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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Symphonic Progressive Metal

I've just got the CD version of this album two weeks ago. Quite funny for me as I praised the band with their later albums but I never heard their debut album. In fact, I was actually had a BIG doubt as whether or not this is a good album of prog or just another power metal music. I did not open the seal - because I still had other CDs as top priority to spin - until one day it struck me when I wanted some "change" from typical symphonic prog vein to something that I thought would be a head-banging stuff. And, I always have a certain "ritual" in opening a CD seal: it must be during the night when most people are already asleep, while sipping a cup of black coffee or capucino and unseal the CD carefully .sssrrrttt .. Take off the disc, put it on CD player and play! Then, open the CD sleeve and while reading it I enjoy the music produced from a pair of B&W speaker. JRENG! Ghuzzz ..!! I was damn surprised with the opening tune that blasted off my room .Wow man .. Fantastic opening!!! (I don't know why, my CD has "Elvenpath" as the opener - it's different with what the track list of this site. "Beauty and The Best" is second in my CD. Mine is SPINEFARM also. Different version? Dunno and it does not matter .)

"Elvenpath" starts off with Tarja's narration followed by power metal music in a very tidy form and smooth style - characterized by a heavy riffs led by guitar in relatively fast tempo. Tarja voice enters in operatic style with power metal rhythm section. It's a very energetic opening. Well, I'm sure that this tune is suitable to wake you up in the morning as it has a very uplifting mood combined with firm beats in a very melodic style. The keyboard sometimes inserts its solo in symphonic way to accentuate the song. There is some guitar solo as well. Oh man . this opening track is terrific!

"Beauty And The Beast" kicks off with a symphonic keyboard and followed by power metal rhythm section while the melody is repeated at background. The music turns quiet but it suddenly followed with clavinet sound nicely. The male vocal starts the voice line followed with Tarja voice in duet. It's a very nice duet vocal with soft guitar riffs at background. The music shifts to a slower tempo with a growling narration by male vocal followed with nice guitar solo and then Tarja's voice. This slow tempo part is really excellent - especially with the inclusion of piano at the ending part. Again, it's another terrific [prog] metal track.

"Carpenter" brings the music into another venture where the band has incorporated flute-work (by Esa Lathinen - guest musician) al soloist during the interlude part. It has enriched the textures of the music especially when it is combined with keyboard work. Great composition!

"Astral Romance" opens with a guitar solo in ambient style followed by full music in slow rock vein. The tempo gradually increases into medium one in metal style. Tarja's voice in quiet passage has proven her powerful voice. Tuomas plays his keyboard in the intertwining with guitar riffs by Emppu. The music has a component of slow rock but it's blended in power metal style. Guitar solo combined with clavinet has produced a very satisfactory piece of music.

"Angels Fall First" starts mellow with a ballad acoustic guitar. Keyboard flows thinly at background and sets an atmosphere for Tarja to enter the music. The flute-work interjects in between operatic singing. Oh my God .. this is a very catchy piece of music! The flute man .. the flute!! Combined with thin keyboard sound at the back .. Oh . It's really killing me .. The vocal, the keyboard, the acoustic guitar, the flute .. all are excellent! You will definitely agree with me that this track is truly SUPERB! (No drumming here, only some timpani's sound to accentuate the song).

"Tutankhamen" starts beautifully with a combination of guitar, flute and keyboard sounds that blend nicely and produce excellent harmony music. Flute takes solo after in between vocal line. Keyboard still plays important role at the background to project the "symphonic" nuance. Guitar riffs still function as rhythm section. Bold ideas - incorporating flute in this track.

"Nymphomaniac Fantasia" starts ambient with acoustic guitar rhythm and flute augmented with keyboard sound. The intro sounds like a traditional music. The music turns colossal with the introduction of keyboard and followed by guitar that brings the music in crescendo with the entrance of Tarja's voice. At the first paragraph of the lyrics, Tarja sings in a long sustain high register note. Great voice! The music is also great. There are some beautiful transition pieces exploring keyboard sounds and excellent flute solo.

"Know Why the Nightingale Sings" is a power metal track in relatively fast tempo, characterized with guitar riffs. The music turns quieter when voice line enters.

