Nightwish albums reviewed and rated.


Dic 13 2011, 18:17

Well, I have lots of things to do, but, driven by will not to do them, I decided to write this entry. The idea is partly taken from irisvanhoorn, I hope she won't mind :-)
Comments and corrections (English is not my mother tongue) are highly appreciated! But no trolls, please :-)

Angels Fall First
There are two major kinds of debut albums: the first one can be characterized as “the first pancake”, which is always lumpy, and the second one is “the first word”, which is always more expensive than the second one. Just a little wordplay, based on Russian proverbs. Though I don’t know why I decided to start the description of the album this way, because Angels Fall First doesn’t relate neither to the first, nor to the second category. It’s not a masterpiece like some of the later albums, but it’s no way a flop, though it really suffers from some flaws. First of all, who let Tuomas think he can sing? No, I know that after this album he made a right decision and gave up singing career, but I’d prefer him to do it earlier, before AFF was released. Second… No, I don’t want any seconds because all those productional flaws can be forgiven for a band, releasing their debut album. A fortiori, they never repeated these mistakes ever after. Amen. As for the songs, they are really atmospheric, dreamlike, and (sorry for being banal) very beautiful. Angels Fall First is still one of the best Nightwish ballads of all time. Very good guitar and keyboards work. Large amount of song themes: ethnic (see Lappi), eastern (see Tutankhamen), Tolkien (see Elvenpath), religious (see The Carpenter), and erotic (see Nymphomaniac Fantasia) influences, can be found. Tarja is at her best.
Highlights: Angels Fall First, The Carpenter, Nymphomaniac Fantasia.
Lowlights: Know Why the Nightingale Sings, Tutankhamen.

For a very-very long time Oceanborn used to be my favourite Nightwish album. It’s one of those flawless albums which fully deserve to be called classical ones. No, really, there is not a single filler song on this album. Melodies are bright, marvelous, light, beautiful as hell, yet simple and easy to get into. Keyboards work is fantastic (listen to The Pharaoh Sails To Orion), Tuomas hasn’t shown such a high level yet again (and I don’t think he will, since the orchestra took place of keyboards). The same thing can be applied to Tarja, she’s truly a Queen here. Emppu’s guitars are great too… seriously, where have those times gone? :-) And I can’t help to emphasize on the main brilliant of the album, mind-blowing, epic collaboration between the band and Tapio Wilska, The Pharaoh Sails To Orion. This one is a true masterpiece and should be studied in schools of symphonic metal from the very first day of studying :-)
Highlights: The Pharaoh Sails To Orion, Sacrament of Wilderness, Swanheart, Stargazers, Devil & The Deep Dark Ocean, Passion And The Opera.
Lowlights: none.

Musically, it’s a proper continuation of Oceanborn, but for me in the competition between them Wishmaster loses. It has its highlights, but almost a half of an album is just unlistenable for me, I just don’t feel songs like Come Cover Me of Crownless, while Dead Boy’s Poem or She Is My Sin will always remain golden legacy of Nightwish. Oceanborn didn’t have such a drastic difference between best and worst parts… Anyway, it’s a good album, which suffers from filler songs. Dixi.
Highlights: Dead Boy’s Poem, She Is My Sin, Bare Grace Misery, Deep Silent Complete, Two for Tragedy.
Lowlights: Come Cover Me, Crownless, FantasMic (technically, it must be a great epic song, but I never was into it).

Over the Hills and Far Away EP
I know it’s not an album, but it’s the first Nightwish release I’ve listened, and I think it deserves to be in this list. Well, as I said, it was my first NW release. It still brings me nostalgia about those times when I was 15 year old boy, who just discovered the new world of metal music. It was like a shot in the head, I just didn’t know that such a music (hard, yes still melodic and emotional) exists, and when these four songs appeared in my ears, I was truly fascinated, I listened to it over and over and over again, imagining what a long road waits for me. Now that I’ve been following this road for about 4 years, and seems that nothing new can happen here, and I’m a bit bored, but this EP will always remain in my heart as something precious and priceless.
<no mark, it’s out of competition>
Highlights: Astral Romance, 10th Man Down, Away, Over the Hills and Far Away.
Lowlights: the tracklist is over :-)

Century Child
New bassist, new style, new direction – that’s what we have on this album. I’d even say “new Nightwish”, because I totally disagree with the ones who say that new era begins with Dark Passion Play. Really, those gothic influences, symphonic kicks, cheesy insignificant guitars and pop vocals (sorry, but Tarja is not operatic on this album) started right there, in 2002. But, I’ll focus more on the album itself. It’s the least favourite one of them all for me, without any doubt. The half of the songs are just fillers, the album seems to be underworked and not completed, I simply don’t have this feeling of contentment, which appears after I listen to any other Nightwish album. I just feel like there is something else to say, but there is only silence. I think that Tuomas just didn’t find himself in this new sound, and got lost in the ocean of his own ideas. Anyway, this album is better than a one of an average symphonic metal band, but comparing to other Nightwish stuff it’s just weak. Though, it has Ever Dream :-)
Highlights: Ever Dream, Bless the Child, Ocean Soul, Dead to the World.
Lowlights: End of All Hope (their most overrated song, imo. Just a poor Wishmaster replica), Feel For You, Slaying the Dreamer, Forever Yours.

Well, I’m in very complicated relationships with this album. It follows the musical direction of Century Child and it makes it! Once is a solid, completed symphonic metal album with great orchestral arrangements and amazing melodies. But, but, but… I can hardly listen to it nowadays, since I know about relationships between the band members during writing and recording of this album. This thought just burns my mind and doesn’t let me get full pleasure listening to it. So, this one is special for me, and special not in a positive way. So, I’ll just rate it, pick lights and go on.
Highlights: Higher Than Hope, The Siren, Ghost Love Score, Planet Hell, Dark Chest of Wonders. And, oh, White Night Fantasy, their most unique song ever, I think.
Lowlights: Wish I Had an Angel, Dead Gardens/Romanticide.

