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NIGHTWISH

Progressive Metal • Finland


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Nightwish biography
Founded in Kitee, Finland in 1996 - Still active as of 2019

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 shee...
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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)

3.51 | 147 ratings
Angels Fall First
1997
3.96 | 255 ratings
Oceanborn
1998
3.49 | 162 ratings
Wishmaster
2000
3.34 | 145 ratings
Century Child
2002
3.63 | 207 ratings
Once
2004
3.81 | 205 ratings
Dark Passion Play
2007
3.75 | 146 ratings
Imaginaerum
2011
2.93 | 21 ratings
Imaginaerum - The Score (OST)
2012
3.73 | 141 ratings
Endless Forms Most Beautiful
2015
3.83 | 86 ratings
Human. :ǁ: Nature.
2020

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

3.76 | 17 ratings
From Wishes to Eternity
2001
4.25 | 53 ratings
End Of An Era
2006
2.88 | 22 ratings
Made in Hong Kong (and in Various Other Places)
2009
3.95 | 25 ratings
Showtime, Storytime
2013
4.20 | 10 ratings
Vehicle of Spirit (Wembley Arena)
2017
3.92 | 7 ratings
Decades: Live In Buenos Aires
2019

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

4.23 | 18 ratings
From Wish to Eternity - Live
2001
2.57 | 8 ratings
End of Innocence
2003
3.00 | 4 ratings
Nemo
2004
3.00 | 6 ratings
Wish I Had an Angel
2004
4.00 | 3 ratings
Once
2006
3.00 | 6 ratings
Amaranth
2007
3.96 | 29 ratings
End of An Era
2007
2.83 | 6 ratings
Bye Bye Beautiful
2008
4.31 | 13 ratings
Showtime, Storytime
2013
4.67 | 3 ratings
Vehicle of Spirit
2016

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

3.67 | 3 ratings
Golden Wishes
2001
3.57 | 5 ratings
1997 - 2001
2001
3.13 | 8 ratings
Tales From The Elvenpath
2004
3.76 | 27 ratings
Highest Hopes - The Best Of Nightwish
2005
2.50 | 2 ratings
Bestwishes
2005
3.00 | 1 ratings
Ballads of the Eclipse
2006
2.67 | 3 ratings
The Sound Of Nightwish Reborn
2008
3.00 | 3 ratings
Walking in the Air - The Greatest Ballads
2011
5.00 | 2 ratings
Endless forms most beautiful TOUR EDITION
2015
4.00 | 3 ratings
Decades
2018

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

3.14 | 5 ratings
Demo
1996
3.00 | 6 ratings
The Carpenter
1997
3.94 | 7 ratings
Sacrament of Wilderness
1998
3.75 | 4 ratings
Passion and the Opera
1998
3.00 | 7 ratings
Walking In The Air
1999
3.00 | 9 ratings
Sleeping Sun (Four Ballads Of The Eclipse)
1999
2.75 | 11 ratings
Deep Silent Complete
2000
3.25 | 4 ratings
The Kinslayer
2000
3.00 | 1 ratings
Wishmastour 2000
2001
3.02 | 29 ratings
Over The Hills And Far Away
2001
3.50 | 9 ratings
Ever Dream
2002
3.75 | 15 ratings
Bless The Child
2002
3.87 | 12 ratings
Nemo
2004
2.69 | 14 ratings
Wish I Had An Angel
2004
3.32 | 7 ratings
Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan
2005
4.44 | 14 ratings
The Siren
2005
3.72 | 9 ratings
Sleeping Sun
2005
2.00 | 5 ratings
Erämaan viimeinen
2007
1.43 | 9 ratings
Amaranth
2007
1.13 | 9 ratings
Eva
2007
3.25 | 8 ratings
The Islander
2008
4.00 | 2 ratings
Dark Passion Play Instrumental Version
2008
2.83 | 6 ratings
Bye Bye Beautiful
2008
1.33 | 3 ratings
Amaranth
2009
3.57 | 7 ratings
The Crow, The Owl And The Dove
2012
3.80 | 5 ratings
Storytime
2012
3.22 | 9 ratings
Elan
2015
1.50 | 2 ratings
Endless Forms Most Beautiful
2015

NIGHTWISH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Wishmaster by NIGHTWISH album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.49 | 162 ratings

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Wishmaster
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by lukretio

3 stars By many considered one of the best albums of the Finnish band, Wishmaster is an album that I found somewhat disappointing in relation to the expectations that I had formed about Nightwish after listening to their first two albums. Don't get me wrong, Wishmaster is a more assured and mature album than any of the preceding two records and there are clear signs of progress in the band's songwriting and arrangement abilities. But these improvements feel more like baby steps rather than giant leaps towards stardom, resulting in an album that feels like a close cousin to its predecessor Oceanborn, with all the pros and cons of the case.

