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Aim is true, execution is humble - 65%

Liquid_Braino, October 11th, 2019
Written based on this version: 1997, CD, Spinefarm Records

Some bands drop a bomb right from their inception, making a huge statement with their debut and then slowly sputtering out over time through redundancy or ill-advised incremental changes to their sound. Others start out as also-rans, mimicking their peers before their creative juices start flowing, developing into a formidable and original act over time. Nightwish, on the other hand, followed neither, and, in a way, both routes, as their enthusiasm and originality were immediately apparent, but they just weren’t ready for prime-time yet musically. Angels Fall First is more a low budget flick with lots of imagination but hampered by financial limitations and hammy no-name actors. The blockbusters would come later.

Not that it's lacking in ambition to be huge. I can sense that Tuomas Holopainen was bouncing all over the studio during the creation of this thing. Hell, I can feel the passion, but it's like he couldn't contain his eagerness to finish and release this thing before allowing his group to fall in sync with each other, the production quality to provide a massive scope, and the overall talent to reach agreeable levels to match the compositions. I picture him as the maestro, waving his damn wand in the studio during a recording session while Jukka gets exasperated and yells out "but I'm the fucking drummer!" Tuomas even sings in a few of these songs, as no one apparently had the balls to take him aside and calmly tell him to shut his trap because he can't sing for shit. Clearly this guy was delusional and egocentric enough to insist on his vocal contributions, clarity in the acknowledgment of limitations be damned.

"Elvenpath" commences the album with a bit of power metal swagger, which turns out to be more of a tease than an actual summary of what lies in store concerning the rest of this disc. The production isn't all that bad, but the boom-bastic productions Nightwish are known for ain’t happenin’ yet. The guitars are at least clearly pushed forward, but the weak snare really gets the short straw during the double-bass moments. I can barely hear it. I will give props to Tuomas for reigning in his tendencies for dominance by not overwhelming the metal attributes with his keyboards. They're present, but not to blooming marshmallow levels. Following the opener, the rest of the album is essentially composed of slow and mid-tempo fests, but it's not lacking in creativity. Like I said, Tuomas had ideas, lots of them in fact. The fact that some of them didn't turn out very well doesn't take away from his ambitious concepts.

"Astral Romance" is a no-bullshit engaging celestial ride until Tuomas chimes in with his yob, transforming the song into a laugh riot. I almost enjoy his singing here because he's so fucking awful and off-key that it puts a smile on my face. Still, it ruins a potentially good trip, regulating it to a mere interesting track. "Know Why the Nightingale Sings" brings the 'hair metal on Disney' style that would blossom into an entire genre, and "Tutankhamen" boasts some punchy rhythm work and, obviously, Egyptian riffs. Another conceptually ambitious metal track, "Beauty and the Beast" fails thanks to Tuomas making the decision to be THE BEAST. Probably one of the only times, in a heavy metal song, that someone who’s supposed to actually be a beast sounds like some timid scrawny teen. A woeful mistake, though the opening attempt to throw in some progressive metal is almost as unfortunate. The band were still undercooked, resulting in what that musical exercise could be described as ‘somewhat complex sloppiness’.

Now, as much I wouldn't be able to handle an entire album of this, the folksy title track and the folksier Lapland saga are the top dogs as far as this album rolls because the band and Tarja seem to be attuned to this style better than heavy metal at this point in time. The acoustic guitarwork is snazzy and Tarja finally brings it, especially during "Lapland" in which she resonates as more comfortable belting out shit in her native tongue. I'm not saying she's otherwise terrible, but compared to Oceanborn and beyond, she needed more time to hone her skills and bring that shit in. The "Nymphomaniac Fantasia" can attest to this, as she vocally jousts with herself, trying to sing on a balance beam while tipsy. Just a floundering, warbling mess. For 1997 though, she was quite a novelty factor that perked ears simply because she was at least going for that operatic deal, and that alone made her stand out.

Was this album influential? Like crazed BTS fangirls drinking from a toilet that Jungkook just used, metal musicians from around Europe must have pounced on this bowl, slurping up the ideas and forming their own female-fronted symphonic metal bands. I don't want to hear some of these clone acts that popped up in the late 90’s claiming that their concept was entirely original or vaguely inspired solely by some obscure Japanese act like Marge Litch. Nope, like it or not, Nightwish brought this shit to the limelight, and it began right here. The fact that Angels Fall First has aged rather poorly, as Nightwish themselves soon fully eclipsed this album, shouldn't diminish its importance concerning the development of symphonic metal, for better or worse.

A shaky start - 70%

BlackMetal213, March 25th, 2016

Nightwish is one of the few bands with a female vocalist I enjoy. I first heard their album "Once" back in 2009 and although I don't listen to this band too often, I do occasionally throw them on for some nostalgia and remembrance of a simpler time when I was young and didn't have to care about shit, as cliche and stupid as that may sound. "Angels Fall First" was not an album I listened to right off the bat. Instead, it was more like "Once", then I checked out "Century Child" and their first album with Anette Olzon, "Dark Passion Play". In fact, it wasn't until around 2011 when I finally listened to this album. Being their first album, it's not exactly uncommon for the first album to be a bit lackluster. So this really was not much of a surprise. This ain't a bad album, it's just a product of inexperience and suffers from the debut album factor with a bit of an identity crisis.

