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Heavy riffs, with lite-opera vocals. Ok, so I was probably always going to hate something with that description, so why the hell did I bother buying it and writing a review? Well, after hearing all the praise for this album, I thought that surely it couldn't be that bad.. And damn, was I wrong. This review isn't for those people who already dig Nightwish, this review is a warning for those guys and girls out there who think "Well, surely they couldn't be all that bad. Maybe I should give them a listen." Just doing my duty folks.
Nightwish are trying to do a complete assimilation of metal, opera and classical. As most people know, this is generally impossible. Metal's aggression and the general low-on-the-fretboard riffing clash terribly with high, operatic vocals and the delicate, melodic strains that's most classical music. You might say "But Nightwish mix both genres so well!!!1", but if you said that, you would be wrong. Here are some examples of the terrible meshing of genres Nightwish do:
The intro of the first song. Duhn Duhn Duhn, Duhn Duhn Duhn, DUHN NUHN NUHN NUHN!!! Why was this not just done on guitars, in the same register? Did we need synths? THe answer: No. What should be all triumphant and epic just ends up Lame.
The speedy part in Devil and the Deep Dark Ocean. Nightwish are actually quite good at employing the metal, but they can't put the classical over it. A fairly heavy, nice speedy riff is interrupted by.. Operatic vocal stabs? WHY???? This move was just absolutely unneccessary, and completely ruined the best part of the song and maybe the album.
Swanheart: In this surprisingly gorgeous song, Nightwish show that they can do the whole classical thing with passion and melody. The lyrics are terrible, but the melodies and arrangements are actually pretty cool. When drums kick in at 2.20, I started fearing the worst.. But when the guitars come in, it didn't actually sound that bad. I sat, aghast at the fact that maybe Nightwish had actually succeeded in their goal? But then they drop in a guitar solo, which makes the whole thing ridiculously cheesy. It would've been 100x cooler if they'd either just built up a big wall of sound, or done the whole song as one long classical build. But no.
Nightquest: Basically, good power metal meets gothenburg riffing, all completely ruined by the vocals. The vocals aren't out of key, and the melody isn't terrible.. It just doesn't freaking fit. Good solo too.
I could go on, but really there isn't that much point - every song has these terrible moments. Nightwish are fairly adept at metal, and the classical stuff is a bit cliched but still decent, but Nightwish can't do both at the same time. It's a shame really, as these guys would be either a great metal or classical band, but they can't be both no matter how hard they try. Also, the singer should not sing as much. Really, they should just give up completely. To conclude, let me just warn people who are curious about this band: Really, it isn't worth it. Save your time and money. If you want 'heavy classical', I suggest you check out Mono. Nightwish fans and some less discerning Power Metal fans will love this album, but most people will find this awkward, badly done forcing together of genres hard to take.