Sonically, the album is based on similar coordinates as Oceanborn. By their third album, Nightwish have seemingly found a niche of their own with their special blend of symphonic power metal with operatic vocals that pulled them apart from the rest of the power metal scene of the time. As a whole, Wishmaster is perhaps somewhat less "speedy" and aggressive compared to Oceanborn. There are more mid-tempos and the power metal influences are partly diluted by more traditional metal influences, hinting at the transition towards symphonic metal the band will complete a few years down the road.

Relative to Oceanborn, Wishmaster displays clear improvements in the songwriting department. Tuomas Holopainen seems to have refined his ear for strong melodic lines that surface more consistently throughout all tracks of the album. This was one of the main problems with the previous album, where moments of melodic brilliance were starkly juxtaposed to blander and more anonymous episodes. There are more melodic hooks on Wishmaster, with most songs endowed with decent memorable choruses that ensure proper climactic release.

This ensures that Wishmaster overall feels more balanced than its predecessor. Herein, however, lies the biggest limit of the album, perhaps. It all feels a bit too samey, without many really spectacular moments of brilliance like "Swanheart" and "Walking in the Air" on Oceanborn. Sure, there are strong tracks here too. The album opener "She Is My Sin", the bombastic title-track, the soft ballad "Two for Tragedy" are all excellent compositions, although they perhaps do not reach the level of the aforementioned tracks from Oceanborn. Other tracks are less impactful, like "Come Cover Me", "Bare Grace Misery" and "Crownless", continuing Nightwish's unfortunate tradition of diluting the quality of their albums' tracklists with fairly anonymous fillers. The longer tracks are equally disappointing, showing that the band have not yet found the formula to write "mini-epics" that are engaging through and through. The end result is that, halfway through the record, one starts having this nagging feeling of deja-vu, as the same ideas are repeated over and over again without much variation.

Nevertheless, Wishmaster is a strong record, confirming the potential of the Finnish band as one of the leading forces in the European metal scene. It is also clear, however, that Nightwish are still "work in progress" as they have not yet found the right formula for a perfect album, capable of flowing seamlessly from start to finish without boring or tiring the listener.

 Oceanborn by NIGHTWISH album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.96 | 255 ratings

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Oceanborn
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by lukretio

3 stars Only one year after having released their debut album Angels Fall First, Nightwish made a comeback with their second full-length, Oceanborn. Apart from the addition of bassplayer Sami Vänskä, the lineup is the same as on the debut LP, with Tuomas Holopainen on keyboards, Emppu Vuorinen on bass and guitars, Jukka Nevalainen on drums and Tarja Turunen on vocals. But Oceanborn is a very different beast relative to the endearing but still raw debut album. Nightwish have now found their footing and have started to unlock the potential that they had only hinted at on the previous record.

Oceanborn has a much clearer sonic identity than Angels Fall First. While that album was suspended between folk metal, power metal and symphonic and operatic ambitions, Oceanborn embarks more decidedly the path of symphonic power metal with operatic vocals. Relative to the debut album, the folk influences are toned down considerably (they only surface on the instrumental "Moondance"). There are fewer mid-tempos and acoustic interludes and far more bombastic uptempos that are a feast of powerful guitar riffs, tight drum grooves and swirling keyboard interjections. While this may bring Nightwish's sound closer to other European power metal bands (Stratovarius, Rhapsody), the overall result is an album that feels more well-defined and more assured of its direction and identity, which is a substantial improvement over the debut.

