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Nightwish - Century Child CD (album) cover

CENTURY CHILD

Nightwish

 

Progressive Metal

3.34 | 134 ratings

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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.

Tarcisio Moura | 3/5 |

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