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Poetry and music have always been partners of sorts within the metal genre, varying insofar as the principle songwriter allows his imagination to fly. In the case of Nightwish, the lyrical content has enjoyed an evolution similar to the musical one they have made since their quasi-folk inspired debut “Angels fall first”. Tuomas Holopainen balances a sense of passion and a sense of curiosity with the occasional poetic comment on the nature of life. Be it his own take on the mind of a pair of killers in “The Kinslayer” or a personal quasi-autobiography in “Dead Boy’s Poem”, he is both witty yet sincere in his word usage, complementing the game of notes that he plays with.
The sound on this album is probably most comparable to its predecessor “Oceanborn”, although the ballads seem to hint at a direction towards the somewhat less metallic approach found on “Century Child”. “Two for Tragedy” is pretty much keyboards and vocals, but lacks the hooks and atmosphere that made “Sleeping Sun” a sort of guilty pleasure of mine. “Dead Boy’s Poem” has some folk elements from the debut, but mostly relies upon vocal performance and narration to carry it along. “Come Cover Me” has a nice principle theme to it and a solid vocal performance, but not a whole lot of development.
The faster songs are where the album truly shines; combining Tuomas’ keyboard ideas and Emppu’s riffs outshine Stratovarius in many instances. “Crownless” and “Wanderlust” are the two highlights, combining solid guitar and keyboard ideas with some interesting vocal and atmospheric tricks, the former almost sounding like a high speed techno track. “The Kinslayer” is definitely the darkest sounding of the bunch, be it the neurotic sounding narrations or the agitated keyboard lines. “She is my Sin” and “Deep, Silent, Complete” feature impressive vocal performances, while “Bare Grace Misery” mostly relies on simplicity and hooks to keep the listener focused.
The most musically ambitious songs on here tend away from the Oceanborn sound as well. The title track makes a clever use of silence versus sound during its powerful chorus, while Emppu pumps out some catchy lead riffs. The vocal performance is the most operatic out of all the songs, which unfortunately tends to be what turns off many metal fans to this band. “Fantasmic” is the most progressive of the mix, going through 3 different parts and making a lot of use of sectional contrast. It combines atmospheric ballad sections with speed metal, and reaches its pinnacle during a climactic flute theme at the end of the slow part.
Although a very impressive album, I can’t say this is Nightwish’s best, as Oceanborn ranks at the top in my opinion for its brilliant hybrid approach to power metal and symphonic music. The lyrical approach takes a more introspective approach rather than the fantasy/philosophy take of the first two albums, showing indications that Tuomas is starting to mature. Sadly, as is seen on subsequent releases, a maturing sound has been slowly working against them. If you like Rhapsody, Stratovarius, Lullacry, Helloween or Angra then you will find things on here that appeal to you. It’s a varied work, but it still has a consistent musical direction.
I can't put my finger on it, but "Wishmaster" lacks a certain something. Unlike the other Nightwish albums (excluding "Once"), it didn't do much for me. Sure, some songs are amazingly good, but they're balanced out with boring, filler tracks.
This is the album that got a lot of people to compare Nightwish with other Finnish metal bands like Stratovarious or Sonata Arctica. This is not good. Nightwish were never comparable with other bands. They used to play music which was in a league of its own.
The major flaw in this album is the fact that music is pushed too far back. Unlike before, when the music and vocals accompanied each other, on "Wishmaster" it's the music helping the vocals. All songs are just an excuse to hear Tarja singing. No importance is given to the music. That's a real shame because the band has amazing potential. Just listen to their previous albums and to "Century Child" to see how good Nightwish can really be.
Tarja was also slightly disappointing as well. She doesn't deliver the same amount of emotion that she did before. Her voice isn't as moving as it was. The only track in which I found Tarja's voice to be at the usual perfection is "Two for Tragedy". It's the only track in which she sings her heart out. In most of the other songs, she sounds rather bland. However, she's still among the superior female metal vocalists out there.
Another flaw of this album is its inconsistency. On "Oceanborn", everything got together as a whole. The artwork, lyrics, melody and vocals all had a connection between them. Here, there's no such thing. Sure, the artwork shows fantasy (just like the lyrics), but nothing else does. That brings me to the conclusion that this album was rushed.
