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Lost in translation. - 83%

hells_unicorn, December 15th, 2007

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.