There also signs of maturity in Tarja's vocal performance. Her melodies are better than most of what she sang on Angels Fall First and her tone and expressivity have also improved. She sounds more in control of her voice, which remains splendid. Thankfully, Tuomas Holopainen this time decided to refrain from providing a male counterpart to Tarja's vocals. His performance on Angels Fall First was terrible and he wisely decided to let all vocal duties to Tarja on this album. There are two songs ("Devil & the Deep Dark Ocean" and "The Pharaoh Sails to Orion") that contain male vocals by Tapio Wilska (Finntroll). His performance is halfway between narration and singing and, oddly, it reminds me of some of the narrated parts one can find on Cradle of Filth's albums.

The album is also a step-up in terms of production value. Oceanborn's sound is smoother and more balanced than the debut album. The rough edges of that album (hyper-distorted guitar sound that dominated the keyboards; drums slightly too upfront in the mix) have been smoothened and the mix and mastering of the duo Mikko Karmila/Mika Jussila is truly excellent.

Despite the considerable signs of progress, however, it is also clear that Oceanborn is still "work in progress" for Nightwish, and that there is still ample room for further improvement. The main dissatisfaction with the album lies in the inconstant quality of its material. There are only a handful of songs where Nightwish seem to be able to fully realize their immense potential, by writing tunes where everything "clicks" and just falls into the right place. "Passion and The Opera" and the ballads "Swanheart" and "Walking in the Air" are the only three songs that I can really call masterpieces on this album. These songs have it all: great melodies, lean structures, sophisticated arrangements (that beautiful strings quartet on "Swanheart"), and fantastic performances. The rest of the album does not quite reach this level of accomplishment. "Gethsemane" gets closer, thanks to its brooding chorus, but it loses steam towards the middle before inexorably drifting towards a meandering conclusion. "Devil & the Deep Dark Ocean" and "The Pharaoh Sails to Orion" are meant to be ambitious "mini-epics" where Nightwish showcase their "progressive" ambitions, but they feel clunky and drag on far too long, showing that there is still work to do in the songwriting department. Other tracks, such as "Sacrament of Wilderness" and "The Riddler", are little more than inoffensive fillers that do little more than diluting the overall quality of the tracklist.

Overall, Oceanborn is an album of hits and misses where Nightwish manage to channel their immense talents into perfect compositions only in a handful of tracks. When they do, the outcome is nothing short of breathtaking. The rest of the album leaves the listener with the bittersweet taste of unfulfilled potential, while nevertheless confirming that Nightwish are a band on the rise and a force to be reckoned with in the European metal landscape.

 Angels Fall First by NIGHTWISH album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.51 | 147 ratings

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Angels Fall First
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by lukretio

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, including symphonic and operatic metal, but also folk metal, power metal and a certain fondness for Broadway musical plays. There is a lot to like, but also many rough edges that should be chalked down to the inexperience of the young Finnish band.

Starting with the positives, the nine songs of this debut album make it already quite clear that Nightwish is a band of immense talents. The technical proficiency of the three musicians involved (Tuomas Holopainen on keyboards, Emppu Vuorinen on bass and gutiars, and Jukka Nevalainen on drums) is astounding. Tuomas' sublime keyboard arrangements are the driving force of the music, but Emppu's guitars offer a more than capable counterpart, whether he resorts to delicate acoustic guitar arpeggios or crunchy metallic riffs. Meanwhile, Jukka is a powerhouse, his drumming inventive, powerful and precise. And then there is Tarja Turunen. A trained classical singer, her operatic vocals are Nightwish's trademark signature and she is one of the best vocalists in this style. Although on this record she still sounds somewhat immature (both in terms of expressivity and in the choice of some of the vocal melodies and arrangements), it is clear that her potential is vast.

The album also shows that Nightwish are a very ambitious band, unafraid to try and carve their own path in the metal musical landscape. The band's ambition to write spacious, progressive compositions is apparent in tracks like "Beauty and the Beast" or the multi-part album closer "Lappi". The ambition to merge the raw power of traditional metal with folk influences, symphonic arrangements, spoken narrations, and operatic vocals is impressive. Indeed, at the time there were no bands that sounded like Nightwish. The closest act in terms of common fondness for the symphonic/operatic influences were perhaps Therion, although the Swedish's band had with very different musical reference points (death metal, doom, thrash) than the Finnish quartet and the two bands do not sound at all like each other.