Having said all that, there are still a couple of damn good songs here. "The Kinslayer", "Two for Tragedy" and "FantasMic" are among the band’s finest tracks. "The Kinslayer" is a very well-done track that talks about the Columbine High-School massacre (those two kids that killed themselves after killing about 12 people). It's a killer (no pun intended) track that, underneath all the poetry, makes you think. It carries with it one of the most truthful lines I've ever heard; "In this world of a million religions everyone prays the same way". The concept of the song makes it the absolute highlight of the album and also one of the best Nightwish songs ever written. Now, let’s move on to the softest song of the album; "Two for Tragedy". I hated this song at first, but a few listens made me change my mind. Tarja's singing is amazing here. It's not really a metal song, but it's just amazing. The use of the flute also makes it very similar to the sound on their debut. So, that's a definite highlight. Last but not least, "FantasMic". It's an epic track that talks about Walt Disney. It's also an amazing summary of the album (since it's divided into three very different sections). I especially like the first section (with the unbelievably catchy "Wish upon a star..." chorus. The third section is also very well-done (particularly when Tarja sings those pieces about different Disney characters).
Besides those three kick ass tracks, the album left me quite disappointed. There are a lot of filler tracks that turn out to be mediocre, at best, like "Come Cover Me" and "Wanderlust". The other tracks are decent; yet don't reach the usual high standards of the band.
Even though I criticized the album constantly, it's still quite good. It is, however, Nightwish's worst album to date. If you don't want to get it for the music, get it at least for the amazing lyrics that Tuomos has never failed to write.
One last note: the release with the bonus "Sleepwalker" is definitely worth the extra money.
Although it was one of the turning points of Nightwish becoming more pop orientated,
I think Wishmaster is one of the better albums of Nightwish. Wishmaster has the bombastic tracks that we expect from Nightwish and the catchy choruses used by many bands, yet after a while things begin to become repetitive.
At the beginning of the album every song has its own voice to it. She is My Sin displays Tarja’s vocals beautifully as does Wanderlust. The Kinslayer has a perfect balance of darker vocals and innocent-like singing. I would say every track up to Bare Grace Misery really keeps me not from yawning. Bare Grace Misery and Crownless could easily be called the worst tracks on the record. They don’t have that certain power I want from Nightwish.
Fortunately, the cd is saved from the two longest songs on the album, Dead Boy’s Poem and Fantasmic. They are opposites and have a totally different quality the other songs seem to not have. Dead Boy’s Poem is so beautiful and gives you a definition of how emotional a ballad could be. They play off Tarja’s voice in a sparingly manner, as to not detract from the wonderful music. Fantasmic is a great way to end off the cd. It carries the same tumid vibe as any other Nightwish song and makes you feel almost elated. It wouldn’t have made sense to end such a powerful album with a soft song and Fantasmic gives a last punch to remind you this isn’t some silly delicate record but this is Nightwish.
Nightwish´s sound is self-identifying – you hear it and you know its Nightwish; all the more in this album, containing instant classics such as Dead Boy´s Poem, or The Kinslayer. This wasn´t their first album I wanted to review, but a request from a dear friend of mine, I chose to start with this one.
Don´t get me wrong, this is by no means a bad album. While I like Once more than this one, Wishmaster truly contains pieces of musical genius and creativity. It also sparks a question many other bands trigger. What is Metal? I remember being in a car with a friend listening Lacrimosa, he said to me: if any person not familiarized with metal, listens from here on (after the vocals I don´t remember which song) would swear this is classical and not metal music.
Nightwish, in a way, possess the same vein of musical expression. While being metal, many of their songs are full of feeling and emotion, orchestration and arrangements; Tarja´s alluring vocals blessing the whole picture, with lyrics ranging from love to fantasy. It´s not that metal is cold music for mass murderers, to say that would be to please the media monsters leading the simple-minded slaves… sorry, masses. Quite the contrary, Nightwish is one of the bands that stands out and proves that metal is an open forum of expression, not limited by closed-mindedness or stereotypes (ok, maybe there are a few exceptions), and that, musically, it is a space for geniuses to flow.
That doesn´t seem to speak much of the album, so let´s get on with it, and hope that I may get my point clear.
She is My Sin – starting with a great keyboard and guitar tune, the album opener really enthralls us. Tarja´s vocals again laid a spell, although sometimes the vocal lines are a bit to large and is forced to sing them quickly, the same for other tracks in the album. The chorus is by far amazing, the way she sings makes it all the more beautiful. The lyrics are about lust; with a memorable line: “God, I must confess… I do envy the sinners”. The guitar tune after the second chorus is amazing, although would´ve been great if accompanied by a solo. Perfect start for the album.
