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The release of “Once” in 2004 was sort of a turning point for Nightwish in many respects; it simultaneously solidified them as a force in the mainstream and brought them to the attention of even the musically bankrupt United States, and alienated a significant segment of their core fan base. Amongst the collection of musically eclectic songs found on this rather controversial album is “Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan”, a song that is more indicative of the band’s roots in folk/orchestral music that has not been heavily seen since their debut “Angels Fall First”. The atmosphere of the accompanying orchestra harmonies conveys impressions of a tranquil frozen forest, Tarja’s voice being the melody of a lone angel immersed in a flurry of light and snow. I am not fluent in Finnish, which this song is sung in, but one doesn’t really have to understand the words in order to be moved by them.
My copy of this single is the Japanese version, which also contains a cover of an 80s pop song “Where were you last night”, which has been morphed into a quasi-Deep Purple/Malmsteen sounding power rocker with Tarja’s voice outclassing every singer who has ever performed it in the past. There are two re-arrangements of longer songs from the Once album that are basically for classical music enthusiasts and core-fans, basically not much appeal to the rank and file metal head. Likewise, the demo version of “Wish I had an Angel” and the MegaDeth cover can be found on the “Wish I had an Angel” single, so if you have one you don’t really need the other. The demo track listens well despite the lack of studio dressing, but the cover of “Symphony of Destruction” is a little bit hokey. The drums and keyboards almost turn the down tempo groove/thrash song into a techno song and Marco’s vocals are just a tad too flamboyant.
As far as singles go, if you can get the Japanese version of this, you’ll have basically everything worth getting associated with all the various singles floating around the Once release. If this isn’t feasible due to cost, the “Wish I had an Angel” has everything this has except for the “Creek Mary’s Blood” orchestral version, which is probably not a priority for most casual/moderately strong Nightwish fans. Although not the best album put out by Nightwish, Once is often shelved by core-Nightwish fans and radio haters alike despite having some solid music on it.
The title song of this tiny single should be the main focus but it also contains a live cover of the Megadeth classic "Symphony of Destruction" which was done with good taste most likely from the persuasion of Marco being a fan of Megadeth to do live. Marco handles the singing on this one and does a great job beating Mustaine at his own song. I am a big fan of Megadeth but Dave doesn't exactly have the best voice, maybe a little punkish but usually goes well with the music but this was one I could do without and I enjoy Marco's job better. Musically nothing is really different other than the typical Emppu Vourinen whammy flare after riffing occasionally thrown in. Marco's operatic growl makes the 'symphony' part incorporated better.
Other songs on the single are the two songs off Once, title song Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan and the Native American folky tune Creek Mary's Blood. The latter is an instrumental version with great symphonic arrangements creating an epic atmosphere that could be played on many film scores on such movies like Dances With Wolves, or any Kevin Costner epic probably...
The title song, Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan as everyone knows from Once is a traditional Finnish song that Nightwish offers with the lovely operatic Tarja Turunen singing all the lyrics in her native language. Her majestic voice flows through the song mingling with a nice violin that plays on creating an epic otherworldly atmosphere.
Since two of the three songs are on the album Once this isn't a required necessity unless you are a die hard Nightwish fan needing a full complete collection. But for those who want to hear an excellent tribute to Megadeth's "Symphony of Destruction" Nightwish-style then pick this up, Marco is top notch!