Dark Passion Play
So, the most interesting part begins :-) I felt in love with Anette since the first listening of the album, and I seriously can’t understand people who say that she’s an ugly duck, or that she sings awfully, or express other offensive opinions about her. And actually I don’t care about those people, because if they don’t get pleasure from her singing, it’s only their problem :-) As for me, I love the way this gorgeous, positive, brave woman can perform, I love the colour of her voice, I love the way she transmits Tuomas’s emotions with her voice, I really love everything about this woman, I support her from the very beginning, and I think there could be no better replacement for Tarja, than Anette. Anyway, this journal is not about vocalists, it’s about albums. So, this one holds its position right next to Oceanborn. But if Oceanborn’s strongest qualities were guitar/keyboards work and vocal technique, here the ones are orchestral arrangements and vocalist’s emotions. Really, I think it’s the most personal Tuomas’s album to date. And possibly the darkest one. After crisis, caused by Tarja’s departure, Nightwish rise from the flames with this fantastic work.
Highlights: While Your Lips Are Still Red (simply my favourite Nightwish song ever), The Poet and the Pendulum, For the Heart I Once Had, The Islander, Bye Bye Beautiful.
Lowlights: Sahara, Whoever Brings the Night.

Well, I’ve written a pretty long entry, but now I have to say that everything I’ve written before is not true. Not true anymore. Because Nightwish have released something absolutely… absolutely… Well, I can’t find a word, which is strong enough to describe Imaginaerum. It’s the beginning of new era of the genre, I think. Now time is divided into “before Imaginaerum” and “after Imaginaerum”. Honestly, my expectations weren’t very high, and I wasn’t ready for something so… big (no, really, my vocabulary is really poor)! It’s a perfection. I think I’m still a bit too overwhelmed by emotions to express a rational and meaningful opinion, and when this first wave of delight steps back, I will write a separate review for this masterpiece. But now...
Highlights: Taikatalvi Storytime Ghost River Slow, Love, Slow I Want My Tears Back Scaretale Arabesque Turn Loose the Mermaids Rest Calm The Crow, the Owl and the Dove Last Ride of the Day Song of Myself Imaginaerum.
Lowlights: obviously, none.


  • JimKnopf-

    eehh Sahara lowlight of Dark Passion Play, you must be dreaming.

    Dic 13 2011, 23:34
  • MustBeDreaming1

    definitely :D

    Dic 14 2011, 21:37
  • CGholy

    Oceanborn, Imaginerium and Dark Passion Play are Nightwish's holy trinity for me. :D

    Dic 17 2011, 14:33
  • MustBeDreaming1

    ;-) As you can see, for me too :-) Though I'd choose OTHAFA between it and DPP :-)

    Dic 17 2011, 17:48
  • irisvanhoorn

    I just see I should have been paying more attention to your profile page as I totally missed this journal entry, shame on me! ;-) Thanks for stealing my idea btw, I'm honored :-) though it is not completely the same. I really like your style of writing, I hope you will write more journals with more text! :-) My first Nightwish experience was Once, so I think that album would end up much higher in my list. I think it's their most accessible, most commercial album. I just loved "Nemo" a lot :-) After more listening I think Oceanborn is their best, though Once will always be special to me. Wishmaster and Century Child are a bit less imo. Angels fall First was never one of my favourites, to me it's a bit of the first pancake :-) (I like the expression :-D ) Dark Passion Play is a really very good album, though I was very disappointed about Anette's live performance in 2009 and I'm not so fond of her voice. But your explanation (that her voice didn't suit so well with the high Tarja songs) made sense, so I'm very curious to hear their last album. Even more because it is better than flawless in your opinion :-) As usual, we differ a bit in favourite songs :-), because for me Gethsemane is definitely one of their best and I don't see it in your highlights. Same for Nemo, although I understand about that, because it is a bit too commercial.

    Dic 27 2011, 11:35
  • MustBeDreaming1

    Yes, I know it's a bit not the same, I adapted it for myself a bit :-) Thanx! I'll try to write more journals like this one, it's a good language practice :-) Once was my second release by NW, just after OTHAFA, and then I was excited with it too :-) Angels Fall First is definitely not my favourite album by them, but it has something special, that never re-appeared on other NW releases (and I'm not talking about Tuomas's vocals :D). Yes, Anette's voice fits much better with the new songs! And I'm really, really curious to hear your opinion about Imaginaerum, so write me when you listen to it :-) Gethsemane is a great song, as all the oceanborn ones, but I just didn't want to highlight the full track listing :-) Nemo is a good song, I loved it the first listens, but quickly got tired of it. The thing I dislike about it is maybe even not its commerce, but this strange "look-we-are-the-most-goffic-band-in-the-world-yeah!" feeling I get from this song and especially its video.. Maybe I'm wrong though :-)

    Dic 28 2011, 13:05
  • irisvanhoorn

    Haha, yes you're right, at least I get your point. But when I first saw this video I was just beginning to explore metal and gothic music (I already knew and loved WT but that was about it I think). So I was really impressed by this video and its gothic-ness. Later I realized that it was indeed a bit overdone. :-D But still the song is special to me. I'll try to find a download of Imaginareum and I'll let you know when I've listened to it!

    Dic 31 2011, 9:44
  • MustBeDreaming1

    Thanx :-) I totally agree with you, even about Dark Passion Play: now that Anette's true talent is shown to the audience via Imaginaerum, DPP sounds a bit "plastic" and uncomfortable for her... but it's still a great album indeed!

    Mar 24 2012, 18:17
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