The Kinslayer – another majestic start with keyboards, at the very first reminiscing of the previous song, but soon it stands apart. The vocal lines are great, making it a chain that when sung sounds almost wicked. The same tune maintains itself almost all of the song, but for a part that is like a dialogue between Tarja and another voice. The lyrics are about the Columbine High School Massacre on April 20th, 1999. There are some great lines here: “Not a hero unless you die, our species eat the wounded ones”, and the infamous “Good wombs hath borne bad sons”. This song is the aggressive one of the album, having a “rudeness” between the riffing and the keyboards. Amazing song.
Come Cover Me – starting like a ballad with a flute (I think it’s a flute) and keyboard arrangements, the song quickly morphs by entering a guitar following in the same tune. But the moment Tarja enters the keyboard tune is really catchy, greatly composed. The guitar part before the chorus is great. The chorus is good, although not as others in the album. It’s a catchy song for the aforementioned keyboard tune, but putting aside that, it could have been much better.
Wanderlust – the initial keyboard/guitar tune is simply memorable. It is a happy song, Tarja and the lyrics seem like a plaything of innocence. The lyrics are about the urge to travel and see the world; much like the disease that afflict the kender race of Halflings in DragonLance universe. The chorus is melodic and alluring. In the second half there is a great guitar riffing. Worthy song.
Two for Tragedy – the ballad of the album. The lines feel a little forced at times. A flute gives a nice addition to the song, along with a keyboard. The second part continues the same but for drums and bass, and a lead guitar. The song is too slow for my taste, sadly, this could´ve been much more better but fell short.
Wishmaster – starting with the chorus, the title song is a fan favorite. At first I didn´t like it, but the more I heard it the more it got to me. The guitar riffing is slithering towards great and fast melody. The lyrics contain references to The Lord of the Rings (Elbereth and Lorien) and more for DragonLance (Sla-Mori, meaning secret path; Starbreeze, last name of Princess Alhana of the Silvanesti elves; Silvara, the name of a silver dragon; and Shalafi, meaning master); and I think its about yearning for a fantasy world. The solo is simple, yet great. Being the title track, it cannot be bad but great.
Bare Grace Misery – a direct start with keyboard tune of the chorus. The vocals are great here, since the instruments leave space for Tarja´s voice to shine. The guitar and keyboard lines are amazing, and the part before Tarja´s sigh is truly great; but once again the lines are a bit too long. It is a good song.
Crownless – the one I dislike. Not that it is a bad song, its actually good; the chorus is catchy, the melody is good. The catch is that since the start it didn´t sounded like Nightwish to me, but more like Sonata Arctica. Comprehensible since Mr. Holopainen is close friend of those guys; its not like I don´t like SA (but they don´t hit the nerve they once did), but I just dislike this song for that, it differs in terms of the bombasticness of the rest of the album.
Deep Silent Complete – in the same vein as Bare Grace Misery, this sung is full of melody, catchiness; and the instruments really leaves the room for Tarja´s voice to shine. Excellent track.
Dead Boy´s Poem – starting with vocals plagued with sadness, and acoustic guitar arrangement. It truly sets the pace for the mood of the song; then the chorus just traps you in, with a melody sure to stay in the mind. After the second chorus, the Dead Boy reads his poem, truly melancholic; and the solo enters. God, I could die listen to this solo, and I´d be gone a happy man. After another reading, the final part comes in. With a different tune than the rest of the song, it maintains the feeling, but I prefer the first part. Just two words: instant classic.
Fantasmic – the longest track and album closer, it is divided into three parts. Part one starts magnificently with organ-like keyboards, and a great guitar tune. The vocal lines and keyboard tunes are enticing. The same goes on for the rest of part one; and the peak is the final “Wish upon a star, believe in will the realm of the king of fantasy”; then it which ends at 3:15. Part two is extremely different at the beginning with the vocals prevailing, with a drum sounding like a romantic novel or soap opera; then with a guitar. Falling behind up until the flute part, strongly reminiscent of Rhapsody´s Sacred Power of the Raging Winds, this part is truly amazing; then at 5:4o or so part three begins with the fast paced tune. The vocals follow the same speed, and the song ends with the same ending as part one. Truly brilliant piece of music.