The band's epic "...Lappi (Lapland)" is sectioned into four parts. It begins with a very nice acoustic guitar work followed with voice line. Flute plays beautifully while the Tarja sings. The music turns ambient in quiet mood containing only the keyboard sound and some smooth percussion sound. Tarja voice returns back augmented with soft guitar riffs at background. This is completely not a power metal track. I can smell the influence of classical as well as traditional / folk music. It's another superb track by the band. I'm sure that you will love this wonderfully crafted track! (My CD ends up with this epic as concluding track - there is no "A Return to The Sea" track).

It's a highly recommended album because it has an immaculate songwriting, tight & tidy composition, and great musicianship. The music has a variety of styles; incorporating flute in its majority of songs in the album with great riffs, symphonic keyboard exploration and catchy melodies. Keep on progging!

Yours progressively,

GW - Indonesia

Report this review (#33374)
Posted Thursday, February 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Starting out softly

This, Nightwish's debut album, gives only passing glimpses of what was to come on future albums. That is not to say it does not stand up in its own right, but it has little of the power and pomposity of their later work.

At the time of the album's release in 1997, the band members were still metaphorically in short trousers, with two of them in the army, and classically trained lead singer Tarja Turunen completing her University course. When the band formed, they were acoustically based, and this shows through in a number of the tracks here, especially the four part "Lappi" ("Lapland"). "Lappi" is nominally a nine minute concept track about that area of Scandinavia, sung in both Finnish and English. The track starts with stereo acoustic guitars backing a soft female vocal, the four parts building though ambient instrumentals, and power choruses before the atmospheric, Renaissance like ending. The track is far from the later signature works of the band, but it demonstrates their diversity well.

Elsewhere, the prog metal edge which Nightwish have made their trademark is seldom in evidence, the album as a whole having a softer feel than their subsequent albums. Tracks such as "Beauty and the beast" (almost seven minutes) "Astral romance", and "Nymphomaniac Fantasia" show the band's prog credentials well with time changes, strong guitar riffs, orchestral interludes, great lead guitar solos, flute pieces, operatic vocals and fantasy lyrics a plenty. "Carpenter", a quasi-religious piece which became an early single, is more in the power ballad mode, with some excellent flute by Esa Lathinen.

The instant success which the band enjoyed with this their debut release, particularly in their native Finland, is testimony to the strength and originality of the product. Their following album, "Oceanborn" would see them finding their real identity, while moving to the next level. "Angels fall first" represents an excellent first album, which may well appeal to those put off by their later symphonic prog metal albums.

Report this review (#39261)
Posted Tuesday, July 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars It seems strange to find one of my favorite bands here on a prog metal site, as Nightwish is more symphonic power metal than prog. However, it's great to be able to review this album here. What really makes this band special is the voice of Tarja Turunen. Really few bands have a singer like Tarja, and I fear that without her, it won't be the same again.

The music is classic power metal in the vein of Helloween or Blind Guardian, with the addition of synth. I tend to like the pure power metal songs less ("Elvenpath", "Astral Romance", "Nymphomaniac Fantasia", "Know Why The Nightingale Sings"), compared to the beautiful operatic songs. "Beauty And The Beast" is maybe the most prog song on the album: it starts with power metal tempo with a duet Tarja/Tuomas and then the rhythm changes - the ending part (breath cutting) is pure symphonic opera. "The Carpenter" is a mellow song with religious lyrics. "Angels Fall First" is a beautiful acoustic ballad. "Tutankhamen" is again a nice mid-paced song with an egyptian feeling. "Lappi (Lapland)" is mindblowing: very epic semi-instrumental ("Witchdrums" and "Etiäinen") semi-sung in Finnish ("Erämaajärvi") and English ("This Moment Is Eternity"). The album ends with "Once Upon A Troubadour", an acoustic track (bonus track).

