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Nightwish, a wonderful, perfect heavy metal musicians, the best, the most influential symphonic metal band, and one of the most influential acts in the entire history of heavy metal music. They achieved that thanks to Marco, not because of his bass guitar skills, but because of his incredible vocals, which gave Nightwish whole new level. They achieved that thanks to Jukka, an amazing drummer, with his incredible talent, skills and creativity. He gave their songs a strange and pleasant feel. They achieved that thanks to Emppu, the guitar god. Guy who made all those mind-blowing, blazing, unique, exotic, extraordinary riffs, with his tasty guitar solos, with lots of emotions and soul, with his amazing lead guitar work. One of the best, unique and original guitarists in the world. They achieved that because of Tarja, the best female singer in entire music world, a woman who put so much emotions in the songs she sung, her amazing vocal color and all of those vocal abilities. They achieved that thanks to the master mind, intelligent lyrics writer, an amazing compositor, Mozart of our time - Tuomas Holopainen, a man who actually IS NIGHTWISH. Everything they did together seemed like a never-ending dream, a magic, something that came from another dimension, a true phenomenon. And then, this supernatural dream turned into a nightmare.
There are different versions of Tarja's departure, but that is not important at all. Money was the main reason, that can be concluded from Tarja's and Tuomas' version of the story. Money, fucking money. That is the only truth. Tarja left, and started her own career, which is not heavy metal at all. What she does now is pure pop music. Nightwish continued without Tarja, yes, they don't need Tarja, Tuomas is the only thing that matters, he is the Nightwish. Tuomas wanted to hit the charts, and to become mainstream. Now, Nightwish is an extremely popular band. But is it heavy metal music anymore? They hired new typical pop music singer, but are they pop music just because of that? It is music in general that counts, not just vocals. Song structures, song tempos, riffs, guitar solos, lead guitar work, symphonic elements in this case... that's what it counts. So, are they still heavy metal band? The answer is - NO, they sold-out. They are not part of heavy metal music anymore. Anyone can listen to this Popwish now. I know lots of Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Amy Winehouse's fans who like new Nightiwsh. So, are they posers just because of that? Actually, that is the main reason. They now make sweet easier-to-listen-to music.
There are only three songs, the remains of true Nightwish sound, songs that can come close enough to be compared with Nightwish songs from heavy metal era - The Poet And The Pendulum, Last Of The Wilds and The Escapist. However The Escapist falls, 'cause it is barely memorable song. Remains of true Nightwish sound can be noticed in background. Mainly because of heavy riffs, symphonic arrangements, it has Century Child and Once feel, but Anette's annoying vocals ruin the whole song, and Tuomas didn't impress me here with his lyrics. Also song structure is not interesting at all. The Poet And The Pendulum is the absolute highlight of this album. That song and Last Of The Wilds are excellent symphonic metal songs. The Escapist is symphonic metal song too, but not an excellent one. The Poet And Pendulum outstrips all songs from this album with its epic, dark and mystic atmosphere which can be compared with Oceanborn magic. That is the longest song Nightwish ever did, and it is very complex and progressive. Tempo changes constantly, from slow intro into a furious part, then calms down, and then heat rises again, then comes very calm part, and guitar solo, and so on, and so on. Traditional heavy riffs, amazing symphonic arrangements, impressive lyrics, that is truly a perfect song. Tuomas proved once again that he is truly a master, even when he hungers for money and fame.
Last Of The Wilds is not poisoned with Anette's childish vocals, it is an instrumental folk metal song. Emppu did perfect job here with creative and heavy riffs. But this album lacks his amazing guitar solos. Although he never had enough space to show all of his guitar skills and creativity with guitar solos on earlier Nightwish albums because of Tuomas' keyboards, his guitar solo work wasn't important for Tuomas here at all. In fact, Emppu doesn't have any impressive, memorable or even long guitar solo on this album, and that really sucks. Seems like Tuomas was more focused on Anette's pop vocal style, that's why he wanted Tarja out. Emppu here made only riffs, and also he didn't have much job. Most of these song, lack riffs during longer parts of duration. Everything here was made with commercial purpose - to get as many fans as possible. I respect Marco's effort for the song he made - The Islander. But, Tuomas used that one, and decided to make another music video in order to make Nightwish even bigger. Acoustic, melodic, folk ambient, well-written song, without distorted guitars, with amazing Marco's lead and Anette's annoying backing vocals, fits well in Tuomas' greedy project.
The rest of the album, well... If we forget for a while that they are sellouts now, and you wanted to listen to some pop-like softer non-heavy metal songs. In that case songs Amaranth, Bye Bye Beautiful and Eva are excellent songs. But, if you wanted to hear new songs from serious heavy metal band, in that case those songs are very good, but not for metalheads. Songs Amaranth and Bye Bye Beautiful are perfect MTV songs, songs which made Nightwish big now. Electronic sound for pleasant feel which made these songs catchier for non-metalheads, rare use of riffs, just to make keen on mallcore kids who like Within Temptation and Lacuna Coil, typical female pop singer, to make things easier-to-listen-to for all MTV crowd, keyboard melodies to make songs even sweater and very catchy refrains. Eva was kinda decent song with Marco's vocals, but unfortunately it became part of this commercial approach. Demo version of this song could fit in well in previous heavy metal releases this band did. That song is really slow and touching ballad, with amazing lyrics and great piano work, but Anette's vocals kill whole fucking song.
Other songs are not memorable at all. Just an attempt to become like mainstream band. If someone played song Cadence Of Her Last Breath, I'd think it was Evanescence or something like that, because of horrible alternative sound, and Marco's rap backing shouts. Sahara and Master Passion Greed are songs with an attempt to sound like older standard Nightwish songs, but they failed. They sound totally different, they are not sincere songs, like on previous studio albums. The rest of the songs lack heavy riffs, which are actually creative and memorable. No, the rest of the songs barely have riffs, and when they appear, it's like nothing has ever happened. Guitar solos don't exist at all, or they last 5 seconds, so you won't even notice them when they appear. There are few great lyrical sentences Tuomas wrote, but most of the lyrics are bunch of nothing. Symphonic elements attempt to give these songs a dark feel, but they stand no chance comparing to albums Oceanborn and Once.
Good sides of this release:
Ah... no, there's nothing special, or extremely good about this album.
Bad sides of this release:
Everything indeed. They changed music direction from heavy metal music (symphonic metal) into mallcore trendy music for masses. They became very mediocre, generic and non-original mainstream band. They should just rename this band into Popwish, Sweetwish or something, because this release doesn't fit in Nightwish discography. I would not recommend this release to anyone, specially not for fans of true Nightwish. People who want to get into them should start to listen to their previous albums, and avoid this one at any cost.
The Poet And The Pendulum and Last Of The Wilds