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NIGHTWISH

Progressive Metal • Finland


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Nightwish biography
Finland's NIGHTWISH has founded a medium where pure angelic vocal beauty combines with rugged metal guitars, and where intricate keyboard arrangements team up with driving rhythms, creating a soaring stylistic mix. 2003's symphonic metal shining star Century Child has set the band upon a stunning adventure in crafting a unique and genre-defining sound.

Humbly begun in 1997 as keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen's, guitarist Emppu Vuorinen, and trained operatic vocalist Tarja Turunen's ill received acoustic project, they found balance when they added drummer and percussionist Jukka Nevalainen and opted replace acoustic with electric guitars. Entranced with their new identity, NIGHTWISH was quickly signed to Finland's premier label, Spinefarm. Debut "Angels Fall First" made a huge impression upon the scene thanks to its unique hybrid of sounds and styles, with much of the focus centering on the operatic and enigmatic singing of front woman Tarja. The initial offering was soon followed by the even more progressed and adventurous "Oceanborn", which stayed in the Finnish pop charts for over 30 weeks. At this time, they had three singles in the top 10. This success led to packed shows in Finland, and soon to continental European shows and ensuing success. The overseas reactions and a growing cult-like interest in the United States encouraged Century Media to sort out a licensing agreement securing their next studio output for domestic release, as well as the two back catalogue pieces so they could be appreciated by a wider audience. In 2000 the band released their third effort, "Wishmaster", immediately going platinum at home and selling well over 20,000 units in the U.S. with very little support or notoriety from the industry and promotional outlets.

The year 2002 was one filled with many successful events for the band. NIGHTWISH acquired bassist Marco Hietala (TAROT, SINERGY), who added another dimension to NIGHTWISH's enveloping sound. Marco, in addition to his commanding bass lines, contributes powerful male vocals. The band returned to long time recording home Finnvox Studios (STRATOVARIUS, CHILDREN OF BODOM, SENTENCED) to record drum tracks. They then moved to their hometown of Kitee, Finland to record guitars, bass and keyboards. In March 2002 they returned to Finnvox to record vocals, choirs and percussions, and to mix the album. What came out of these recording sessions is sheer magnificence. From the choral introduction of "Bless the Child," ...
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Buy NIGHTWISH Music


Decades (2 CD)Decades (2 CD)
Nuclear Blast 2018
Audio CD$11.99
Century ChildCentury Child
Extra tracks · Import
Universal Import 2002
Audio CD$5.59
$9.00 (used)
OceanbornOceanborn
Extra tracks
Spinefarm Records 2008
Audio CD$5.59
$2.49 (used)
Endless Forms Most BeautifulEndless Forms Most Beautiful
Import
Nuclear Blast America 2015
Audio CD$7.88
Over the Hills & Far AwayOver the Hills & Far Away
Import
Universal I.S. 2007
Audio CD$5.59
WishmasterWishmaster
Extra tracks
Spinefarm Records 2008
Audio CD$5.59
$4.15 (used)
Angels Fall FirstAngels Fall First
Extra tracks
Spinefarm Records 2008
Audio CD$5.59
$8.59 (used)
End Of An Era-Live (2CD)End Of An Era-Live (2CD)
Nuclear Blast America 2012
Audio CD$12.97
$12.14 (used)
Vehicle of Spirit (dvd)Vehicle of Spirit (dvd)
Nuclear Blast America 2017
Audio CD$20.77
$27.28 (used)
Vehicle of SpiritVehicle of Spirit
Nuclear Blast America 2017
Audio CD$23.39
$28.30 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Nightwish - Bye bye Belle MCD #42035 USD $2.92 Buy It Now 17m 59s
NIGHTWISH - IMAGINAERUM LIMITED DELUXE EDITION 2CD KOREA EDITION SEALED USD $23.99 Buy It Now 36m 49s
Nightwish - Wishmaster - CD (2007) Prog Metal Hard Rock (+ 3 BONUS TRACKS!!) USD $11.17 Buy It Now 2h 19m
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IVORY MOON 2007 CD - Human Nature - Nightwish/Amberian Dawn/Xandria - SEALED USD $8.49 Buy It Now 3h 38m
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Nightwish Showtime,Storytime Limited Edition Japan 2CD+2DVD MIZF-70021 New OBI USD $92.06 Buy It Now 8h 40m
Nightwish The Islander CD single (CD5 / 5") UK NB2119CD NUCLEAR BLAST Sealed USD $13.27 Buy It Now 9h 16m
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Endless Forms Most Beautiful by Nightwish (CD, Mar-2015, Nuclear Blast) USD $6.00 [0 bids]
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9h 43m
Nightwish - Angels Fall First (CD Used Like New) USD $11.74 Buy It Now 9h 52m
Nightwish Wish Box French CD Album Box Set 157812 XIII BIS RECORDS 2001 USD $118.12 Buy It Now 10h 24m
Nightwish Box-Set 2 2 CD album (Double CD) Finnish SPI196CD SPINEFARM Sealed USD $108.33 Buy It Now 10h 27m
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TUOMOS HOLOPAINEN (Nightwish) - 2006 Magazine Poster USD $6.29 Buy It Now 10h 58m
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11h 56m
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NIGHTWISH from wishes to eternity AT THE HILLS FAR AWAY DVD + CD USD $15.99 Buy It Now 12h 14m
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NIGHTWISH/Wishmaster (DRAKKAR 011+ BMG 74321 75819 2)CD Album USD $15.77 Buy It Now 16h 42m
Nightwish - Dark Passion Play [Bonus Disc] [Limited] (CD 2007 2 Discs) VG++ 9/10 USD $17.99 Buy It Now 20h 2m
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NIGHTWISH CENTURY CHILD CD PLATINUM DISC VINYL LP FREE SHIPPING TO U.K. USD $167.73 Buy It Now 1 day
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NIGHTWISH-ELAN (FRA) (10IN) 12` Single NEW USD $31.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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NIGHTWISH OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY CD SEALED MADE IN BRAZIL USD $33.99 Buy It Now 2 days
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NIGHTWISH-ONCE -JAPAN SHM-CD BONUS TRACK E50 USD $22.99 Buy It Now 2 days
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NIGHTWISH - ELAN VINYL LP SINGLE 10" LIMITED EDITION GREEN GATEFOLD VINYL NEW+ USD $25.40 Buy It Now 2 days
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2 days
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NIGHTWISH discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