Alas, at this stage of the band's career, all these ambitions were not yet matched by solid compositional abilities. The various styles are not well amalgamated together on this album, which sounds too fragmented and without a clear identity. The speedy power metal of "Elvenpath" stands in stark contrast with the folkish romanticism of "The Carpenter" or the operatic ballad "Angels Fall First". Their inclusion on the same album feels incongruous and may be partly explained by the fact that these tracks were actually recorded at two different points in time ("The Carpenter" and "Angels Fall First" in April/May 1997, while "Elvenpath" in September 1997). This makes me wonder whether, halfway through the record, Nightwish consciously decided to change the musical coordinates of an album that may have been initially conceived just as a folk metal album with symphonic leanings. Regardless of the reason, the lack of a clear identity is something I find somewhat unsettling about this record.

Another issue I have with the album is that at times the songwriting feels clunky and undeveloped. Most tracks lack a strong melodic identity, which is particularly problematic for the more complex compositions, like "Beauty and the Beast", that would really benefit for one or two melodic hooks to help the listener navigate through the dense material. Moreover, the tracklist is diluted with a few tracks that are unremarkable and flat, and feel a lot like fillers ("Tutankhamen", "Know Why the Nightingale Sings"). And then there are some unfortunate choices of arrangements, especially in the vocal department. The imitation technique Tarja uses on the verse of "Nymphomaniac Fantasia" (that second vocal melody that after a short delay imitates the main melody) and in "Lappi" sounds odd and ruins somewhat two otherwise decent tunes. But the biggest problem are Tuomas Holopainen's vocals, which are just plain poor - there is no other way to describe them. He does not have a bad voice per se, but he has almost no control over it and therefore he is almost always out of tune. Unfortunately, his poor performance literally butchers songs that would have otherwise been decent, like "The Carpenter" and "Astral Romance".

Some people complain about the production, but I actually find it quite fitting. It is raw and slightly unbalanced (the guitars at times dominating the keyboards), but it matches well the rawness of the musical arrangements and the juvenile songwriting.

Overall, Angels Fall First is an endearing debut album that revealed to the world a band of immense potential. It may be raw and undeveloped, but it is nevertheless an impressive musical achievement for a bunch of twenty-years-olds who had big ambitions and fearless dreams, and that soon, very soon, would end up dominating the metal charts for a long time to come.

 Human. :ǁ: Nature. by NIGHTWISH album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.83 | 86 ratings

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Human. :ǁ: Nature.
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by SoundsofSeasons
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I've known about NIGHTWISH at some fleeting capacity for over a decade now. My ears pricked by some of their music, but low on my list of musical journey priorities so to speak. I distinctly remember a high school buddy and band mate, who was a straight metal-head (not a prog nerd like me) a fan of In Flames and Children of Bodom, making fun of this weird lame band called NIGHTWISH and scoffing at the idea of a vocally female lead operatic metal group. That is about the time they got on my radar, but I didn't consider them much at the time. That conversation was back in 2005 or so. This week NIGHTWISH founds its' way into my rotating playlist once again, and my god do they sound good lately! So many bands seem to lose steam over the years, which is a shame and frankly unacceptable, when like any professional a band should be improving their craft over time! Clearly NIGHTWISH have had the support of their home country to improve upon not only their musicianship, but their production values, and pump some of those fan dollars into the overall quality of their brand. With this latest album, I've become a fan of NIGHTWISH, there is a clear evolution of their sound and fine tuning. Although NIGHTWISH had some really catchy and fun symphonic music before, it is with this album (and the previous) that show they aren't just a one trick. Not too technically impressive, not really all too progressive, but this is just a wonderful piece of musical art with direction and purpose. Now, yes, this album clearly takes an approach and inspiration from orchestrated movie scores. I don't find that a detractor at all, in fact, it elevates this music from a production standpoint to a tier far beyond most of the competition. For a band with home country absolutely in love with them, it is great to see that NIGHTWISH move in a musical direction that pays homage to the sounds of their homeland. At least that's what I think of what I hear the instrumentation used. Most importantly, we hear not one note out of place. I've been, possibly, overly critical of music where-as the fat was not cut where it should have been. Sure, I like a good jam session like the rest, but without direction and thematic purpose a meandering 8 minute jerk-off with no rhyme or reason doesn't cut it for me as a final product. This is one of the biggest problems I have with progressive music in general, the temptation for bands to play overlong unnecessary self-congratulating pieces and ruin the 'flow' of the artistic vision they've created. Not here, this is a piece of musical art with purpose. I'm not going to be the one to argue if this is progressive rock or not. I really don't care anyway. Musically concise, high quality production, and a value and respect for the time and dedication that their fans have given them over the years, that is what I hear with this latest 2020 album from NIGHTWISH.
 Human. :ǁ: Nature. by NIGHTWISH album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.83 | 86 ratings

