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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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Endless Forms Most Beautiful 2-disc mediabookEndless Forms Most Beautiful 2-disc mediabook
Nuclear Blast America 2015
Audio CD$6.96
$9.19 (used)
Century ChildCentury Child
Extra tracks · Import
Universal Import 2002
Audio CD$4.77
$19.19 (used)
OnceOnce
Extra tracks
Roadrunner Records 2004
Audio CD$6.64
$2.99 (used)
ImaginaerumImaginaerum
Roadrunner Records 2012
Audio CD$11.99
$7.27 (used)
Dark Passion PlayDark Passion Play
Roadrunner Records 2007
Audio CD$6.78
$4.44 (used)
OceanbornOceanborn
Extra tracks
Spinefarm Records 2008
Audio CD$4.99
$5.99 (used)
Showtime Storytime (2-cd/2 blu-ray)Showtime Storytime (2-cd/2 blu-ray)
Nuclear Blast America 2013
Audio CD$13.49
$13.48 (used)
WishmasterWishmaster
Extra tracks
Spinefarm Records 2008
Audio CD$4.99
$8.01 (used)
From Wishes to Eternity: LiveFrom Wishes to Eternity: Live
Multiple Formats · Import
Universal I.S. 2000
DVD$6.22
$6.73 (used)
Over the Hills & Far AwayOver the Hills & Far Away
Import
Universal I.S. 2007
Audio CD$4.99
$4.99 (used)
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NIGHTWISH shows & tickets


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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)

3.74 | 111 ratings
Angels Fall First
1997
3.99 | 198 ratings
Oceanborn
1998
3.47 | 127 ratings
Wishmaster
2000
3.38 | 118 ratings
Century Child
2002
3.65 | 174 ratings
Once
2004
3.85 | 169 ratings
Dark Passion Play
2007
3.74 | 115 ratings
Imaginaerum
2011
2.93 | 10 ratings
Imaginaerum: The Score
2012
3.83 | 102 ratings
Endless Forms Most Beautiful
2015

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

3.77 | 13 ratings
From Wishes to Eternity
2001
4.29 | 48 ratings
End Of An Era
2006
2.93 | 18 ratings
Made In Hong Kong (And In Various Other Places)
2009
3.88 | 14 ratings
Showtime, Storytime
2013

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

4.22 | 16 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
3.96 | 27 ratings
End of An Era
2007
2.80 | 5 ratings
Bye Bye Beautiful
2008
3.80 | 10 ratings
Showtime, Storytime
2013

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
3.75 | 23 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

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

3.17 | 3 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
2.92 | 4 ratings
Walking In The Air
1999
2.94 | 7 ratings
Sleeping Sun (Four Ballads Of The Eclipse)
1999
2.59 | 8 ratings
Deep Silent Complete
2000
3.67 | 3 ratings
The Kinslayer
2000
3.00 | 1 ratings
Wishmastour 2000
2001
3.01 | 25 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 | 3 ratings
Erämaan viimeinen
2007
1.37 | 8 ratings
Amaranth
2007
1.07 | 7 ratings
Eva
2007
3.17 | 6 ratings
The Islander
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
4.00 | 2 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
3.85 | 169 ratings

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Dark Passion Play
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Dark Passion Play is artistic power metal in the first degree, bursting at the seams with sweeping compositions, massive guitar riffs, orchestral flair, and a bit of camp. It'll delight prog-metal lovers and repulse everyone else... what more can you ask for!

The album opens with "Poet and the Pendulum", a 13-minute epic that pretty much defines the band's sound and takes you on a theatrical journey which throws together numerous tempo and mood changes, as well as a variety of vocalists and instrumentation. It's a huge song with irresistible hooks, riffs, and emotional bits; a killer track.

Nightwish is known in part for its feminine vocals, distinguishing it from other prog metal bands and providing a host of new textures and sounds to explore. Anette Olzon does a wonderful job throughout, though I don't think her voice is as beautiful or as prominent a component as some other reviewers. Because so much of her singing uses long sustains, it actually comes off as sounding bland. However, when paired against gruff, traditional metal vocals of Hietala - and especially when sung over the outstanding instrumentals, the overall effect is very enjoyable; more so than many other female-fronted metal bands out there. If you like metal, but are turned off by metal grunts and growls, you'll be pleased by Nightwish's combination of singers.

The orchestra is also well-implemented, providing emphasis, textures, and sometimes taking the spotlight to create drama and scope to the songs. As if the powerful guitar and bass weren't enough! The excellent drumming by Nevalainen completes the fully metal crushing that Nighwish accomplishes. However, one thing I appreciate a lot about Nightwish's songwriting is that they don't set the dial to 11 and leave it there. There is a lot of acoustic moments, and even some folksy diversions to keep the effect fresh and exciting. "The Islander" is the standout showcase of this style, a sea-shanty style song that does an amazing job of evoking the misty shores of Ireland with its celtic feel.

