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I say this album deserves a 100 %. The guitars are acoustic (which is great), true, but synths used make a great operatic effect. Tarja's voice is perfect. She is a woman with talent.
The drums weren't needed on this album. Drums would probably just disturb the "At The Fire" atmosphere. In fewer words: Making drum based songs is easy, how about this? Tarja sings like no other Gothic Metal singer, her vocals are full of beauty and feeling, and that's how it should be.
The first song, The "Forever Moments", has a great piano start with the acoustic guitar, which kinda remainds me of newer acoustic songs like "While your Lips are Still Red", only this is diffrent. The vocals are better and guitars have more to them than piano.
The song "Nightwish" is a more synth-based symphonical. Sure the guitar has a big part of the song, but probably most of you would agree that it would be nothing without the synth. Flute in the middle and Tarja's narrating mixed with Tuomas's synths?? Great. Pure, original, beautiful - what more could I say?
"Etiäinen" has a wierd start, probably cause I don't understand what are they saying at the start, but the rest is great. Synths make a background while the guitar is supporting the singer. Perfect mix. Composion is genius on this album.
Proof that Nightwish can make great albums!!
Nightwish's demo is quite strange, since it's very different from their releases.
Different because it is based around acoustic guitars, usually playing two leads at the same time, and a nice background provided by the keys.
The leads are most of the time made of arpeggios and are quite well done, as well as the vocal melodies. It is quite obvious that Tarja has the potential to be an excellent singer, something she isn't at the time of this release. Of course she is very good, but still has to take more lessons to reach her maximum potential. Despite this she sounds wonderful, especially on the last track.
The first two songs sound quite similar, but the second has an intro that I don't like very much. Sure it creates atmosphere but doesn't do much for me, it could have been dropped with no loss. This song also features some "bombastic" orchestral moments at 2:20, something that would re-appear later when orchestral sounds would become more imnportant, and also some spoken parts by Tarja which are not very good, and luckily were dropped out later on.
The last song begins with some speaking by Tuomas in finnish, and is quite better than the previous speaking. This song is Etiäinen, the last part of the last song of their debut. I think this is the best song, and although it has no lyrics this is where Tarja shines. Huh? Let me explain. She says nothing, but instead of it there are several vocal melodies at the same time throughout the whole song where she makes long oooooh's and aaaaaah's and these are rather beautiful here. The guitar and keyboard work is nicely done and similar to the previous songs, but this is the best song here and explains why it made it into the first album and the others didn't.
Overall this demo shows that the band has potential but they need to fix some things. First and foremost, the acoustic guitars are good but have to be dropped in exchange for electric ones. Second, the keys are not an essential part of the band and need some work too. Tuomas plays no leads and does nothing more than provide background. Third, Tarja is already very good but can be better.
Fans of Nightwish should get this, but beware: this is acoustic and therefore not for most metalheads.
Opera, the dramatic magnum opus of non-spoken musical theatre, but frankly well sung. A work, regressing to Latin; a voluptuous integral part of Metal, when performed by Tarja Turunen. Ten years ago were born Nightwish, ten years ago was born this strong expression of talent that, later on, has been “adapted” to the grand “Angels Fall First”.
“The Forever Moments” sets off this sequence by melancholic keys which are simultaneously serene and quickly join the acoustical guitar and Tarja’s unmistakable voice in a putative turning back time way. Pain, solfeggio and talent were highly expressed by this lyrical singer even before of being twenty-years-old. In any case, keyboardist and guitarist were following their “leader” very well.
“Nightwish” is such a big pearl on this Demo. In spite of appearing as the second track, this is the very first song they have ever made and also the reason of their name. It begins at a solitary atmosphere, guided by the weeping and remote resonance of the wind that, only after a three-quarter minute, ceases and gives place to an exceptional fingered guitar that gets grander as the hand moves on the quartz. Keys merge with the handling of the chords, returning to the most solitary moments we thought were left so behind. Suddenly, the thundering voice of the band sounds, appealing to the “setting Sun” whose “red rays make her cry” and to the fact of recalling her of “the one whose love awaits her in the sky”. Keys reborn and make us have the sense of déjà vu due to a Beauty and a Beast that came the following year. More grieves and desires are expressed by the vocals, more crying by the chords of the guitar. Keys come in again, chorus too.
Lull emerges, brought by the keys which were so chilly a while ago and by a wind instrument. Vocals, now spoken, state “the flute from the realm unseen”, “light of Orion” and “shadow of Andromeda”. Vocals keep on crying at the back, but now maybe of happiness and joy. Everything always accompanied by the captivating melody of the flute and the keyboard.
And here it is, the whole thing ends with “Etiäinen”, an integral fraction of Lappi on “Angels Fall First” whose sole difference is Tuomas’ vocal performance, as he starts it in that Uralic language from the North – Finnish – by uttering a few words. A remarkable song, certainly known by first album listeners, which exalts the feelings of grief – by Tarja – persisting in seduce us beyond the cold mountains, in that Arctic province called Lappi. Fingered chords of guitar unite a rhythm one as we walk on ice and snow.