Rating: 90/100

Report this review (#65715)
Posted Friday, January 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars this is an awsome debut album for an extraordinary band and the only actually progressive one. this is one of my favorite records and thats weird cause its not completly metal. a 12 songs miracle of progressive rock. for all those who doubt that nightwish is rock you should really listen to it . toumas´s voice is awsome he shold continue to sing , but songs on his own cause tarja´s voice really put him down . highly recommended buy it !!!!
Report this review (#97936)
Posted Thursday, November 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars So this is Nightwish's first attempt at making an album, and they quite a good job. It gives some hints of what is to come for the band, but there is also a strong acoustic element, which makes it interesting and differentiates it from their later albums. The music also has a very strong power metal feel, especially in tracks like "Elevenpath", a personal favourite of mine. The thing that differentiates Nightwish from other metal bands though is the vocals of Tarja Turunen, a classically trained opera singer. I don't know how progressive you could say this release is. The music is relatively simple, but it is progressive in the sense that they are doing something different, something which a lot of symphonic metal bands have since attempted to emulate. The most progressive song here would be the epic "Lappi (Lapland), which is about that area of Finland. My version also came with the bonus track "A Return to the Sea", a solid song but not their best.
Report this review (#140096)
Posted Sunday, September 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well... it's a bit hard for me to write a full review of any Nightwish album, because I always listen to about the half of the tracks on them... seriously, these tracks are average: I listened to them once or twice and I don't feel like listening to them again.

BUT! Every Nightwish album has got numerous great songs! These are in this album, in my opinion: 1. Elvenpath: Good opening for a new band's first album, for a new band's history. (2. Astral Romance): It's a great song, but not on this album :), no wonder they re-recorded it. It sounds awful here, it screams that it requires more work on it... 4 years:) 3. Nymphomaniac Fantasia: My personal favourite on this album. Tarja is a wonderful singer, and with the others' rock-manner this song becomes one of their best songs. 4. Know Why the Nightingale Sings: typical Nightwish song. Fast-slow switching, many percussion in the background, Tarja's voice in its full strength, 2 electric guitars after the vocals :) 5. Lappi

Report this review (#155175)
Posted Tuesday, December 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Nightwish´s first album was really their second demo, when they were still finding their own sound. It was a transitional time from their acoustic roots to full power metal deliverance of the next release, the brilliant Oceanborn. As it is what seemed to be a rather undefined, directionless CD, turned out to be quite good. Ok, it does have a kind of umbalanced tracklist, but the songwriting and the preformances are very good, showing they were very talented and special from the very start. The chemistry between them is awesome. Tarja gave some interviews claiming she still didn´t know how to place her operatic voice within the band context at the time, but actually she is shining already, delivering a style that would set a path that dozens of other female singers would follow in the next few years.

The same cannot be said of Tuomas Holopainen: his voice is rather flat, sometimes even a bit offkey but he never claimed he wanted to be singing for real anyway. Since the recording was supposed to be only for a demo, he just did it because they had no one else around to sing the male parts. Fortunaltly he does not blow really them but there´d be better versions of Beauty And The Beast (recorded live) and Astral Romance (rerecorded in the studio for the Over The Hills and Far Away EP) both of which featuring Sonata Artica´s Tony Kakko dueting with Tarja. During this period the band had no bassplayer, so guitarrist Emppu Vuorinen had to handle that function himself.

Considering the fact that it was supposed to be only a demo the overall sound is great, thanks to the good production provided by Tero Kinnunen, the tight arrangements and the fact that Tuomas was already an outstanding songwriter. This transitional phase will please progheads more than metal fans, I guess. Their acoustic past is reflected on some tunes, like the beautiful title track and parts of the The Carpenter (both of which featuring guest appearance of Esa Lehtinen playing flutes). Know Why The Nightingale Sings on the other hand is like a blueprint of their future works.

Highlights are the first two tracks: Elvenpath and Beauty And The Beast, both powerful progmetal mini epics, and both bound to remain part of their live repertoire for a long time. Also of notice are Astral Romance and The Carpenter. Unfortunatly my edition of the CD has the last song cut off, omitting all but the the first part of Lappi, so I cannot coment about this suite, but the brazilian edition also contains two bonus tracks: the acoustic Once Upon A troubador and the more climatic A Return To The Sea.