Its unfair to judge an album as the sum of its parts (although in my reviews I check song by song, but anyway) since an album is an individual piece of music, which songs are tied together by a single concept. That said, this is one of the best of the Nightwish catalogue despite very little flaws; although I wouldn´t call it my personal favorite, since I like more melodies in Once and Century Child. Extremely recommendable for those wishing to know Nightwish, and an obvious must for symphonic power metal fans.
Returning to the point, I think Holopainen´s compositions are quite creative, since almost no songs are reminiscent of others. Also his lyrical themes are very personal, full of feeling and emotions, reaching into corniness at times. As a whole, the Nighwish concept really states that metal is a form of open expression, escaping the lame-ass stereotype of violence and aggressiveness. I hope I make my point clear by saying that metal bands incorporate elements of other genres giving metal a more elaborate and complex prism of musical creation. So, is this metal? Yes, it is music, it is metal.
I'm so in love with this great album and it deserve to get higher reviews. To me as the first experiance, it was awesome. So far I have all the Nightwish albums except "Once" and "Over The Hills...". I guess this is Nightwish's shining moment and it has great songs. Still, I don't know which is my favorite song on this awesome album. I love Tarja and I think she's the greatest female vocals in the metal genre. Opera and metal. Great mixture to make this album rock. Let me go over the tracks.
She Is My Sin: A great openner with heavy drum beats in the beginning. This one I guess the heaviest song on the album. Then, Tarja comes in to seduce the listener by the magic of her voice. Great chorus and a short solo. 5/5
The Kinslayer: Nice riff in this song. The theme behind the lyrics is interesting. The incident back in 1999 of the Colorado shooting. I liked the conversation going on in the middle of this song between the killer and the student. 4.5/5
Come Cover Me: A cool beginning to this one, but gets heavier. This is a basic love song and it is really great. Damn, Tarja sings well in this one, that'll she capture your heart. Awesome song. 5/5
Wanderlust: Good, but not great. Well, it is nice song, but the majority skip this track, but I don't. A cool chorus and nice keyboard solo in the end. 4.5/5
Two For Tragedy: I don't have no idea why people don't like this song. Sure it isn't metal, but it is great. It is a ballad and I really enjoyed it. The solo is nice in the near end. Nice operatic vocals sung by this goddess. 5/5
Wishmaster: Sorry, I think this one's a much heavier and greater than "She Is My Sin" and boy what a song. It's heavy, great chorus and outstanding solos. I think this is the people's majority favortie on this album and I don't blame them, because it's amazing. 5/5
Bare Grace Misery: The wicked side of Tarja. Nice. I love it when Tarja sings a seduction or an evil song. She sounds really scary and beautiful. This is a good track. 4.5/5
Crownless: Brilliant! What can I say more! Great keyboards and amazing chorus. Then, the great keyboard/guitar solo in the middle. Very good performed and it is one of the favorites on this album and Tarja sings well as usual. 5/5
Deep Silent Complete: A calm song, but very catchy! It is an atmospheric song and it makes you feel that you are next to the big sea. Nice vocals. 4.5/5
Dead Boy's Poem: A great touchy ballad. The chorus is great and you cannot negative it. Too bad they only have the chorus twice, but that doesn't matter. In the middle of the boy's conversation, a great solo to cut off his speech. 5/5
FantasMic: The lengthy song on this album and the epic song. I love Nightwish's epics. This song is divided into 3 parts. First, a rocky one, second, a calmer one, and finally, gets to get heavier with a great finish to this wonderful made album. 5/5
I still don't have a specific favorite, but the album is great. I like it more than Oceanborn (don't get me wrong, but Oceanborn is great) and I recommand any listener to start from this album, if they want to start listening to Nightwish. Tarja is a goddess!
In three ways, this album is/was a dissapointment for me.
The first reason is relatively petty: the label went anal about the distribution of the limited edition, and in essence denied me a chance to aquire it via normal channels. Having learned my lesson previously when other big bands released an album and shortly thereafter released a new version with bonustracks, and knowing Spinefarm did the same with Oceanborn, I waited till I got a chance to get the version with the full tracklisting. That it never came around Holland is the reason I'm still going with the mp3 rips of the version that does include Sleepwalker, the limited edition bonus. I advocate shooting labelmanagers that do this to sell extra cds to the fans who are completionists when it comes to material.
