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I loved Tarja, and wasn't sure if Nightwish would ever find a suitable replacement. Finally, they announced they found her: Olzon. I had mixed hopes about their new sound. Was she gonna be as great and powerful a singer as Tarja? So far, I have to say... no.
Yes, this song is a ballad. Nothing against that personally; after all, in an interview, Nightwish said their new CD is gonna feature both heavy songs as well as ballads. At least they're not going all-ballad-ey, so I'm not complaining.
What I am complaining about, however, is Olzon's voice on this single. Eva is a boring song. Anyone has to admit that. I'd imagine Tarja's voice would have added a little bit more power to this song, but Olzon just doesn't cut it. Her voice is average and boring. I've heard millions of better singers than her, and I'm convinced her voice just does not fit in with Nightwish at all.
Imagine her singing some of the faster, heavier songs. Tarja made Nightwish seem interesting, dark, mysterious, enchanting... Olzon seems to do the opposite. In fact, I would go as far as to say I wouldn't be surprised if I heard a new Nightwish song on one of the pop radio stations.
Overall, yes, Olzon does have a nice voice, but I've heard better, and it definitely does not seem suitable for Nightwish's style. Sorry Nightwish.
Enough about her voice. How is the rest of the song? I'll have to admit, the rest is mediocre at best. Where are the riffs? Solos? Well, I guess I can't complain about that too much. It IS a ballad, afterall.
I'm just hoping Olzon will prove me wrong and add the same magic to Nighwish's music Tarja did. I honestly doubt it. But I'm still hoping...
For Tarja's replacement they couldn't have chosen someone much more different. Olzon is not an operatic singer, she has none of Tarja's bombastic power and cold majesty. Instead Nightwish have opted for a soft and warm pop/folk voice very reminiscent of Within Temptation. This change was to be expected as Tarja's vocal parts became less operatic and more pop as the band progressed and Olzon is far more suited to this new style. Olzon is a satisfactory singer, perfectly talented and capable, yet she has no real distinctive element to her voice and perhaps will not have the power to keep up with the faster and heavier songs.
Nightwish again prove themselves one of the most original and evolving bands in metal (by this I don't mean weird time signatures and obscure ambient sections pseudo-evolution) by releasing something totaly unlike any other metal band has done. They released what sounds like a ballad from a Disney or Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. This is not a metal ballad, it lacks the clear distinct melodies and hyperbolic emotion that is typical to metal ballads. Instead it is a subtle, rather warm affair, symphonic but in no way epic. There is no hint of the trademark overlfow of emotions in Nightwish's previous ballads. Thankfully there are absolutely no unnecessary power chords plastered over the song as I expected and there is a nice solo, yet fails to compare to Emppu's more emotive slow solos (Swanheart, Nemo etc).
The problem with this single is that it is simply not catchy, at all memorable or containing any particular emotion or atmosphere. It remains simply passable, listenable, yet entirely uninteresting. The artwork is poor; coldly computerised and there are no bonus tracks included which make it as a release even less interesting. If you're a big fan of musicals, Disney or Within Temptation ballads you might be interested in this but it will unlikely remain a classic. For most people it is undeniably something unexpected yet fails to live up to its potential.
To be honest, my exposure to Nightwish has been limited. But what I've heard of the band with Tarja Turunen, well...she is a wonderful vocalist, don't get me wrong, but her style didn't always seem to mesh with the music. Keep in mind that she wasn't at all into metal when she joined the band, and it showed in that her vocals often seemed out of place. Especially with the more mainstream direction Nightwish have been going in the last few years. I am not at all putting her down by stating that Annette Blyckert (Olzon) is a more apropos replacement for her.
I say this because Annette feels like a much better fit in the band's sound. Her vocal patterns feel more natural and her voice actually suits this song well--though I do agree with another reviewer in that I'd like to hear her really cut loose on something like "End Of All Hope". Her soft and soothing approach at the song's beginning give way to a more emotive wailing by the end and it flows very naturally. The chorus is indeed very catchy and the backing vocals at the end nearly brought a tear to my eye. Her voice and accent are entirely different from Tarja's, since she's Swedish, but it adds an extra level of charm and style. Can she hang? If this song is any indicator, yes, so far so good.
The song itself is a very pretty ballad, something I'm known to be a sucker for--but only if it's well-written and not formulaic. And Nightwish did a very nice job on this song, with Tuomas' keyboards leading the way and Emppu dealing out a very melodic solo. The rhythm section does its job, all you can ask for in a song like this, and does it well. And Marco kept his mouth shut on this one, a good move. Good vocal melodies on the chorus in particular as well as good vocal layering in general; Annette lays down sweet harmonies that sound right on and as I said, her more emotional cries at the end in the background are beautiful.
Overall, this is an auspicious debut for Miss Olzon, now let's see what else the woman can do, I say. And I bet it will be good too. Let's give her a chance to show off what she can do and judge fairly, I say.
I was surprised when I saw this song is a ballad. Not because Nightwish dosen't have any ballads, because it does and some are great, but because it's their new single. On Wikipedia it states clearly:
"Lead band member Tuomas Holopainen has in an interview said that the album will have a lot in common with the last album (Once). For example, the band will keep the new kind of harder songs (such as "Nemo", "Wish I Had an Angel" and "Planet Hell"), but there will as well be softer ballads."
"There will as well be softer ballads" means that a few ballads will appear on the album, but most of the song will be harder, so I don't understand why emphatise on a ballad. The reason could be that they wanted to present Olzon's voice, but, then again, there are many who can sing a ballad. I was more curious as to how she sings a harder song like "End of all hope".
These things aside, the song is a very good one. "Angels fall first" is one of the things I dislike from Nightwish because I feel like Tarja's voice is piercing my brain. It's nice to see a change like this one. I would rather prefer a less operatic, more symphonic, heavier Nightwish. In "Eva", Olzon's voice is in harmony with the instrumental part. It's low and melancholic in the first half, raising in the second half where the instrumental gets a little harder and more complex.
To be honest, I never understood why Nightwish are considered power metal. The atmosphere is closer to folkgothic and the instruments closer to a symphonicheavy. Even they state their genre is "melodic heavy metal with a female vocalist".
In conclusion, I find this song to be very good one. It's simply Nightwish. The same Nightwish and a new singer.
There is also a short solo in the song, a solo that reminded me of the one from "Nemo".
I don't usually review singles but "Eva" is an exception since we get to hear a new singer and, apparently, a completely different Nightwish. Even though the song doesn't show a very radical change in Nightwish's style, it's still clear that it's a new era for them.
However, this change isn't so great. "Eva" is a ballad, and not exactly the best one they've ever released. Nightwish ballads are usually amazing and beautiful (like "Angels Fall First" or "Two for Tragedy"). "Eva" doesn't seem to reach that same level. Don't get me wrong, it's a very powerful track with a catchy chorus and a memorable ending, yet it's just not up to the Nightwish standard.
This change, however, isn't as drastic in the music as it is in the vocals. As you probably know, Tarja Turunen was fired after the "End of and Era" concert. Instead of her, we have Anette Olzon. She's a good singer, yet doesn't have the same vocal range as Tarja. Her voice is undeniably beautiful, yet I consider Nightwish to be an operatic metal band (like most of the fans do). Anette's voice is far from operatic, which is why I feel that Nightwish made a big mistake in hiring her.
If "Eva" is the best song on the upcoming album, Nightwish have a big problem. I also feel that, although Anette voice was heard in this ballad, it will be drowned by the music because it's just not powerful enough. Anyway, it's a decent song, but it's just unsatisfactory.