Conclusion: not really the best starting point for the newbie, but an interesting picture of a band nearing its full potential fast. It also shows that Nightwish could be a great acoustic, folk-prog band if they wanted to. Their songs were quite unique from day one and they would eventually get the recognition they truly deserved in a short period of time. For progheads it shows this group was much more than just another progmetal band. Even if Angels Fall First was intended to be only a demo album likle I said before, this is a 3,5 to 4 stars affair, no less, at least prog-wise. They were that good. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#180768)
Posted Monday, August 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Angels Fall First is the debut studio album from Finland´s leading female led symphonic metal act Nightwish. For a short period of time I was very interested in power metal and as Nightwish has elements from that genre in their music ( the characteristic double bass drum parts and neo-classical choice of notes) I was also interested in them. I didn´t listen to Angels Fall First back then though and have only recently been introduced to the album.

After listening to Angels Fall First it´s no surprise that this album sounds pretty much like every other release from the band. Tuomas Holopainen´s symphonic/ neo-classical metal songwriting and Tarja Turunen´s opera vocals is as excellent on this debut as on any of the later releases from the band. Angels Fall First also has some obvious folk elements which are mostly heard in the quiet mellow parts with flute ( played by guest musician Esa Lethinen). All songs is of high compositional quality, but as on most releases from the band the music does become too trivial IMO. Songs like Elvenpath, Angels Fall First and Know Why the Nightingale Sings stand out for me and while all other songs are good as well, they just don ´t stand out as much.

The musicianship is excellent. Tuomas Holopainen is always worth a mention for his excellent compositional skills and his great keyboard playing. He should not sing though as he hasn´t got a very impressive vocal range. You can hear him sing on Beauty And the Beast ( which by the way is a good song) and Astral Romance. Tarja is a hard vocalist to match and he falls flat on his face when he tries.

The production is clean and even though it´s very polished it´s the most raw production the band has had so far.

From looking at the pictures in the booklet it´s very obvious that Nightwish were very young when they recorded Angels Fall First ( I compared the pictures to the pictures on Once. Wow what a difference) and if you remember this, it´s a very impressive album. For me it´s a big 3 star album. Very enjoyable when I´m in the mood, but it happens rarely.

Report this review (#196984)
Posted Saturday, January 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars I was dragged into "Nightwish" by one of my brothers who was dragged into the band by his fourteen years old girl (at the time). She wanted to attend one of their concerts and he went with her. He told me that I should consider this band: some sort of Purple affair with female vocals. So, here I go for my first "Nightwish" review.

As some of you might know, I can't be called a (prog) metal freak. I only very moderately appreciate the genre. The prog attribute being too many times as thin as a sheet of paper.

As soon as the opening number starts, I thought: hey, another "Ayreon". Not too bad: strong composition, bright interpretation and skilled musicians.

It is true that some passages are clearly melodic (some guitar during "Beauty & The Beast") and that the vocal performance of Tarja Turunen adds a special flavour to their music. This is probably my preferred song out here. Fine Oriental feel and aerial vocals.

One of the softer numbers (but not the best one featured) is "The Carpenter" which is showing Tuomas Holopainen on the lead vocals. I have to say that the band loses a lot of its originality only by this factor. While Tarja takes over after half time, it sounds immediately better. Nice and melodic finale to be honest (just as during "Astral Romance" and "Know Why the Nightingale Sings").

"Angels Fall First" starts as a symphonic prog tune: fine keyboards, nice acoustic guitar and very high pitched vocals by the lady in charge. It is indeed somewhat different from all those (prog) metal bands out there. Beautiful and soft fluting are extremely pleasant and the vocal performance is again captivating. This album is getting better and better.

The Middle-East influences are back again with "Tutankhamen" (no wonder with such a title?). Actually, this feel is shared during several tracks and it brings some fine touches to the music. Vocals are maybe a bit pompous though.

The closing mini-epic (just over nine minutes) is another interesting song: diverse and fully tolerable by my old ears. Fine acoustic intro, nice keyboards and surprising Finnish vocals: this part is full of delicacy should I say. But I have to admit that the whole of "Lappi" is fully symphonic prog. The highlight for a symphonic prog lover as I am.

In terms of rating, I would liked to give seven out of ten, but I upgrade it to four stars thanks to "Lappi". Not too bad a recommandation, dear brother (not John, but Jean-Luc).

Report this review (#230259)
Posted Thursday, August 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars In the 90's, the symphonic metal genre, which was still in the stillborn phase, was only starting to take form, ever since Therion decided to loose the death metal scene and turn into an avante garde metal band with opera singers. Then, this album came out. And the rest is history.