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Human. :ǁ: Nature.
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Eighty-one minutes of intricately composed and performed music that, unfortunately, I feel I've all heard before. I mean, to my ears, there is never any doubt in my mind, no matter where I "drop the needle," that I'm listening to Nightwish. I love that they think that they're trying to push the boundaries on what they've already done but, in the end, it's still just variations on exactly that: stuff they've already done. This release generated a lot of excitement in the prog and metal communities. To me, it sounds like Nightwish being . . . Nightwish! Tight, even virtuosic performances of strong compositions, it's just that I don't hear anything new or innovative. Even the all-orchestrated second disc is not anything that the band hasn't done before. Maybe it's more polished and concise this time (at 31 minutes) but it was fresher the first time. Floor is amazing. Tuomas is amazing. Emppu is amazing. Troy Donockley is amazing. Marco and Kai are amazing. But these people are always amazing--doing exactly the same thing that their doing here. I think it's time they pull a "Remain in Light" and all do a musical chairs instrument-switch. Then let's see what comes out of Nightwish! Excellent and amazing but I'm tired and old . . . I need something fresh and unusual to pique my interest. But of course, I can't help but recommend it to you--for you to make your own judgments. It probably deserves four stars, so . . .
 Human. :ǁ: Nature. by NIGHTWISH album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.83 | 86 ratings

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Human. :ǁ: Nature.
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by ssmarcus

2 stars Economists and social scientists of all stripes utilize various metrics to try to determine the overall health and well-being of a society. And while we can all agree on the importance of GDP per capita and life expectancy as indicators of a society's overall well-being, no one seems to have considered looking at the extent to which progressive metal dominates a society's pop-music landscape as a possible metric. Certainly, a country like Finland that has swapped "Bieber-fever" for Nightwish's glorious symphonic metal has its priorities straight!

Despite relishing the fact that Nightwish is Finland's most commercially successful musical export, I find myself quite a bit less enthusiastic about the group's latest release HUMAN. :II: NATURE.. The album is chock-full of pomp but still manages to feel kind of bland. And while the first disk has enough likeable standard symphonic metal songs for me to have rated this album a 3 out of 5, the second disk's suite of purely symphonic music is underwhelming, to say the least. I would have expected Tuomas Holopainen, Nightwish's keyboardist and songwriter, to be a bit more musically self-aware and avoid producing a mere fantasy-movie- soundtrack-rip-off.

 Decades: Live In Buenos Aires by NIGHTWISH album cover Live, 2019
3.92 | 7 ratings

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Decades: Live In Buenos Aires
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars I really enjoy live albums and can point to any number of live recordings as having an important impact on my life, from the likes of Thin Lizzy's 'Live and Dangerous', Nazareth's 'Snaz', UFO's 'Strangers In The Night', Twelfth Night's 'Live and Let Live' and so many more. But when I came across this release towards the end of 2019 I actually groaned. Not because it was going to be poor in any sense, but out of the three albums prior to this, two had also been live. True, there had also been a compilation released, and this is the album of that tour, so it does mean there were songs being played here which had not been played in concert for many years. "I didn't just want to pick out the most successful Nightwish songs for this tour", Tuomas Holopainen explains. "Instead, I asked myself which songs I would play to somebody who had never heard of our band. At some point during the preparation process, I realized that I was smiling all the time. I remembered the curious, innocent boy writing all of these songs."

