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So here is Nightwish, the creators behind four very good albums, and following up on their newest, most successful, and probably the best album to date. Tuomas decides, after Century Child's success, to add even more orchestra elements to his music. Tuomas may as well have held a gun to his head. Most of the die hard metal fans loathed this album because the band "sold out" to the goth girls and the mainstream media.
This is not the case, the album still has many of the things that made Nightwish good. The guitar solos are there more than ever, Marco growls along even better than before, the keyboards are often a major part of the music. The orchestra is used well in most of the songs, and there are some very good orchestral arrangements for Tarja's voice. The album starts with a very solid opener, Dark Chest of Wonders. In this song everything seems to fit perfectly together. This song also doesn't have Nightwish's dark feeling to it, in fact it's rather uplifting to hear. It is an extremely good opener. The next standout song on the album is Planet Hell, which is the best song on the album by far. The song is almost fiery, starting out with nearly a minute of classical music, and building up the whole time. The following explosion of keyboard and guitar playing simultaneously is awesome. Then for the rest of the song Tarja and Marco do a pretty awesome call and answer part.
It is no wonder the mainstream media loved this album, they exchanged some of their power metal for symphonic metal. It's easier on the ears for some(hopefully not anyone on this site), and many of the songs are as good as the mainstream media says it is. However the mainstream media never has paid attention to decent metal so they fail to recognize some of the bad elements of this album.
The first problem with this album is that Tuomas's lyrics seem almost dead on many of the songs. They are repeated over and over again and even though I'm supposed to be writing about the music, I'm going to complain about this. Tuomas needs to realize that we know he loved Tarja, but he needs to get over it and write some lyrics that make the music interesting. The next problem is that Tarja is misused on this album, some of the later songs on the album she either tries to do metal vocals(Romanticide) or does annoying vocals(White Night Fantasy). On a few songs she even sounds drowned out or just plain bored, and it is almost painful to listen to how far she fell. The third problem is that on several songs the guitars are very very simplistic, so simplistic that you are reminded of them when you turn the radio on to your average nu-metal station. The last problem with the album is how small a part Marco has compared to Century Child, without the power metal pieces or Marco's voice the music feels sort of dead. The few songs his vocals are used on are good, with the exception of Romanticide where he is just used for a sound effect.
All in all this album is at neither of the extremes that people say it is. I recommend you check it out, but don't expect it to be another Century Child.