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Nightwish - Angels Fall First CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.55 | 141 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
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.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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