"There was a lot of rehearsing before the tour began", Holopainen recalls. "We didn't really remember how the old songs went. Floor had never sung them before, and it was also a completely different thing for Troy. I have to give a lot of credit to Floor, Marco and Troy that they're actually able to sing some of the lyrics with a straight face", Holopainen grins. "Just take 'Elvenpath'. I mean, it's about taking a ride with a witch on her broomstick and warming up the sauna." All the moaning on my part that here was yet another live album (and I love 'Showtime, Storytime'), really is minor when realising what a great album this is. The whole band are tied together, and on hearing this it really is no surprise that the new studio release has come together as it has, as playing songs such as "Cover With Me" from 2000's 'Wishmaster' would have reminded Tuomas Holopainen and Emppu Vuorinen what they were doing nearly 20 years previously, and it obviously impacted the songwriting.

Of the 21 songs on this album (and yes, I know there was a studio release between the two), only five are both on this and 'Showtime, Storytime'. I am a little surprised they didn't bring back "Bye Bye Beautiful", but perhaps that is no longer appropriate and it wasn't even included on 'Decades', and I would have enjoyed hearing "She Is My Sin" but this is just nit-picking to be fair. "Elvenpath" was the first song on the very first album, 'Angels Fall First', all the way back in 1997. Here it has been given the modern Nightwish treatment, and the crowd respond to the spoken introduction, although it must be said the reaction to the following number "I Want My Tears Back" is far bigger as the huge Argentinian audience all join in.

Well, it's the third live album in six years, but this was indeed a special night and it is great to hear the old songs being played with such conviction, standing up well against the newer material.

 Human. :ǁ: Nature. by NIGHTWISH album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.83 | 86 ratings

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Human. :ǁ: Nature.
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars 2020 has seen Nightwish with what to my ears is their finest work to date, as the individuals within the group combine to produce the album I had hoped and expected with 'Endless Forms Most Beautiful'. Here the bombast has purpose, real purpose, Troy's pipes have become integral, both he and Marko have a much bigger role with the vocals, and then at the front there is Floor. No longer is she the quick replacement who learned the set on a commercial airplane, no longer the third singer, now she stands astride the band like a colossus, prepared and more than ready to deal with anything thrown at her by Tuomas. With this album, the band have finally mastered their craft, and possibly created yet another subgenre, progressive symphonic folk metal anyone?

The music swoops, drives, demanding supreme performance from everyone, with Floor in particular being asked to sing in multiple styles, from the commerciality of Olzon and the soprano heights of Turunen through metallic gymnastics in a manner which neither of her predecessors managed. One of the major delights of this album is that although there is plenty of the bombast which one expects from the band, it can also quickly disappear as on 'Shoemaker' where the guitars stop to allow simple harmony vocals to take place instead. Towards the end of that particular song Floor is at her most operatic, lifting that trained voice above the maelstrom and bringing back memories of how the band sounded 15 years or more ago. Emppu Vuorinen has always reminded me of Tony Clarkin in that he has an unusual role as guitarist, very rarely taking a musical lead but instead there to provide force and presence, and here he delivers dramatically. Kai Hahto at the rear is also no longer the new boy, as he has been blooded on the road, and now is making the seat his own and has a quite different style to Jukka Nevalainen which works well with the new form of Nightwish being crafted by Holopainen.

Contrast all this to 'Harvest', a Celtic-style song where Troy is given the lead vocal role. Here we get some bodhran- style drumming, acoustic guitar, and even a stunning a capella chorus. I can guarantee anyone playing this will be reminded more of Iona than Nightwish, and it is an absolute delight. But not to be outshone, Marko has the lead on 'Endlessness' where his growls and attack are far more metallic. As if all this was not enough, there is a second disc which features "All the Works of Nature which Adorn the World". This is a symphonic orchestral piece in eight connected but far ranging movements which Tuomas describes as his love letter to our world. This isn't the first time they have had orchestral interpretations, but this time the music is totally different from the first disc, allowing the listener to understand that here is a composer of many different talents, and a band who are still reaching for new heights nearly 25 years on from the beginning. This is a simply stunning release from the band.

