real anyway. Since the recording was supposed to be only for a demo, he just did it because they had no one else around to sing the male parts. Fortunaltly he does not blow really them but there´d be better versions of Beauty And The Beast (recorded live) and Astral Romance (rerecorded in the studio for the Over The Hills and Far Away EP) both of which featuring Sonata Artica´s Tony Kakko dueting with Tarja. During this period the band had no bassplayer, so guitarrist Emppu Vuorinen had to handle that function himself.

Considering the fact that it was supposed to be only a demo the overall sound is great, thanks to the good production provided by Tero Kinnunen, the tight arrangements and the fact that Tuomas was already an outstanding songwriter. This transitional phase will please progheads more than metal fans, I guess. Their acoustic past is reflected on some tunes, like the beautiful title track and parts of the The Carpenter (both of which featuring guest appearance of Esa Lehtinen playing flutes). Know Why The Nightingale Sings on the other hand is like a blueprint of their future works.

Highlights are the first two tracks: Elvenpath and Beauty And The Beast, both powerful progmetal mini epics, and both bound to remain part of their live repertoire for a long time. Also of notice are Astral Romance and The Carpenter. Unfortunatly my edition of the CD has the last song cut off, omitting all but the the first part of Lappi, so I cannot coment about this suite, but the brazilian edition also contains two bonus tracks: the acoustic Once Upon A troubador and the more climatic A Return To The Sea.

Conclusion: not really the best starting point for the newbie, but an interesting picture of a band nearing its full potential fast. It also shows that Nightwish could be a great acoustic, folk-prog band if they wanted to. Their songs were quite unique from day one and they would eventually get the recognition they truly deserved in a short period of time. For progheads it shows this group was much more than just another progmetal band. Even if Angels Fall First was intended to be only a demo album likle I said before, this is a 3,5 to 4 stars affair, no less, at least prog-wise. They were that good. Highly recommended.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Angels Fall First is the debut studio album from Finland´s leading female led symphonic metal act Nightwish. For a short period of time I was very interested in power metal and as Nightwish has elements from that genre in their music ( the characteristic double bass drum parts and neo-classical choice of notes) I was also interested in them. I didn´t listen to Angels Fall First back then though and have only recently been introduced to the album.

After listening to Angels Fall First it´s no surprise that this album sounds pretty much like every other release from the band. Tuomas Holopainen´s symphonic/ neo-classical metal songwriting and Tarja Turunen´s opera vocals is as excellent on this debut as on any of the later releases from the band. Angels Fall First also has some obvious folk elements which are mostly heard in the quiet mellow parts with flute ( played by guest musician Esa Lethinen). All songs is of high compositional quality, but as on most releases from the band the music does become too trivial IMO. Songs like Elvenpath, Angels Fall First and Know Why the Nightingale Sings stand out for me and while all other songs are good as well, they just don ´t stand out as much.

The musicianship is excellent. Tuomas Holopainen is always worth a mention for his excellent compositional skills and his great keyboard playing. He should not sing though as he hasn´t got a very impressive vocal range. You can hear him sing on Beauty And the Beast ( which by the way is a good song) and Astral Romance. Tarja is a hard vocalist to match and he falls flat on his face when he tries.

The production is clean and even though it´s very polished it´s the most raw production the band has had so far.

From looking at the pictures in the booklet it´s very obvious that Nightwish were very young when they recorded Angels Fall First ( I compared the pictures to the pictures on Once. Wow what a difference) and if you remember this, it´s a very impressive album. For me it´s a big 3 star album. Very enjoyable when I´m in the mood, but it happens rarely.

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars I was dragged into "Nightwish" by one of my brothers who was dragged into the band by his fourteen years old girl (at the time). She wanted to attend one of their concerts and he went with her. He told me that I should consider this band: some sort of Purple affair with female vocals. So, here I go for my first "Nightwish" review.

As some of you might know, I can't be called a (prog) metal freak. I only very moderately appreciate the genre. The prog attribute being too many times as thin as a sheet of paper.

As soon as the opening number starts, I thought: hey, another "Ayreon". Not too bad: strong composition, bright interpretation and skilled musicians.

It is true that some passages are clearly melodic (some guitar during "Beauty & The Beast") and that the vocal performance of Tarja Turunen adds a special flavour to their music. This is probably my preferred song out here. Fine Oriental feel and aerial vocals.

One of the softer numbers (but not the best one featured) is "The Carpenter" which is showing Tuomas Holopainen on the lead vocals. I have to say that the band loses a lot of its originality only by this factor. While Tarja takes over after half time, it sounds immediately better. Nice and melodic finale to be honest (just as during "Astral Romance" and "Know Why the Nightingale Sings").

"Angels Fall First" starts as a symphonic prog tune: fine keyboards, nice acoustic guitar and very high pitched vocals by the lady in charge. It is indeed somewhat different from all those (prog) metal bands out there. Beautiful and soft fluting are extremely pleasant and the vocal performance is again captivating. This album is getting better and better.

The Middle-East influences are back again with "Tutankhamen" (no wonder with such a title?). Actually, this feel is shared during several tracks and it brings some fine touches to the music. Vocals are maybe a bit pompous though.

The closing mini-epic (just over nine minutes) is another interesting song: diverse and fully tolerable by my old ears. Fine acoustic intro, nice keyboards and surprising Finnish vocals: this part is full of delicacy should I say. But I have to admit that the whole of "Lappi" is fully symphonic prog. The highlight for a symphonic prog lover as I am.

In terms of rating, I would liked to give seven out of ten, but I upgrade it to four stars thanks to "Lappi". Not too bad a recommandation, dear brother (not John, but Jean-Luc).