NIGHTWISH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.62 | 128 ratings
Angels Fall First
1997
4.00 | 226 ratings
Oceanborn
1998
3.50 | 144 ratings
Wishmaster
2000
3.34 | 131 ratings
Century Child
2002
3.64 | 188 ratings
Once
2004
3.83 | 184 ratings
Dark Passion Play
2007
3.78 | 130 ratings
Imaginaerum
2011
3.06 | 13 ratings
Imaginaerum - The Score (OST)
2012
3.76 | 117 ratings
Endless Forms Most Beautiful
2015

NIGHTWISH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.86 | 14 ratings
From Wishes to Eternity
2001
4.27 | 51 ratings
End Of An Era
2006
2.93 | 18 ratings
Made In Hong Kong (And In Various Other Places)
2009
3.97 | 20 ratings
Showtime, Storytime
2013
5.00 | 1 ratings
Vehicle Of Spirit (Wembley Arena)
2017

NIGHTWISH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.23 | 17 ratings
From Wish to Eternity - Live
2001
2.57 | 9 ratings
End of Innocence
2003
3.00 | 3 ratings
Nemo
2004
3.00 | 5 ratings
Wish I Had an Angel
2004
4.00 | 3 ratings
Once
2006
3.40 | 5 ratings
Amaranth
2007
3.97 | 29 ratings
End of An Era
2007
2.80 | 5 ratings
Bye Bye Beautiful
2008
4.10 | 10 ratings
Showtime, Storytime
2013
4.50 | 2 ratings
Vehicle of Spirit
2016

NIGHTWISH Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 2 ratings
Golden Wishes
2001
3.57 | 5 ratings
1997 - 2001
2001
3.13 | 8 ratings
Tales From The Elvenpath
2004
3.76 | 24 ratings
Highest Hopes - The Best Of Nightwish
2005
2.50 | 2 ratings
Bestwishes
2005
3.00 | 1 ratings
Ballads of the Eclipse
2006
2.50 | 2 ratings
The Sound Of Nightwish Reborn
2008
2.95 | 2 ratings
Walking in the Air - The Greatest Ballads
2011
5.00 | 1 ratings
Endless forms most beautiful TOUR EDITION
2015
0.00 | 0 ratings
Decades
2018