The second reason this album was relatively dissapointing, is that I completely worshipped Oceanborn. To me, it was the quintessence of what could possibly be good about an album. The combination of up-beat speedy symphonic powermetal with the beautiful operatic voice of Tarja made me wish that my progeny would be spawned from Tarja's womb. Expecting Nightwish to grow artistically from Oceanborn to Wishmaster as much as they had grown from Angels Fall First to Oceanborn...well of course I had a dissapointment coming, it would've been metaphysically impossible.
But if we ignore these two relatively petty reasons, objectify and take distance from them, then we can proceed to the real reason I'm not ejaculating over this album as no doubt many fanboys are still wont to do. That reason being that Wishmaster actually is less good than Oceanborn.
What captivated me about Oceanborn, was how everything was a whole. The artwork, the lyrics, the atmosphere, it all in combination with the theme made for an album where every song had it's own appeal, and every song swept you off your feet and took you away, to either a walk in the air, or biblical stories. Melody, rythm, vocals all worked in unison to give you a near orgasmic experience. Well, at least for me.
With Wishmaster, I sooner get the feeling the songs are all just vehicles for Tarja's voice. Having soared to popularity after releasing Oceanborn, much on the grace of having Tarja in the ranks, I can understand how they wished to give Tarja all the room she needed in the song-compositions. But where on Oceanborn, she was an equal-status member of the group, on Wishmaster she is elevated above the others in order to emphasize her presence. She hasn't been put stronger in the mix or anything (at least not much). Yet instead of combining her vocal melodies with synth and guitar-melodies for some sort of super-melody, like on Oceanborn, on Wishmaster it's Tarja, and the rest accompany her vocal melody with the same melody. And that's the whole problem: the rest of the band is being relegated to being Tarja's support. Song structures seemed geared towards giving Tarja the right time and place to do her thing. When she's not singing, the band is busy doing a bridge to the next part where Tarja sings, and the band just acts as rythm-section during her parts. I'd almost accuse Nightwish of selling out, as pop-music is the form of music where the band is unimportant in comparison to the vocalist and the vocalist's melody lines.
Of course, now I'm not being fair to Nightwish. It's the dissapointment thing talking partly, and even I have to admit this album is far from being crap. This actually is a fine album, with nice tunes. And Tarja, for not being a real opera singer, does quite a nice job. It's just that since the whole doesn't mesmerize me like before because of aforementioned reasons, one notices small things that wouldn't bother otherwise. For example, the production is crisp, but Tarja and the synths are a tiny bit too dominant; they get a gimmicky air about them this way.
If I had to pick a favorite on this album it would be the titletrack. It's the song that in my opinion is most like their work on Oceanborn, and coincidentally the song that captivates me the most. It even has a solo, and the melody-interplay is interesting.
Concluding, I must note that many people actually like Wishmaster over Nightwish' previous work. I'm not one to question the validity of other people's opinions; they probably liked the new set-up. In my opinion, this is still an enjoyable album, that rises with head and shoulders above the mediocre. Sadly, it does not rise up enough to be among the greats. And the genre of symphonic power metal with operatic female vocals isn't that big anyway..
PS: The bonustrack is Sleepwalker. It's the track with which Nightwish entered into the Finnish National Songcontest. They got first place with the publics' vote, but the 'professional' judges made it second. Needless to say Finland lost the Eurovision Songcontest BADLY that year, and Nightwish could've made the big surprise the EVSC needed, as every year dramatically mediocre artists win. The song Sleepwalker isn't a regular Nightwish track, in that it utilizes a drumcomputer for the main beat, and some drumming is overlaid on top of that. The synths are held beck instead of dominant, more apropiate to contemporary pop. Tarja's vocals do carry the song. It's not a great Nightwish track, but it far surpasses 99% of pop, even if only because of the addition of Tarja's vocals. It forgoes headbangability, yet carries the Nightwish atmosphere.