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Nightwish at the present time became kind of self parody, but things haven't been like this all the time. Their debut (still with great operatic voice of Tarja Turunen) is good example of symphonic metal.

Don't you expect Therion-like complexity and arrangements. The music there is played and recorded in simpler way, but the combination of symphonic metal band with some Nordic folklore tunes and excellent operatic vocals for year 1997 works perfectly.

OK, if you will remove vocals, you just will have simpler than average heavy metal band with melodic and quite polished sound, very simplistic drumming, rich of synth sounds. But add there the voice - and the mix sound fresh and attractive ( at least for the time of release).

Unhappily, the band explored the formula founded till the last gram, and starting from some point every next album was just a bad copy of a previous one. And lot of clones all around didn't add much popularity to that sound, but as one of early example, this album has its value for sure (at least - historical).

Review by Menswear
2 stars Guilty Pleasure #3

Am I turning into a goth teenager with eyeliner and ? I hope not, times are tough when you're a goth, especially in the summer. Fall is here, winter is near and the taste for Nightwish is surely understood when serotonin is getting low. With Angels Fall First, I cannot say I'm not disappointed. This record makes you wonder WHAT happened between this one and Oceanborn?!? Like Genesis to Revelation with Trespass, when Dream and Day Unite with Images and Words or Caress of Steel with 2112, something *clicked* big time in Holopanien's brain between the releases.

Angels Fall First is clearly a try at metal operatic music, not sure if the celtic side should persist. We are here many winks at the Lord of the Rings and Disney movies, even sampling Bakshi's Lord of the Rings movie in Elvenpath. The songs are not as super carefully crafted as Oceanborn, they rather sound corny (like way corny) and less intense.

I'm not saying it's a bad record, just that the songs need more inspiration, but they were on the right track. Major downside: Tuomas singing is somewhat laughable. I couldn't resist chuckling out loud hearing is attempt in Beauty and the Beast or The Carpenter for instance. Wow, this is some truly bad vocals. Honest to god, some of the worst I've heard. Really cringe-worthy.

Angels Fall First? More like Angels Fall Flat.

Latest members reviews

2 stars Released in 1997, Angels Fall First is an impressive but flawed debut by Finnish symphonic metal superstars Nightwish. This first album did not actually yet squarely fall in the symphonic metal genre they will eventually help create, but it's rather a concoction of several different influences, incl ... (read more)

Report this review (#2545301) | Posted by lukretio | Tuesday, May 25, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars #34 Review For an album that the band leader said was a demo, and it shows because i don't think that his singing was part of the plan (since he doesn't sing good at all), it is overall a really solid first album that has many of the tropes that the group is known for. So, about me, what h ... (read more)

Report this review (#2219351) | Posted by FalconBleck | Friday, June 7, 2019 | Review Permanlink

2 stars 'Angels Fall First' is the 1997 debut album by Finnish symphonic metal group Nightwish, who would go on to become one of those most popular and prolific bands of the genre. Compared to later releases, however, 'Angels Fall First' sounds very raw, and at times, slightly disjointed and directi ... (read more)

Report this review (#2107750) | Posted by martindavey87 | Monday, December 17, 2018 | Review Permanlink

2 stars The symphonic rock is fallen. Ask any high school girl wearing black and you will notice that the modern meaning of symphonic rock is gothic metal. By the way, this gothic has nothing to do with Bauhaus. A gothic symphony for me is somehing like Nox Arcana. But it's okay, I respect this modern ... (read more)

Report this review (#1051871) | Posted by VOTOMS | Wednesday, October 2, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Most people who know my musical tastes know that I have very little love for many symphonic rock/metal groups. The primary reason is because they are either a rock band with tacked on symphonic elements or vice versa. However, one personal reason I dislike many of them is because they are so o ... (read more)

Report this review (#886449) | Posted by SpectralHorizons | Wednesday, January 2, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars With a beautiful picture for the cover, "Nightwish" released their first album. "Elvenpath" is a fanciful narrative with references to various mythical characters. The sound of the keyboard covering almost everything in the beginning of the song. The chorus with that sound so common to the "hea ... (read more)

Report this review (#745261) | Posted by Vobiscum | Friday, April 27, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars In the 90's, the symphonic metal genre, which was still in the stillborn phase, was only starting to take form, ever since Therion decided to loose the death metal scene and turn into an avante garde metal band with opera singers. Then, this album came out. And the rest is history. The symphoni ... (read more)

Report this review (#260553) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Tuesday, January 12, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Well... it's a bit hard for me to write a full review of any Nightwish album, because I always listen to about the half of the tracks on them... seriously, these tracks are average: I listened to them once or twice and I don't feel like listening to them again. BUT! Every Nightwish album has go ... (read more)

Report this review (#155175) | Posted by Primas | Tuesday, December 11, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars this is an awsome debut album for an extraordinary band and the only actually progressive one. this is one of my favorite records and thats weird cause its not completly metal. a 12 songs miracle of progressive rock. for all those who doubt that nightwish is rock you should really listen to ... (read more)

Report this review (#97936) | Posted by KAZ _152 | Thursday, November 9, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It seems strange to find one of my favorite bands here on a prog metal site, as Nightwish is more symphonic power metal than prog. However, it's great to be able to review this album here. What really makes this band special is the voice of Tarja Turunen. Really few bands have a singer like Ta ... (read more)

Report this review (#65715) | Posted by zaxx | Friday, January 20, 2006 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of NIGHTWISH "Angels Fall First"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.