The symphonic metal genre in the 90's was very weird and almost unaproachable, due to the songs being long drawn out verisons of The Marriage Of Figaro, with the odd guitar and drum parts. But then, in Finland, a young handsome stable boy (he proabbly did work in a stable), decided to get a keyboard, write some of the best songs ever, stick a few guitar parts in it, and shove in a Katherine Jenkins wannabe, and magic is born.

The production of this album is a bit week, but you have to give them credit, this was originaly a demo. The guitars have a quite trebbly tone to them and some of the timing isn't the best, but I guess the songs make up for it.

This album does get criticised alot, especially beacuse of Tuomas' vocals, but to be honest, I don''t think he is the worst singer in the world. His dark low tones almost give the songs a quite calm darky edge. And the keyboard and synth sounds are second to none.

1. Elvenpath - The lyrics of this song remind me of that Blind Guardian classic Imaginations From The Other Side (in my opinon, one of the best songs of all time) The almost childlike lyrics and fantasy charachters give the song a very jaunty effect. Tarja's vocals are amazing, the musicianship is to die for, and the odd quote from The Lord Of The Rings doesn't ruin the great song. An amazing opener to the album.

2. Beauty & The Beast - Probabbly one of my most favourite Nightwish songs. Tuomas' vocals aren't the worst in the world, but I did laugh a little when I first heard it. Tony Kakko's (Phowa) vocals do make the song better, in the From Wishes To Eternity dvd. The dramtic changes and spoken word passages make the song more ominous, and the guitar solo is one of the best solo's I ever heard. A masterpiece.

3. The Carpenter - A song abut Jesus, basically. A nice almost ballad feel to it and Tuomas's vocals aren't out of place either. I do not like the arabic flute part, for some reason I think it was just randomlly put in from Tutankhamen. Still a great song with a good catchy chorus.

4. Astral Romance - The stacatto rhythyms in this song are great, and Tuomas' vocals are quite good when he hit's that high note. In my opinion, one of their best lyricall moments.

5. Angels Fall First - The title track, and a ballad. A nice slower moment for the listener.

6. Tutankhamen - The arabic like melodies are great and the lyrics give a very space like feel to a modern Egyptian tale. The references to Carter (the explorer that discovered his tomb) was quite good as well. To be honest, it's a bit cheesey.

7. Nymphomaniac Fantasia - Ok, does anyone think it's a bit weird, that an album that has songs about fairytales, childrens Disney movies and other child like moments, should contain a song about sex. The lyrics of this song are incredibly funny, full of Lady GaGa like innuendos, it's hilarious. The music is quite good as well.

8. Know Why The Nightingale Sings? - One of their better riffs in my opinion. A very catchy and memorable song with great musicianship.

9. Lappi (Lapland) - This 9 minute song is quite amazing. Instead of making it all about power, it's a lot more calm and has some intresting moments that remind me of Pink Floyd fighting Burzum.

CONCLUSION - I'm gonna give every Nightwish album 5, so you can't stop me...hahahahahah. Buy all their albums. Expecially this one, it's not their best, but it's better than most albums.

Report this review (#260553)
Posted Tuesday, January 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Nightwish at the present time became kind of self parody, but things haven't been like this all the time. Their debut (still with great operatic voice of Tarja Turunen) is good example of symphonic metal.

Don't you expect Therion-like complexity and arrangements. The music there is played and recorded in simpler way, but the combination of symphonic metal band with some Nordic folklore tunes and excellent operatic vocals for year 1997 works perfectly.

OK, if you will remove vocals, you just will have simpler than average heavy metal band with melodic and quite polished sound, very simplistic drumming, rich of synth sounds. But add there the voice - and the mix sound fresh and attractive ( at least for the time of release).

Unhappily, the band explored the formula founded till the last gram, and starting from some point every next album was just a bad copy of a previous one. And lot of clones all around didn't add much popularity to that sound, but as one of early example, this album has its value for sure (at least - historical).

