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And by greatest, they secretly mean all of them. - 45%

Zelkiiro, September 4th, 2011

I really wish Nightwish would quit flailing around and release their next album already. But hell, I'll give this useless compilation album one bit of credit: at least Tuomas is acknowledging that the pre-2005 material exists. Now if you wanted to milk some cash out of me, you could release an album with, oh, you know...ANETTE COVERING SOME OF THESE SONGS, MAYBE?

Perhaps an EP of experimental or cover songs a la Over the Hills and Far Away or Bless the Child? Perhaps some revised or updated versions of previous albums like Tarot did with The Spell of Iron?

Why does this compilation album exist? Who is it even intended for? The fans, who will already own all of these songs? Non-fans, who would probably be more interested in the faster songs anyway?! Why was this necessary?! Was Tarja okay with this? I mean, you guys kinda are riding her coattails with this.

And why, for the love of consistency, why did you guys leave out the ballads from Once and Dark Passion Play? I clearly remember there being some great ballads on those albums, like "The Islander" and "Ghost Love Score," which rank among their greatest ballads, so why aren't they on the album that so clearly is titled "The Greatest Ballads"?!?

Speaking of consistency, why is their "Phantom of the Opera" cover on here? That's not a ballad! Why isn't "Come Cover Me" on here? That's certainly more of a ballad than "Phantom" is. And so is "Astral Romance." CONSISTENCY. I DEMAND IT.

Now then, let's talk a bit about how the songs are arranged. Mostly, the irritable fact that the obvious front-stage song, "Walking in the Air," is the first track, while it just randomly closes with "Forever Yours," as if the producers threw darts at a board with the track names on them and decided on the order that way. Simple Solution: Make "Walking in the Air" last, put "Angels Fall First" as the first track, As for everything in between, who cares?

And that really is the main problem with this release: Nightwish ballads are nice and everything, but that's only when you're listening to individual albums and you have the balanced mix between ballads and anthems and epics. Here, however, it's all just too much. Many of these songs just aren't that great to begin with ("Sleepwalker," "Lagoon," and "A Return to the Sea," for example), but for all of them to be grouped together with the intention of marathon listening, it's frustratingly annoying.

Long story short, an album entirely comprised of ballads is never a good idea ever; you need faster and more intense tracks to counteract the ballads' mellowness. If this were an ordinary compilation album, with some fan-favorite tracks from each album with some bonus demos or live versions, that'd be great for fans and non-fans alike. Instead, we get this nonsense that was doomed to fail at conception.

As I've mentioned with Lokikirja, if you're gonna release something like this, you need to include bonus material to make current fans want to pick it up. Nightwish, or probably just Tuomas in particular, needs to get a clue: alienating current fans by offering nothing new and bullying potential new fans into listening to bad or overpriced compilations is not how you nurture a fanbase. Get your fucking act together.