NIGHTWISH Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.15 | 4 ratings
Demo
1996
2.91 | 5 ratings
The Carpenter
1997
4.00 | 6 ratings
Sacrament of Wilderness
1998
3.75 | 4 ratings
Passion and the Opera
1998
3.00 | 5 ratings
Walking In The Air
1999
2.94 | 7 ratings
Sleeping Sun (Four Ballads Of The Eclipse)
1999
2.61 | 9 ratings
Deep Silent Complete
2000
3.67 | 3 ratings
The Kinslayer
2000
3.00 | 1 ratings
Wishmastour 2000
2001
3.02 | 26 ratings
Over The Hills And Far Away
2001
3.50 | 7 ratings
Ever Dream
2002
3.73 | 13 ratings
Bless The Child
2002
3.90 | 11 ratings
Nemo
2004
2.68 | 13 ratings
Wish I Had An Angel
2004
3.32 | 7 ratings
Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan
2005
4.43 | 12 ratings
The Siren
2005
3.71 | 8 ratings
Sleeping Sun
2005
2.00 | 4 ratings
Erämaan viimeinen
2007
1.37 | 8 ratings
Amaranth
2007
1.07 | 7 ratings
Eva
2007
3.17 | 6 ratings
The Islander
2008
4.00 | 1 ratings
Dark Passion Play Instrumental Version
2008
2.80 | 5 ratings
Bye Bye Beautiful
2008
1.50 | 2 ratings
Amaranth
2009
3.20 | 5 ratings
The Crow, The Owl And The Dove
2012
3.67 | 3 ratings
Storytime
2012
3.43 | 7 ratings
Elan
2015
0.00 | 0 ratings
Endless Forms Most Beautiful
2015

NIGHTWISH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Dark Passion Play by NIGHTWISH album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.83 | 184 ratings

BUY
Dark Passion Play
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars While I believe that "Imaginaerum" was the ultimate expression of vocalist Annette's collaboration with NIGHTWISH, "Dark Passion Play" really laid the foundation for the new and more progressive metal style with accent on progressive. Here we find the band at times awkwardly morphing from balladeers to untamed wild, which dampens the impact of the nonetheless impressive opening epic and several other tracks. Growly vocals and chugging heavy guitars don't do much for me although I do appreciate the potency of cuts like "Whoever Brings the Night" when Annette sings. Of course ballads like "For the Heart I once had" and "Eva" are majestic. The trouble is that the band sometimes seems gripped with an irrational fear of becoming the CARPENTERS, so they crank up the generators and go full tilt, culminating in a betwixt and between blend.

Still, the Pip Williams conducted orchestra and the gospel choirs add gravitas and cinematic buzz to tracks like "Sahara". A guest appearance from piper Troy Donockley formerly of IONA, who later joined NIGHTWISH full time, injects a Celtic veracity to the Tull-like "The Islander", which offers an Anderson-like vocal performance from Marco Hietala. It even sounds like something KERRS PINK might have done in their less cluttered past incarnations. Donockley also splashes the exquisite closer "Meadows of Heaven" in which the band and Annette really appear to have fused.

As you can tell, I'm a bit mixed on this one but that's not to say there aren't plenty of passages that genuinely excite. Overall, it's a positive effort that just needed a few years to work out the kinks, which they did on "Imaginaerum". 3.5 stars rounded down.

 Oceanborn by NIGHTWISH album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.00 | 226 ratings

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Oceanborn
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Nightwish's best album

3.5 stars

"I'm listening to some super music right now"...

...said one of my best friends during my campus years. Intrigued, I immediately came to his room to check his affirmation, and... what an ear-shock! A female opera singer over a power metal song? What was this? Never heard that before! In my defence, at that time, I suppose many other people haven't either, as this was the album that really started it all...

Whereas the debut "Angels Fall First" was still hesitating in its approach and incorporated gothic touches, this second opus saws the band now fully assuming their lyrical heavy metal orientation by pushing its concept to the maximum. Both uncommon and refreshing in 1998, "Oceanborn" marries raging and energetic guitars though elaborated compositions with superb melodies, sometimes epic, sometimes melancholic, sublimed by Tarja Turunen's ethereal soprano voice. A classically trained female vocalist, bringing her talent and her 3 octaves range to this genre, was quite atypical at the time. Her crystalline interpretation literally carries the music to a whole new dimension, magic, enchanting, elegant, out of this world...

Not everything is perfect though. The disc contains some of the band's best tracks, but also less catchy passages.

The fast-paced "Stargazers" is a glorious heroic heavy metal opener that directly transport you into another place. Its dark interlude is beautiful. Completely different, the melodic mid-tempo "Gethseman" is tragic, even touching at times. However, my favorite tune is undoubtedly "Passion And The Opera". Epic and haunting, with Tarja's aerial vocalizations and a thrilling finale! The instrumental "Moondance" opens with piano and, supported by rocking guitars, possesses quite dancing folk vibes and numerous rhythm changes. A fairy tale... "The Riddler" is energetic and powerful, whereas "Walking In The Air" is a cover of "I'm Walking In The Air", from Howard Blake's 1982 film "The Snowman". NIGHTWISH's revisit is ethereal and floating...

