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Progressively worse with each release - 10%

rcr12013, December 27th, 2011

Just when we thought things couldn't get worse than Dark Passion Play, we now get this thrown at us.

First off, let me start by saying Anette Olzon's vocals have improved, but her voice still does not really fit this kind of music. Her old band, which was an 80s cover band, is the perfect musical setting for her. She's not a bad singer at all, just a bad metal singer. She sounds good (maybe a little boring) on the ballads, but on the harder songs she sounds like a squirrel in labor.

While on the subject of vocals, it must be mentioned that Marco Hietala sounds quite bad on this record. Is this the same guy who sang Dead to the World? The Islander? Is this Tarot's singer? I would advise him to back off of the cigarettes and booze because it's killing his voice. He used to be able to sound like a Viking god and then transition into one of the softest, most gentle voices in the world of metal...now he's just atrocious.

But what would any metalhead tell you is most important? THE MUSIC! So let's dive into the world of Imaginaerum! Ready set, go! THUNK! We seem to have hit the bottom. Gee, that was shallow. The guitar is at its absolute worst, and that's saying something since we've already had to suffer through it in Once and DPP (and most of Century Child). In Nightwish's first three albums, Emppu Vourinen showed a lot of potential. He was the only guitarist in a genre that usually employs two, but he managed the job well and admirably. Then with Century Child came the orchestra and Nightwish's guitar had become progressively worse with each release. Is it Vuorinen's fault? Actually, no. Tuomas Holopainen writes the music and he has decided that the orchestra is the main focus. Here's the thing, though; Holopainen does NOT write the orchestral pieces at all. Pip Williams does! So take away the orchestra, and what do you have? Not much of a song at all. A lame guitar riff and some cheesy lyrics.

Speaking of cheesy lyrics...it has gotten worse. This innocence and childhood lost theme has gotten old and as Holopainen gets older himself, it's become quite creepy. Song of Myself (which was suppose to be a 13+ minute epic, but turned out be half a song with a 6 minute spoken poem) has hilarious moments in it. It covers such topics as a naked old man getting it on with a blow up doll and riding in elevators with obese girls.

Nightwish had something great with Oceanborn and Wishmaster. They should have stuck with the power metal direction they were going in with fantasy-based lyrics. Now they're a joke. Metalheads probably won't be bothered to even finish the album as there isn't much metal in it. If you like an orchestral sound, then Pip Williams is your man as his performance outshines the actual band. If you are a 14-17 year old emo kid, then you'll love the lyrics. I give this album a 10% rating only because I don't want Williams' efforts to have gone to a complete waste.