This was my first taste of Nightwish, continuing and finishing the style begun on "Oceanborn". This album is more clear cut, and is the most accessible Nightwish release, so a very good starting point for getting into this band. Everything that made the last release so incredible is back, but the songwriting has taken a more poppy twist, with more catchy hooks, lighter and bouncier (to an extent) melodies and straightforward song structures Though they do this without sacrificing interesting and well put together metal songs. An admirable collection of songs, lacking the same adventurous attitude of "Oceanborn" but certainly hitting the spot in the same way. It still captures the energy of "Oceanborn" but the songs change moods more often reminding more of "Angels Fall First", and is a little more swung towards the guitars taking centre stage, though not so much that it alters the direction any great deal. It is still an enchanting ride, that I have come to expect from Nightwish and loses no power despite the songs losing a little richness. Songs like "She Is My Sin" and "Wishmaster" showcase the unrelenting energy so ever present, while "Two For Tragedy" and "Dead Boy's Poem" continue the more soothing tracks in the same pattern as on the "Oceanborn" album.
But then again, this is essentially more of the same with just a more simple and to the point approach. Tarja outdoes herself again, with a cracking vocal performance second only to "Oceanborn", and everything else is totally consistent to the quality of material this band provide. There's not much else to say apart from this would be the best place to start with this band (their most successful album), and if you love "Oceanborn" you will certainly like this too, and vice versa.
I tend to be a bit cynical about 'Wishmaster'. I mean it's a great album but after 'Oceanborn' it doesn't carry the same magic. Don't get me wrong, i tend to respect bands who do something different, but unfortunately, this wasn't up to my expectations.
Let's start with the flaws...
I thought that some songs were a bit of fillers. Like 'Come cover me', 'Wanderlust' and some songs in the middle of the album (I wouldn't mention all the songs for it would be too rude! ;)
'Two for Tragedy' is a bit dragging for my taste (altough I happen to like it every now and then, it depends in which mood I'm in) but it's a great prelude to the mighty titlte track. Yes, 'Wishmaster' is by far their trademark song and for sure a lot of fans got through Nightwish by this song. It's a powerfull Power/Operistic song, but I'm sure you all know that!
My favourite part in this album (apart from the first two songs and the title track) are the last three songs in this third installment.
Tarja is amazing on 'Deep Silence Complete'. It kind of reminds me of Enya or Loreena McKennit, which I'm a big fan of.
'Dead Boy's Poem' is one of my favourite Nightwish songs ever. Tarja's voice fits extremely well with Tuomas' lyrics. The song takes a dramatic change into a powerful yet sorrowful ending.
'Fantasmic' is some Operistic/Progressive shit! This is sooo GOOD! It's the longest track in this album and every second is well worth it. I like to think of it as being the epilogue of the album where it's mingling all the songs into one Megalomaniac Masterpiece! Hehe, some extravagant thought here.
Still, it's the highlight of the album and an excelent ending to not-such-a-magnificent album.
Best tracks: (1)She is My Sin, (2)The Kinslayer, (6)Wishmaster, (9)Deep Silence Complete, (10)Dead Boy's Poem, (11)Fantasmic.
The third album of Nightwish may not be the masterpiece that Oceanborn was, but still that doesn't mean it's not an excellent record!
To begin with, this album is slightly more power metal oriented than the previous one, and you can notice that on the speed of the songs and on the guitar riffs and the usage of the keyboards. It isn't as symphonically grandiose as Oceanborn, but the compositions are very good anyway.
As for highlights, I can't really point out any since all the songs have something in them which makes them unique.
She is my Sin is the opener, followed by Kinslayer which are two relatively fast songs with strong riffs, perfect to get into the album!Then what follows is "Come Cover Me" which is a slower song that reveals the path the album follows from track #3 on, which is a fast&strong song, followed by a slower song. Track #4 "Wanderlust" is a more power metal-oriented composition with an excellent ending where you can hear Tarja's operatic voice fading slowly in the background.
Other very good tracks are the title track with epic and fantasy lyrics, and also the more power metal song of the album, "Crownless" which I think is the fastest Nightwish song I have heard. I can't talk of this album without mentioning the doomish song "Dead Boy's Poem" and the final epic "Fantasmic" which are perfect endings for the album and will slightly relax you a little more after those fast songs.
When you have an album that's nearly perfect, it's nearly impossible to make a follow-up to match that album's success. Wishmaster isn't as good as Oceanborn was. But it's damn close.
Everything that was key in Oceanborn is flawlessly transferred to Wishmaster. The vocals are beautiful and melodic, with excellent use of harmonies and an uncanny knack of matching the feeling of the song. It's not Kamelot, where the entire song is suddenly changed by the entrance of Roy Khan's vocals--Tarja blends in with the song's feeling perfectly and complements it to a tee. The guitars are good, but they don't have enough technical playing--they had a bit more in Oceanborn. The drumming is great and so are the keyboards, and the bass is played at exactly the right volume. Overall, everything is solidly Nightwish.