Report this review (#269117)
Posted Monday, March 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars With a beautiful picture for the cover, "Nightwish" released their first album. "Elvenpath" is a fanciful narrative with references to various mythical characters. The sound of the keyboard covering almost everything in the beginning of the song. The chorus with that sound so common to the "heavy melodic." The music is nice though without presenting news. Again, the keyboard is the instrument that starts another song: "Beauty And The Beast." It is known that "Tuomas Holopainen - keyboardist" is the owner of the band and also sings in this first album. "Emppu Vuorinen" creates good riffs though often muffled by the sound of the keyboard. Some synthesizers used in the album. A guitar solo in the middle of the song to help the drama of the letter. In the final minutes of music is the keyboard once again take its place of prominence. Until then, "Jukka Nevalainen" merely fulfilling his role as drummer. To escape some of the obvious, the third track titled "The Carpenter" sung by "Tuomas Holopainen" does not start at the sound of the keyboards. "Astral Romance" which is one of the most popular songs keeps the pattern shown since the beginning of the album. Featured in the "Emppu Vuorinen" with some guitar arrangements. The title track "Angels Fall First" is a composition more slowly moved on the basis of the keyboard, but started with an acoustic guitar fingerings. The voice of "Tarja Turunen" fits very well with the sound of music, plus a flute at certain times. Not wanting to belittle the work of "Nightwish" but the truth is that after years of hearing it, you realize that was a much immature, where "Tuomas Holopainen" itself takes the position of star and an obligation to give space to "Tarja Turunen". "Emppu Vuorinen" has quality, technique and talent but this first album did not get much space. "Jukka Nevalainen," added the group. "Know Why The Nightgale Sings" is one of the few songs on the album that gives way to the guitarist. "Nymphomaniac Fantasia" has some good guitar riffs, though, again the keyboard stay above. "Lappi (Lapland)" closes the album with its divisions into "Erämaajärvi", "Witchdrums", "This Moment Is Eternity" and "Etiäinen" which ultimately divided or not, is the same.

Report this review (#745261)
Posted Friday, April 27, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Most people who know my musical tastes know that I have very little love for many symphonic rock/metal groups. The primary reason is because they are either a rock band with tacked on symphonic elements or vice versa. However, one personal reason I dislike many of them is because they are so over the top and cheesy in their lyrics that I can't bear to listen to them. This is not with all of them though. I enjoy bands like Dragonforce with their over the top sound and fantasy lyrics, but that is because the band does not take themselves seriously. Many within the genre do though.

Nightwish was one of those bands. The keyboards were far over the top and if you took them away, the band would sound like a third-rate heavy metal band. The lyrics eventually became so cheesy that it was difficult to listen to them, save for a rare instrumental. However, before all of that came was a simple yet mostly forgotten album called Angels Fall First.

While Nightwish would soon become a parody of the entire symphonic metal genre, this album hearkens back to the time where they were not afraid to use an acoustic guitar. Where they lyrics actually had some heart in them rather than an over the top Velveta factory meant to be taken seriously. Where they were not afraid to sing in their own native language. While these elements would quickly disappear as the band began to grow, these elements are what make this album a gem.

The album opens with Elvenpath, which is filled with melodic symphonic and guitar arrangements. Sure the lyrics are a bit cheesy, but what do you expect from the songs title? One of the most striking elements is Tarja's voice, which sounds highly operatic. Her voice would be the only thing that would separate Nightwish's music from its contemporaries. Once she left, Nightwish would simply become a generic symphonic metal band.

The album hits hard with the next piece, Beauty and the Beast, which is based off of the Disney film of the same name. Featuring one of the genre's most powerful openings, the song features Tarja and Tuomas (the keyboardist) alternating the vocal passages as actors would on the stage. The Carpenter starts off with a heavy yet simple opening before becoming a folk rock piece. Astral Romance is one of those rare songs where the music gives the feeling of what the title is trying to portray. A rerecorded version was featured on an EP, but the original has a mysterious feeling that cannot be touched.

Angels Fall First is a truly unusual piece in the band's catalogue. It is the last remaining piece of the first phase of Nightwish, where they were simply an acoustic and keyboard band. The song is absolutely beautiful and poetic, but near the end of the song, it becomes very sinister and foreboding. One of the best songs in the genre but unfortunately, very few in the genre have the desire to do a song like this.

Tutankhamen is a piece with many obvious Arabian influences in it's sound. Nymphomaniac Fantastia is a rather odd piece. Musically, there is nothing wrong with it. The lyrics are very? strange to say the least. Perhaps if it would have been an instrumental, it would have been better. Know Why the Nightingale Sings is another wonderful little nugget of symphonic metal.

