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Nightwish - Angels Fall First CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.55 | 141 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
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.

Tarcisio Moura | 4/5 |


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