The only real difference here is the lack of pure highlights in the songs. She is my Sin is a great midpaced headbanger with excellent vocal work from Tarja, but it's not Stargazers. The Kinslayer is probably the best song on here, and marks a spot as Nightwish's second-best song--the guitar riffage is just fantastic, and it's a real headbanger, even with the powerful vocals from Tarja. Wanderlust has the opening solo playing by the guitars that I love to hear, and when the vocals finally come in the guitars play solid backup riffs. Bare Grace Misery is a pretty good song that is turned into a great song through some excellent drum work. Crownless is one of Nightwish's fastest songs and has some strange riffs, but is nonetheless a solid frantic headbanger. Finally, Deep Silent Complete has a beautiful opening vocal passage followed by a fantastic melody by the guitar and a solid bass sound that really adds to the depth of the song.
As with Oceanborn, nothing on here is bad. It's just solid Nightwish. And it rocks. Go get yourself some right now.
I thought Nightwish couldn't get any better than Oceanborn until I heard Wishmaster. The style is slightly different, but it just edges out over Oceanborn as their best.
This album is more accessible than the amazing Oceanborn, but unlike Century Child, is far more progressive in nature, containing some of Empuu's excellent riffs and melodic passages of guitar and keyboard work, accompanied with top-notch drumming and bass -- not to mention Tarja's angelic voice. The production is as stunningly perfect as the musicians, as well.
At first, I was inclined to reject this as somewhat "gay," but it grew on me after it caught my ear and I began listening to it, and I now use it to add a lighter-end value of beauty to my usually brutal listening schedule to make it more brutal. It's not 100% pure metal by any means, and is more in the style of symphonic/progressive rock, but anyone with an appreciation of music should enjoy it, if they open themselves up to it. Hell, I'm going to sound like a wuss writing this review, but I'll be honest about how I feel.
The album begins with "She is My Sin," which is an amazing and beautiful song of slightly immoral nature that instantly captivates the listener with Tarja's divine voice, complemented with tasteful use of guitars and keyboards.
The next track, "Kinslayer" has some excellent riffs, and becomes a symphony once Tarja begins singing, though not in the higher range she usually does.
"Come Cover Me" is an excellent with truly memorable guitar work, bringing forth emotions of female affection -- and unlike 99% of the lousy pop music out there that we are bombarded with tries, this one actually succeeds. Or perhaps I just have a slight thing for Tarja, even though she's rather plain looking :D
"Wanderlust" begins with a -legendary- guitar and keyboard introduction, and begins to speed up the album, and brings forth a sense of fantasy, much like Elvenpath did.
I usually skip "Two for Tragedy." It's too sappy for me, though it's not a lousy song like "Swanheart" by any means.
"Wishmaster" is an epic song, and has an excellent rhythm to it. The guitar, bass, drum, and keyboard flow and work together so wonderfully that it almost entraps you in the song. Empuu uses his amazing guitar talent for much of the later half of the song, but keeps it coherent by alternating it with the chorus.
"Bare Grace Misery" is a slightly more depressing tune, coming down off of Wishmaster, and Tarja's ability to portray not only a large range of beautiful and flawless vocals, but a large range of emotions, really comes through in this song.
"Crownless" features a fantastic fast, melodic, and difficult guitar work that begins the song and repeats later as soon as you clamor for more even after Tarja joins the fray. This keeps the tempo up really high, with not only fast riffs and drumming, but memorable solos and melodies all tastefully done through much of the song.
"Deep Silent Complete" is a more tranquil song after the frenetic "Crownless," and Tarja's vocal performance is crystal clear.
I usually skip "Dead Boy's Poem" for the same reason as "Two for Tragedy." It's beautiful, but more of a song you would slow dance to or something.
The amazing "FantasMic" -- a song I shouldn't tell you is about Walt Disney -- finishes off the album. Beginning with keyboards right out of Phantasy Star, occasionally complimented by Empuu's guitar, it continues into a catchy and wonderful song that slows down a bit, and is picked up by a flute, and becomes amazingly majestic and grand as any song I've heard. The end of the song repeats the chorus that will stick in your head for days.
It wraps up a truly brilliant album that Nightwish, or any member of any remotely similar symphonic sound, will most likely never top.