As I said, some titles have less seduced me. The lyrical "Sacrament Of Wilderness" contains charming moments but is overall rather average. I'm not really fond of the two songs with Tapio Wilska - ex-singer of their fellow countrymen Finntroll - either. "Devil & The Deep Dark Ocean" is raging and oppressive, but fails to really lift off. Same goes for the "Stratovarius-esque" "The Pharaoh Sails To Orion", which includes pleasant Egyptian touches though. "Swanheart" is a melancholic and gracious ballad, but a bit soapy.

Anyway, "Oceanborn" remains an influential breakthrough album, paving the way for a new genre and for future female vocalists in the metal sphere. NIGHTWISH has now definitely crafted its own identity as well as its leadership. With this impacting second opus, the Finnishs impose themselves as one of the most important formation on the nascent revival scene at the end of the 90's and will gain international notoriety. Unfortunately, the later releases won't match the same level of quality and inspiration...

One of the best power/heavy metal with female singer record, and the one to start with if you're not familiar with NIGHTWISH. Fans of progressive metal will also appreciate the numerous ambiance changes within the tracks. A journey through a fairy tale suspended world...

 Wishmaster by NIGHTWISH album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.50 | 144 ratings

BUY
Wishmaster
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by Menswear
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Hamster! A dentist! Hard pawn! Steven Seagal! Warrior! This rifle! In me! The Whismaster!

Guilty Pleasure #4

Nightwish is not a band that changed much in almost 20 years. They don't go too far of what we known them for, and that's both a blessing and a curse: you know what you get but it's not thinking outside the box past Oceanborn. That's why you don't need a lot of their albums, and this one is definitely a good purchase. In the same vein as Oceanborn (but not as good), the key word here is catchiness. Lots and lots of hooks with colorful songs full of gothic imagery and lyrics to roll your eyes at (cheesy factory).

It's very entertaining and perfect for jogging (Wishmaster, Crownless, She is my Sin), this album will give you a quick jolt of energy wherever you're listening to it. Emmpu is killing on the guitar in this album, very good rhythmic and Malmsteen solos are welcome by the kid. Power metal beats and rumbling bass are also provided. But what is the band without Tarja and Tuomas? The more I think about it, the more I realize that this album was their golden age. The genre wasn't saturated by wannabes and they had a solid formula to exploit.

Thumbs down although for the ballads and the more than weird art cover. What were they going for? Pinocchio by the lake? Tom Sawyer praying by the Mississipi? A supplication to a flock of geese?

 Angels Fall First by NIGHTWISH album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.62 | 128 ratings

BUY
Angels Fall First
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by Menswear
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Oceanborn by NIGHTWISH album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.00 | 226 ratings

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Oceanborn
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by Menswear
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Guilty pleasure #2

Before they became such an 'image' band, Nightwish delivered a very solid staple with Oceanborn. Before the fights, before the egos, before the image took over the music, Oceanborn is THE overlooked album of the last 15 years in progressive metal. When they got to Century Child, they became a money-making band, leaving some of the art and selling out more. Shame.

Oceanborn is truly well crafted: catchy and yet honest neo-classical keys (Tuomas), stellar classical singing (Tarja) and Emppu is actually shredding in many places, before becoming an almost only rhythmic player. Everything here is in it's place, not too over the top, not too commercial.

A real, potent, applied effort with a band that seemed boiling with ideas at the times. Eclipsed by Metropolis II in '98 (seems like an eternity), it's THE album that don't feel like listening to the same song over and over again, THE album with the most thoughful melodies and frankly a general feel of cohesion...not just an image.

Straight out of Castlevania, a perfect blend of fog, dusk and lightning but with taste.