So, if you're into prog metal, and can stomach more than a bit of excess, you'll find a ton to like with Dark Passion Play.

Songwriting: 4 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 4 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

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 End of Innocence by NIGHTWISH album cover DVD/Video, 2003
2.57 | 9 ratings

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End of Innocence
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

2 stars My review is the second one for this documentary DVD, and quite the opposite to T. Moura's very kind - though not toothless - approach. I feel I terribly wasted nearly three hours of my life - no, less, because I really couldn't avoid using x16 speed here and there. Anyone knowing my music taste would ask why I chose to watch a Metal band documentary in the first place. I do have a (very tiny) interest towards NIGHTWISH's music, and I think I wasn't very wrong to hope for a better film.

It was on an artistic level of seedy bonus materials one usually finds on concert DVD's, where they are naturally shorter, just a little extra to please fans. Imagine over two hours of that. A messy salad of these ingredients: the retrospective talk by frontman Tuomas Holopainen and drummer Jukka Nevalainen - this stuff, filmed on a dim summer cottage, is more or less the main substance, cut into little pieces amidst everything else - ; silly backstage footage that confirmed my each and every prejudice of Heavy/Metal world's ridiculous rituals; low-quality concert clips; amateurish footage from tours all over the world; awkward inside jokes; and... well, that's basically all. Many a time someone says to the camera something like "This must not come into the DVD". Right. Nightwish had at this point released four albums, and was indeed too young and unmatured band to make so lengthy documentary about!

Anyway, I felt sympathy for Tuomas and his feelings. In the summer and autumn of 2001 he felt like having enough of it all, the heavy touring, too busy studio schedules, the alienating effect of success etc, and made a decision of breaking the band. After spending some time off in the majestic Northern Finnish landscapes he came to his senses. He confesses how he regrets his cowardice of not sacking the original bassist face to face. Apart from Tuomas's seriousness on his retrospective confessions (and Jukka's), everyone on this film is seen only from the phoney and brainless angle of show biz. The operatic soprano Tarja Turunen, who was later notoriously sacked by a public letter, seems quite a nice bandmate among wild Heavy Metal guys. And prettier at least.

There are plenty of extras too, but I don't consider them so interesting either. Two music videos, a photo gallery, MTV Brazil interview, a low-quality concert footage from Norway and Germany's Summer Breeze Festival 2002. I could rate this with one star on my personal reception, but for a die-hard fan this is undoubtedly a more precious look inside the band's early stages.

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 Endless Forms Most Beautiful by NIGHTWISH album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.83 | 102 ratings

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Endless Forms Most Beautiful
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by watcherofthesky

5 stars The first album with Floor Jansen ex after Forever. I listen an album solid, powerful, amazing production, melodic, heavier, excellent balance, an inspired Toumas, and an amazing Floor, the new Queen of Prog Metal. Much better than it's predecesores. My favourites songs: Weak Fantasy, Shudder Before.., Endless Forms.., Yours is an Empty Hope and the Epic The Greatest Show On Earth. Without Tarja, the sound maybe became less gothic but with Floor is more Prog. My Favourite Nightwish album, very recomended to fans of Metal Symphonic, Prog Metal, but if you are Tarja fan to die you maybe will be disappointed.

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 Endless Forms Most Beautiful by NIGHTWISH album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.83 | 102 ratings

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Endless Forms Most Beautiful
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by M27Barney

5 stars Just Like "Room V" by Shadow Gallery and "Scenes from a Memory" by Dream Theater this CD has introduced me to a new progressive metal band. And just like those two CD's I mentioned ? it has had a massive impact on me. I haven't heard any of the back catalogue ? so it should be fun sampling some of those in the next 12 months. Anyway, this CD ? almost certainly a must get CD because it is a lengthy concept, a full 78 minutes and I feel that it keeps its focus all the way through. I must admit to being pleased ? that finally a band has had the guts to base their concept on the theory of evolution! The epic is named after Richard Dawkins (Evolutionary Professor, who graduated from and lectured at Oxford University) book "The Greatest Show on Earth" ? and they even have Mr Dawkins Narrating on the CD (excellent touch I feel). I really like the vocals by Floor Jansen, the compositions are tight and the musicianship is good also.

This band sound like a cross between Shadow Gallery and Ayreon to me!

I love the mellotron, and general keyboards and the ambience at the end is Awesome!

I have to give this five stars for its audacity and great delivery, it might even get some faith-heads delving into some of mankind's better books (Like the "Extended Phenotype" by Mr Dawkins or "On the Origin of Species" ? one of the most important books ever written) ? forget the bible ? it's utter nonsense ? and get into Finnish Prog-Metal. PEACE.

