Nightwish, the most succesful Finnish band are back with their 5th album, Once. Just like the import version, this will probably get many confusing reviews so I’ll try to help.
First, about Nightwish.
In the mid 90s, Nightwish appeared as a Power Metal with Symphonic elements that had Tarja Tarunen A professional Mezzo Soprano as frontwoman. Their first album, “Album fall first”, is actually a good album but doesn’t have a good production. Their next album, “Oceanborn” is an excellent release with a better production. Tarja’s performance is awesome.
Their next release “The Wishmaster” is considered by many their best album. Is certainly the most “Power Metalish” but it doesn’t lose the atmosphere. After “The Wishmaster”, Nightwish comes out with “Century Child” which was a big change. The guitar work almost dissapeared, the Operatic vocals almost go away showing another style from Tarja and the band becomes more quiet plus they added a second vocalist (Marko Hietala who is also the bassist). Now to me, “Once” is pretty much “Century Child” mixed with “The Wishmaster” which is great. Tarja adapts her voice to the new style better than in “Century Child” basically because Toumas Hollopien (Keybordist and songwritter of most of the material) wrote the music in a way that they can fit with Tarja’s voice.
Songs like “Dark Chest of wonders” or “Nemo” are actually Power Metal songs but that have the atmosphere of the new Nighwish. Epics like “Ghost Love Score” show the orchestra that worked with Nightwish for this album more than the other tracks and “I wish I had an Angel” show the alternative ideas being a track with heavy riffs and a “Techno Beat” that sounds like an Industrial Metal band.
“Once” is a good album for old and new fans of Nightwish. I recommend it.
Second Part: Well, “Once” is a very successful album. It got first places in European radios and it has sold a lot of copies. The most successful album by Nightwish to date. However, Nightwish has some detractors. The main detractors of Nightwish are some Metal music fans that don’t like Nightwish because they are not heavy or fast enough. In terms of speed and virtuosity, Nightwish can’t match other Finnish acts like the Power-Melodic Metal bands “Stratovarius” and “Sonata Arctica” (Both very good bands) or the Power-Black Metal band “Children of Bodom”(Another awesome band) however, remember that virtuosity doesn’t always mean the best music. I’m not saying that Nightwish doesn’t have technical quality. Certainly, all their members are stronger than the members of Evanescence and also Nightwish is more technical than the incompetent Nu Metal bands that you can find in the American Radios. However, compared with other Metal acts, they are a kind of weak but they still play awesome music.
The idea of putting Metal and classical music together began way before Nightwish, however Nightwish is still original. Just like the Import version, here, there will be some reviews that will mention “Symphony X”(Another awesome band indeed) as a better alternative. Symphony X is not even the same music. Sure, the members of that band are extremely talented and they are monsters with the instruments. The guitarist there, Michael Romeo, is one of the 5 best guitar players in the world today and all the other members play more complicated material than Nightwish but as I said, Nightwish is different and can play good music without so much technical quality. There is a possibility that Nightwish will become popular here in the United States (They are already very important in Europe) however, the American music industry doesn’t want foreign bands to get popular here. Even the British bands don’t receive publicity. I personally think that keeping the American people unaware of the good music is disgusting. American Mainstream music is in its worst moment. There is nothing but crap and Nightwish is an excellent alternative. Unfourtunatly, some rich forces try to keep this album away from the American people. How? They don’t play the songs in the radios (Most of them owed by the same two companies) and well, this is just too good for MTV.
Buy this album and spread the word. There is awesome music out there that is way better than the lame Nu Metal. Nightwish is an excellent band and this is one of their best works to date.