 Century Child by NIGHTWISH album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.34 | 131 ratings

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Century Child
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by Menswear
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Century Child by NIGHTWISH album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.34 | 131 ratings

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Century Child
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Imaginaerum by NIGHTWISH album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.78 | 130 ratings

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Imaginaerum
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars Every once in a great while a prog metal album earns my attention and eventually affection if not outright obsession. If I was to sketch out a template for an exemplary specimen in this sub genre, it would exclude growls but include male and female vox; be melodramatic and highly visual; juxtapose crunchy riffs with light catchy melodies; and of course include some concession to the folk idiom. It would sound a lot like "Imaginaerum" by NIGHTWISH. Of all these characteristics, it's their ability to transition over the top, even operatic vocals, heavy guitars and symphonic orchestration to tunes reminiscent of childhood nursery rhymes that completely wins me over. This deliberate lapse into nostalgia marks the fulfilment of the concept, and is just plain entertaining as well. It begins with the breathless "Storytime" and is eclipsed by the Celtified "I want my tears back", resuming on the schizophrenic "Rest Calm" and capped on the frenetic "Last Ride of the Day". Along the way are several more even tempered pieces like the languid jazzy "Slow Love Slow", the gorgeous "Turn Loose the Mermaids" and the even more sensitive "The Crow, The Owl and the Dove". At times the feverishness threatens to dampen the forehead, as in "Ghost River" and "Scaretale", but this remains a compelling work of the imagination that has also found a significant following in the prog world and beyond.

 Once by NIGHTWISH album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.64 | 188 ratings

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Once
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Nightwish, the Finnish band that uses a hard-riffing combination of power metal, opera, and stage musical delivers a solid but not outstanding release with Once.

Nightwish is that kind of band that sort of takes a special person to really love, mostly because they combine not one... but two power metal gimmicks: female-led vocals, and use of symphony to support the aggressive guitar- driven riffing. The result is a lush, sweeping, romantic, heavy metal, and incomparably cheesy experience. Once pulls this off better than a lot of other bands that use these two gimmicks, but doesn't do so without a few yawns in the mix.

First off, the good stuff: the musicianship on this album is first rate, and the symphony inclusions are actually quite smart. Unlike some metal bands which sort of just have the violins provide a counter-melody for the guitar players, Nightwish finds very creative and organic ways to make use of the full symphonic experience. The result is an exciting and very full sounding experience. At times, it really does feel more like the guitar and drums are accompanying the symphony. This gives the best parts of Once a feeling of gravitas that is unique and a lot of fun. There aren't much in the way of stand-out instrumental soloing, but the result of the compositions is strong and sweeps you up.

The writing is very hit and miss though. A few standout tracks like the massive opener, Dark Chest of Wonders, the highly nuanced and evocative Creek Mary's Blood, and the cinematic spectacle of Ghost Love Score are the clear standouts. The other tracks are largely forgettable, though their powerful melodies and moments are fun while they last. A few songs feel directionless when taken as a whole, or make easy choices and become more standard, 4-minute head bangers.

Finally, let's talk about the vocals. This is the last Nightwish album to feature vocalist Tarja Turunen. Read the reviews above and you'll see adjectives like "angelic," "beautiful," or "elegant," used to describe her voice. In my opinion, this is fanboy gushing. Her voice is demure and largely inflectionless, especially during the powerful moments. I'd take a less classically trained singer who could at least emote genuinely any time. Her voice is a unique part of the album that gives it a nice charm, but is definitely not a selling point, nor are the eye-rolling lyrics she sings. The male backing vocals, which are gruff and aggressive, are more appealing. Vocals are the second gimmick that just doesn't work for me here.

So even with a few marks against it, Nightwish's Once remains a worthy purchase for fans of power metal, and especially those seeking something especially theatrical and artsy. This isn't the place to begin listening to Nightwish though, I recommend the band's following two albums for that, which feature more interesting songs and better female vocals.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

 Oceanborn by NIGHTWISH album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.00 | 226 ratings

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Oceanborn
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by Quinino
Special Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

5 stars My ALL-TIME Greatest #13

After being so many years in a relative (big) ignorance of what was going on in the musical scene, my discovering PA sometime ago was like entering a treasure cave; by chance alone, one of the first bright riches to entice my attention was this curiosity of a band called Nightwish.
It crosses my mind that maybe I got then a bit dazzled by the sudden discovery, but justice be made, up until this day I keep on feeling great pleasure listening to most of their music, and in particular some of it is on this record.

Global Appraisal

Nightwish sound metal and/but melodic, powerful and grandiose, but above it all hovers the soprano lyrical voice of this phenomenon by the name of Tarja; with Tuomas operatic inspired keyboards it's what most characterizes this album, and as well all in this 1st phase until Tarja left.
In my personal db I rate with max five of the tracks and the others with no less than 4, but the main reason for my 'All-Time' choice is that WOW factor which hasn't faded with time.

Goodies

The above mentioned vocals and keys, surely, that make this one-of-a-kind band so appealing to me. Compositionwise have to be praised the beautiful melodies of the two outstanding ballads that close the album.

Thanks to [email protected] for the artist addition.

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