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 Endless Forms Most Beautiful by NIGHTWISH album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.83 | 102 ratings

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Endless Forms Most Beautiful
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by javajeff

5 stars The first studio album with Floor Jansen is excellent. Other than her apparent beauty, she is a humble and classy gal in live performances that make her easy to appreciate as a person. She really gets to show off her voice in soft ballads and rocking metal, and she fits this band perfectly. While I appreciate the previous singers, this lineup may have just produced their best album to date. Endless Forms Most Beautiful has the classic Nightwish sound with epic tracks and hard hitting metal. If you like to have at least one long track on a favorite prog album, there is good news because "The Greatest Show On Earth" clocks in at 24 minutes. This album is a must buy for Nightwish fans and everyone else that likes metal and progressive music.

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 Oceanborn by NIGHTWISH album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.99 | 198 ratings

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Oceanborn
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by Terakonin

3 stars Nightwish's breakthrough album Oceanborn is a decent enough album, one that for me has only a few notable tracks, but no really bad ones. Nightwish's dramatic, fantasy-movie-soundtrack sound, flavoured with small amounts of Celtic and Finnish folk, is already evident on their second album and is much of what makes them a unique band.

Stargazers is a strong opener. With powerful keyboard and guitar riffs that fit the full, operatic vocals from Tarja Turunen, it helps truly define symphonic metal. (710)

Gethsemane, the following track is just as strong, opening with a chaotic guitar/keyboard interplay that changes into a dark backdrop for the soaring vocals before returning between each verse. A strong, heavy track with many layer, interspersed with softer synth-string sections. (7/10)

I find that you can take or leave the following three tracks - Devil & The Deep Dark Ocean, Sacrament Of Wilderness, and Passion And The Opera. However they are not bad tracks - to me they simply do not stand out. (All around 6/10)

Swanheart is more of a ballad, with a choir and piano. It features a violin solo, as well as a slow guitar solo, and is one of the catchier songs on the album. (7/10)

Moondance also starts softer, with melodic piano, but the piano riff is quickly picked up by the electric guitar. After the track calms down again, sweeping woodwinds take over the melody, helped along by arpeggiated piano chords. It picks up again with electric guitar, becoming a pseudo-jig with a Celtic influence, that helps bring character to the song. (7/10)

The Riddler, The Pharaoh Sails To Orion, Walking In The Air, and Sleeping Sun are, again, tracks that I find you can take or leave (The Pharaoh Sails to Orion is apparently a favourite among fans). Again, I give them around a 6/10, with The Riddler maybe getting a 7.

Recommended for fans of classical-inspired metal. 7/10.

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 Walking in the Air - The Greatest Ballads by NIGHTWISH album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2011
2.95 | 2 ratings

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Walking in the Air - The Greatest Ballads
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

3 stars I almost feel ashamed of being so positively surprised by this compilation, or the band in general. NIGHTWISH is a hugely popular Finnish Prog Metal band, led by keyboardist-composer Tuomas Holopainen (now current for his concept album "The Life and Times of Scrooge") and employing already a third female vocalist. The notoriously sacked original soprano Tarja Turunen is now doing a solo career. The 15 songs on this CD are all done with Tarja, representing the albums Angels Fall First (1997), Oceanborn (1998), Wishmaster (2000) and Century Child (2002) by 2-4 songs each, plus a couple of smaller releases.

So, why ashamed? And why it took so long before I had a closer look at this band (long time ago I had borrowed their album, no idea which one, without getting interested)? Partly it's about prejudices for both the Metal genre and the popularity. You know, "Not my thing!" But perhaps a compilation of ballads was needed; two days ago I borrowed also Once (2004) of which I enjoy a few tracks while the more metallic tracks left me cold, as expected.

I bet many of these songs have been heavily played on radio - mostly on channels that I don't listen to - such as the title track originating from the Snowman animation, 'Sleeping Sun', one of their earliest and biggest hits, and... Actually, apart from these two, all were new songs to me. There may be a tiny element of kitch around here and there, but I do like this music. Of the terms ballad and Metal, the former is perhaps more defining for this selection, and I admit I have always liked a certain type of Hard Rock / Heavy ballad (by Scorpions, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, etc), so after all it comes as no big surprise that I have some pleasure out of this compilation. Tarja is a gorgeous vocalist, and the band sound is fine. The Metal element is present but it's not stubbornly dominant, as it could be in the drumming for example.

A good, VERY good set of excellently produced melodic and symphonically flavoured Metal ballads. No more, no less.