Another highlight of the album is the closing epic Lappi (Lapland). The song is structured as a mini-epic, featuring four parts. The first section, Eramaajarvi, is a folk piece sung in their native language (Finnish). The second section, Witchdrums, is a short symphonic interlude that leads into This Moment is Eternity, which sounds like a typical Nightwish song, except a bit slower and softer. The piece concludes with Etiainen, another folky instrumental passage.

It's a shame that Nightwish would soon abandon the folk metal and acoustic elements in their music for typical bombastic symphonic metal. However, that makes this album a unique gem amongst the genre. Because of it's unique and progressive sound, I can't help myself listening to it every once in a while.

Easily four stars.

Report this review (#886449)
Posted Wednesday, January 2, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars The symphonic rock is fallen. Ask any high school girl wearing black and you will notice that the modern meaning of symphonic rock is gothic metal. By the way, this gothic has nothing to do with Bauhaus. A gothic symphony for me is somehing like Nox Arcana. But it's okay, I respect this modern scene and I tried a lot of bands and albums. But this one, Nightwish's debut, is another trap. It sounds too commercial for a debut. For example: if this album were released today, I think most of the Nightwish fans wouldn't see anything special about it. Since this is not the kind of stuff that really got my attention, please despise my sincere argument, if you felt any hurt.

The good slice of Angels Fall First: The last part of Beauty and The Beast. Tarja's voice is decent. Astral romance has some catchy rhythms. Tutankhamen last minutes has some funny keys. One or two of the acoustic passages are interesting.

Some bad warnings: Worst male vocals ever. Forced and artificial "epic"atmosphere. Some bands like Sonata Arctica, using the same keyboard effects, made really better soundscapes. Standard songwriting - Foreseeable riff sequences without great surprises. Lappi (Lapland), the conceptual multi-section track, is one of the most boring tracks of the album, killing the major expectations. Astral Romance intro has some Comfortably Numb rip-off, heavy metal chords version. Lame / uninteresting album cover.

Report this review (#1051871)
Posted Wednesday, October 2, 2013 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#1640725)
Posted Wednesday, November 9, 2016 | Review Permalink
2 stars 'Angels Fall First' is the 1997 debut album by Finnish symphonic metal group Nightwish, who would go on to become one of those most popular and prolific bands of the genre.

Compared to later releases, however, 'Angels Fall First' sounds very raw, and at times, slightly disjointed and directionless, lacking the epic bombast that the band would incorporate on future albums. However, there's still a clear vision here of what the band want to accomplish, and there's no doubting the writing talents of keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen and guitarist Emppu Vuorinen, and the potential they display.

While 'Angels Fall First' is full of tasty guitar riffs and some fantastic interplay with keyboards, as well as a good balance of both male and female vocals, I find that most songs seem to deviate from the hook that first got my attention. Songs like 'Elvenpath', 'Tutankhamen' and 'Beauty and the Beast' have some incredibly strong and memorable melodies, but after a few minutes I find myself not really paying attention. It's almost as if the ideas are there, just not quite the ability to flesh them out into full songs.

Still, this is a young band in their early days, playing a style of music which is equally in its early years, and so it's forgivable that this album just isn't overly memorable. No doubt Nightwish will improve vastly over time, but 'Angels Fall First' is best left for the die-hard fans of the band.

Report this review (#2107750)
Posted Monday, December 17, 2018 | Review Permalink
3 stars #34 Review

For an album that the band leader said was a demo, and it shows because i don't think that his singing was part of the plan (since he doesn't sing good at all), it is overall a really solid first album that has many of the tropes that the group is known for.

So, about me, what happened to the Steve Hackett reviews and why i'm reviewing Nightwish now? Well, i couldn't get into Steve Hackett so easily, while Voyage of the Acolyte is one of my favorite albums, the rest have some things that i like but not everything, so i decided to break my convention of reviewing everything from one artist and start reviewing what i want to review at the moment, that said i'll probably review a couple more from Nightwish and then do an "Steve Hackett: Revisited" with "Please Don't Touch". So... what about Nightwish? Well, it's a group that my mother has heard since the early 2000s and i realized that i have heard so much of them that i wanted to listen to their albums on their entireties for once and do a review of those, i really like the group but you'll have to find out why, so let's start with my first Nightwish review on the first Nightwish album.

