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Nightwish - Once CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.63 | 205 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars A best selling album in Finland, a burst in popularity, and a questionable release according to veterean fans.

Nightwish's 2004 album Once, is an even more symphonic endeavour than the previous studio album Century Child. The album recieved amazing support in Finland, as the femme vocaled ensemble had brought metal into the more mainstream. Veterean fans do not give the album such positive reviews. The album isn't anymore poppy than previous releases. It's actually much more symphonic and progressive, so Nightwish were definately not going for bigger popularity. What's the problem then?

The guitars are the most notable negative point of the album. They are much more distorted and much more prominent in the mix than on previous albums. They sometimes seem to be misplaced throughout many of the songs. I would have prefered to see more melodic guitar playing than overpowering rythymn lines from Empuu Vourinnen.

The vocals are another negative point. Tarja Turunen's vocals lack both range and dynamics. Turunen's vocalsseems to be inferior to female singers of this genre like Floor Janssen from After Forever. Marco Hietala's vocals don't contrast or compliment Turunen's vocals. Hietala's power metal style is a little to rough around the edges to fit in this more symphonic oriented album.

The keyboards from Tuomas Holopainen are the saving grace of the album. Holopainen mangages to use a variety of synths for each song, and still shows excellent ability to play the melodic lines that give substance to the song. Nightwish has always been a band more focused on keyboards than other instruments. Holopainen also did a great arranging the orchestral parts.

The orchestra is the other reason why this album is worth a listen. The orchesta has a variety of uses throughout the album, each song features different ways to best use parts of the ensemble between strings, reeds, and brass.

The drums and bass don't factor too much in the quality of the album. They are present, but not prominent.

The production is excellent except for the guitars. They are quite overpowering and misplaced. The bass is a little dirty though, but it adds contrast with the full orchestra.

A three star rating is all that can be afforded for an album with such flaws. It has bright points, but it's far from perfect and caters to more recent Nightwish fans.

AtLossForWords | 3/5 |


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