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 Showtime, Storytime by NIGHTWISH album cover Live, 2013
3.88 | 14 ratings

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Showtime, Storytime
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Back in 2012 I heard that Nightwish were going to be coming to New Zealand, and me and one of my daughters knew that we just had to be there. I had loved 'Imaginaerum', and felt that the band had come a long way since they replaced singer Tarja Turunen. Her final performance with the band was captured as 'End of An Era', and is something that I had played time and again but felt that Anette Olzon was a better fit with the way that the band had changed into something that was more bombastic and metallic. But, I was surprised to hear that after just two albums Anette was no longer in the band, and that she had in turn been replaced by Floor Jansen from After Forever. But, although she had performed well in the studio, the live performances I had seen seemed to show someone who possibly wasn't fully in tune with the band and what they were trying to achieve. So, what would the concert be like with Floor?

Simply put, it was brilliant. Floor has the controlled soprano that is required to perform the classic Nightwish numbers but is also very much a rock performer and knows that there are times when an edge and roughness are required to provide the emphasis. The other surprise that night was the appearance of veteran Troy Donockley, who is now a full band member. I first came across Troy when he was a member of Iona for their classic 'Book of Kells', and have heard some of his solo work as well as other band performances, and he certainly provides the group with additional styles with his pipes, flutes and whistles.

But why am I talking about a concert and not reviewing the album I have before me? Well, that is because this is a recording of their appearance at Wacken later the same year. By now Floor had really settled in (bear in mind that Anette's final performance was September 29th 2012, and Floor joined the band for their performance on October 1st, having learned and rehearsed the vocal parts on the flight from Holland to Seattle!!), and the whole band seems comfortable and relaxed. It will always be Tuomas Holopainen's group, he writes the material and provides all the symphonics with his keyboards, but for me the most important person is bassist/vocalist Marco Hietala who provides the brutality and depth in his powerful singing as a total contrast to Floor. My one gripe about the gig is that they didn't perform 'Bye, Bye, Beautiful', which is easily the most played song on my phone as I have both the studio video and a live performance loaded and I play both multiple ties each week. But given that it was about Tarja, possibly they didn't feel that performing it after Anette had left would be the right thing to do.

But, if you enjoy symphonic metal then it really doesn't get much better than this. It is quite a contrast to 'End of An Era', and this is very much the one that I prefer.

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 Oceanborn by NIGHTWISH album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.99 | 198 ratings

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Oceanborn
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars After an acoustically laden folk metal experience on the debut album NIGHTWISH decided to really go for the gusto on their second release OCEANBORN and what a triumph of musical mixing this is. They still retain some of the Finnish folk music that is intrinsically sewn into the fabric of their songwriting but on this release they really ramp up the metal and symphonic aspects of their sound. I see this as equally part neo-classical metal of the Stratovarius type married with symphonic prog a la Renaissance laced with Finnish folk music and topped off with some classical diva operatic vocals by the stunning Tarja Turunen.

This is my only NIGHTWISH album i've yet heard so I can't compare to other releases but on this one the musicians are all top notch. Tuomas Holopainen who is the main songwriter really knows how to create some interesting hooks and his keyboard talents are one of the main ingredients in holding this symphonic metal together so well. Emppu Vuorinen nails the neo-classical guitar shredding and the double-bass drumming of Jukka Nevalainen really blend well with the bass skills of Sami Vankska.

Everything works together perfectly to create an epic musical fantasy. The music is further embellished by flutes, violin, viola and cello. There is also some male vocals that appear as the voice of both the devil and pharaoh but Tarja is the star of this release with her angelic presence totally dominating the accompanying symphonic power metal music. This album goes by too fast. From the high energy opening track "Stargazers" that sets the stage for the rest of the album it promises to keep your attention to the end of the album. Only a couple of the slower tracks keep me from rating this higher. The album shines brightest when the band is delivering epic fast-paced fantasy metal like there's no tomorrow.

I didn't realize how huge this band is as far as popularity goes. They are one of the best selling Finnish acts ever and have been hugely successful worldwide. I understand this is their best release but I still need to check out more of their output because if any of it comes even close to the melodic and symphonic beauty of OCEANBORN then I am a fan indeed.

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 Oceanborn by NIGHTWISH album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.99 | 198 ratings

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Oceanborn
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I typically find the symphonic metal style which Nightwish are one of the leading exemplars of to be a decidedly hit or miss affair, but here I think Nightwish have a palpable hit. The best tracks on here tend to be the ones when the band go at it full pelt and rely on Tuomas Holopainen's keyboards to provide most of the symphonic gravitas, though a few pieces with a more orchestral touch do stand out, such as an inspired cover of the Snowman theme song Walking In the Air which gives Tarja the perfect opportunity to show just what she can do with her vocals.

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Thanks to M@X for the artist addition.

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