 Endless Forms Most Beautiful by NIGHTWISH album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.73 | 141 ratings

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Endless Forms Most Beautiful
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars In between this 2015 album and the previous studio release, 2011's 'Imaginaerum' it is safe to say the band had been through some struggles (seek out the excellent tour documentary on YouTube detailing what happened). Due to singer Anette Olzon being hospitalized immediately before a show in Denver, the band went ahead with Alissa White- Gluz and Elize Ryd (who were part of support band Kamelot) taking on the role, using printed lyrics and a revised setlist. This in turn led to Floor Jansen being invited in for the rest of the tour. Late in 2013 it was announced that Jansen would be the full-time replacement for Olzen, and the band also made Troy Donockley a permanent member (he had already been touring with the band for five years at this point). However, before they went into the studio to record the new album it was announced that founding member and drummer Jukka Nevalainen would not be involved due serious insomnia (he has since left the band as a musical member although to this day he is still heavily involved in taking care of band-related business), and he would be replaced by Kai Hahto (Wintersun).

So there had been a lot going on in the band, but they had weathered issues prior to this, particularly with the loss of original singer Tarja Turunen, so like many I was intrigued to hear this album. I happened to see Nightwish on the tour with Floor (who I had always admired with After Forever) and thought the band had connected really well together, so was looking forward to this. Jansen is a good replacement for Olzon, as while she can sing that material well, her voice is also suited to the earlier material of Turunen, and I expected to see something of a return to the sort of material with which Nightwish made their name. When Marco Hietala joined the band in 2001, he made a massive impact as it gave the band a second really strong songwriter and someone who could also take centre stage as lead singer, so I had very expectations indeed.

However, apart from a few standouts, what we have here to my ears is a band who are really going through the motions. It has everything that one expects from Nightwish, but somehow muted. It is bombastic and over the top, yet without the soul and passion I expect. Delicate numbers such as "Our Decades In the Sun" stand out as they are a delight, an oasis of light in a fairly dark and parched atmosphere. But, it's not a bad album, it is still much better than many bands will ever hope to release, it is just I expected more from a band who had been through so much, and I firmly expected them to take a step up from 'Imaginaerum', which I loved, yet somehow they have not managed that.

Anyone who enjoys symphonic metal is going to love this, but for me while it is an excellent album, and one which I am sure I will return to, it doesn't deliver as I expected it to.

 Human. :ǁ: Nature. by NIGHTWISH album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.83 | 86 ratings

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Human. :ǁ: Nature.
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars Finnish symphonic metal superstars NIGHTWISH are like the uncle we all remember from extended family gatherings, the one whom nobody knew exactly by what thread he claimed membership, the one who always insisted on paying for group meals more for ego than generosity, the one with the over the top, larger than life yarns that always centered his touted heroics within their solipsistic frame, the one who smoked cigars continuously and blew the smoke in your face like it was a blessing, the one that everyone trash talked to each other, the one who elevated every such gathering from the unctuous familial ooze into a celebration of how grand life could be. That is NIGHTWISH, the band we love, only in private, of course, until now.

"Human.:II:Nature is the first NIGHTWISH studio release since the fabulous "Endless Forms Most Beautiful" in 2015, and it was worth the wait. Following a not dissimilar and equally grandiose concept, the premise seems to be that, if humanity is to survive, it must embrace nature, not as separate from it, as the biblical stewards if you will, but as an essential part of it, with an appreciation of the potential of our destructive nature to unravel its glorious and chaotic order. As usual it's a double CD, but this time the second disk is a symphony rather than a repeat of the first without the vocal tracks. For 30+ minutes, not even a distant snarl, riff, or disruptive moment is discernible, just stately melodies, strings, choirs, and a little narration to guide us along a somber soundscape relative to prior excursions. It serves notice that NIGHTWISH won't be confined by past conscription.

Disk 1 won't disappoint most long time fans, though the metal quotient continues to gradually boil off, seemingly at the expense of the Celtic overtones, augmented by the wonderful Troy Donockley and his pipes, particularly on the pub friendly "Harvest", the anthemic "How's The Heart", and the genre busting "Procession" and "Shoemaker". Whether it's the expected radiance of main vocalist Floor Jansen or the targeted precision of Marco Hietala, the personnel of NIGHTWISH have once again sacrificed individual recognition for commitment to something bigger than themselves and their fans, indeed all of them combined. It's no wonder that, even more than prog rock, NIGHTWISH counts film music as one of their bedrock influences, a realm where descriptions like too grandiose, pretentious, or excessive are devalued and mocked currency. That's why we need NIGHTWISH.

Thanks to [email protected] for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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