1.- ElvenPath 8/10 This song is a heavy hitter, but then it becomes a little too repetitive, something normal for the 90s, but it still has more changes than anything else from the era, so already that extra-effort makes it much more approachable as a prog fan. As someone that plays the piano, i'm not really a fan of how those strings sound, but the fast part with the clavichord sound is really nice and its also a Nightwish staple. The biggest problem is that this song is too short and it could've used more from that small guitar solo.

2.- Beauty and the Beast 7/10 Boombastic intro that then dwelves into a nice little medieval sounding piano part that i enjoy a lot. While i'm not digging the male singing parts at all, Tuomas doesn't sing good, i can understand why he said that this album was a demo, because his singing is really awful. But on the plus side, the instrumental part at 4:48 is really nice. While the choir synth isn't very good, thankfully they had Tarja Turunen to rescue that part. I also would've made the instrumental part longer, it's really good and saves the rest of the song by a little.

3.- The Carpenter 3/10 Tuomas singing is awful, as previously stated, then the instrumental here is uninspired as well, clearly made for vocals, and since the vocal part is mostly done by Tuomas, then this is bad. The only saving part is the small solo near the end, that sounds like egiptian, with those synth flutes, but that doesn't save this overall boring song.

4.- Astral Romance 6/10 Has a really nice rythm going on from the start and it keeps increasing tension with every lyric that's passing, just really beautyful, but then it gets completely destroyed by Tuomas singing, all that built tension fades, but then they repeat the first act but with only instrumentals, and that's what the song should've been, atleast here in the album because the live versions are pretty nice since they don't have Tuomas singing... or they could've just let Tarja do that part in the album version. It is really frustrating to hear Tuomas sing specifically at that part, because otherwise, this theme would've been an instant classic, while it is, for the most part thanks to the concert versions, this album version is just a no from me.

5.- Angels Fall First 7/10 The title track is a nice little ballad, that has some really nice piano, guitar and flute chords that i like, the flute solo was really nice also, it eases the repetitivness of the song. A really nice song to appreciate Tarja's singing and natural instruments in general. I really dislike the ending though, like it reaches nothing, i don't think that it was really that difficult to finish the song either.

6.- Tutankhamen 5/10 This one really has the egiptian vibe going on, with all those flute sounds and armonic structures, it's ok, reminds me a lot of the previous songs. Supreme singing by Tarja, as you would expect, but the song aside from that has some interesting synth bits (reminds me of Moondance a little) and nothing else really, it's repetitive and mostly boring, it would've been better if this where a part from a bigger more developed song.

7.- Nymphomaniac Fantasia 8/10 That bass is aweosome, but as always the synth and voice take the cake, and this song really transports you into another place, has a nice flute solo that doesn't sound like a synth, nice non-flat drumming, overall a good song. What reduces the score here is the lenght, it's too short, the 90s synth sounds and the repetitive chords that try to make like an orchestral sound when it really wasn't needed when the guitar was doing the work.

8.- Know Why the Nightingale Sings 6/10 This album has some instances of flat drums accompained with interesting bits, and through the entirety of the album there are many chords that are repeated throught so far, i can hear an structure being used, that always culminates on a guitar and then a piano solo, both wich are very short and not the most interesting ones. In this song you have every trope of the album put together and despite that, it still makes an overall nice song, that gets quickly forgoten by everyone because it offers little interesting things and the ideas where already developed better on some of the previous songs, this song and the weakest of the previous ones show that this album was an structure test.

9.- Lappi (Lapland) 9/10 And this is the big end, on point and precise intro, then tense insteresting instrumental and build up, this song feels already different than all of the album, this is the ground where they explored the most, they where really trying to find their sound and succeeded. The thing is that not only they do show a nice piece of music here, but also some very refined play from part of every one, good choice of chords and an overall progressive structure that doesn't get boring or repetitive for the most part, i really like it.

Overall this album gets 66/100 wich grants this album with 3 stars.

Report this review (#2219351)
Posted Friday, June 7, 2019 | Review Permalink

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