Tarja Turunen is a HELL of a vocalist. She must be my favorite frontwoman in the entire metal genre. Her voice is angelic and beautiful, as she is a trained classical opera singer. Her range is extremely impressive and she has been the highlight of all the Nightwish albums she performed on. Here, her voice is still great and recognizable but seems a bit flat most of the time. This is probably an issue with the production. The production is not necessarily raw but for Nightwish, it's fairly weak and thin. Nightwish is a band that requires a strong, polished production to enhance their majestic symphonic metal sound. Her performance as a vocalist is indeed the best part of the album but even this aspect proves to suffer a bit. If the production was more crisp this album would be ten times better. And the singing is a major example of this.

The guitar riffs are fairly standard for Nightwish. Boasting a wide range of melodic guitar lines and a few beautiful solos here and there, with tracks like "Beauty and the Beast" and "Carpenter" containing some of the best riffing we have heard from Nightwish period. The acoustic melody in "Carpenter" is gorgeous. Unfortunately like the vocals, the guitars do suffer a tad bit from the production. It's a damn shame really. What's worse is the production isn't necessarily TERRIBLE, either. It's the fact that Nightwish is known for having a very clear, huge sound, and this album just doesn't have that. A lot of the beauty and wonder is taken away from an inadequate production job. The somber riff in the beginning of "Astral Romance" is extremely beautiful. It's almost doom metal in nature, and the bass guitar dances around it like a bonfire. For me, this is one of the finest moments on the album. There are also some cool moments with the flute such as in the song "Beauty and the Beast". Flute solos appear here and there and are a nice touch. Hell songs like "Tutankamen" really work the whole flute formula to its potential. Moments like this are scattered sporadically around the album but due to the production, the listener is easily distracted. Musically this album as a lot going on for it but this is a prime example how production can nearly ruin an album.

Thankfully, Nightwish would improve vastly in terms of production with "Oceanborn", although strangely, this album is musically on the same level. I'd only recommend this for the most hardcore fans of Nightwish.

Nightwish's Rocka Rolla - 73%

TrooperEd, December 4th, 2013

And when you really think about it, while the album has a flaw or two, the fact is Nightwish had their shit together in 1997 more than Judas Priest did in 1974, so this might actually be a bit better than Rocka Rolla.

Elvenpath, Beauty & The Beast, Astral Romance, Know Why The Nightengale Sings, and the vastly underrated Tutankhamen are all fine perfectly metal songs on their own. Of these songs, three are the same tempo, so if you are a stickler for tempo, know that they are spaced out between each other. Which is great for variety, but not so much for consistency. The beginning of the album almost makes me think of A Farewell To Kings only with a female singing whatever Geddy Lee would be speaking. The most shocking thing about this album is for all the claims that this band were rough around the edges, is how much it rocks! Tuomas's singing isn't even that bad. The only mistake he made was allowing himself full lead on Carpenter, which might have actually turned out a bit better if it had been a duet like Beauty and Astral.

Still, no one will disagree that the smartest thing Tuomas ever did was stop singing. I must admit I do enjoy the re-recorded version of Astral Romance with Tony more than the original. I also wish they re-recorded Beauty & The Beast with Marco singing Tumoas's part, especially since they did that live on the Century Child tour. It would have made a damn good B-side to one of the Century Child or Once singles.

The albums weirdest moment is definitely Lappiland. Whatever you do, don't walk in to this song thinking it's gonna be 9 minutes of riffs like Hallowed Be Thy Name or Satan's Fall. You'll be setting yourself up for massive disappointment. This is where the album has that Lonesome Crow/Winter Retreat vibe to it the most, despite psychedelia being dead for almost two decades at this point. Man, what the hell was Tarja thinking when she decided to bring this one back live on her solo shows? Nightwish would go on to make much stronger epics, most of which are shorter than this.

Then there's the title track, and for what it's worth, this song actually seems like it was conceived for the so called "moody acoustic" project. It's also completely unique in that it's more or less the only acoustic song in the whole Tarja catalogue. Even for Nightwish ballads, it stands out in that regard, as the rest of the time ballads were conceived with keyboards and symphony elements. By the way, for those of you critics of Tarja's later years of her "breathing problem," I hate to break it to you, but she does that here as well. The only bad thing about this song is just as it starts to fade out is when it seems to be building to it's most interesting point.

It's a damn shame Tuomas looks upon this album with scorn, as there's a hell of a lot more inspiration to be found in this album then anything they've done past 2001. Still, Nightwish would get much, MUCH better after this album.

Did I miss anything? Oh yea, Nymphomaniac Fantasia sucks. But you knew that.

Eating humble pie - 50%

Naudiz, April 26th, 2012

Even the biggest careers start small.

Of that, Nightwish can tell you a thing or two. Admittedly, the 1997-released debut laid the foundation for the later unique style of the band, but it isn't completely persuading, neither compositionally nor vocally. No trace of the genius of later albums, but you have to remember that the band members where only about 20 years old when this lp came out. If you look at it that way, Angels Fall First is relatively good, although the production is abysmal and Tuomas should have kept his fingers away from the microphone.

With "Elvenpath", Nightwish waste the best song on the album right at the start. The thereby high expectations could not be fulfilled. The only track that is halfway on the same level as "Elvenpath" is "Astral Romance", but sadly only on the first half. The other one is gloriously ruined by Tuomas' howling.

A Beauty and the Beast concept could be, how surprising, found on the same-named song. The idea by itself is quite nice, but there's Tuomas' voice again, and who knows the concept of Theatre of Tragedy could be disappointed, because Nightwish cannot reach the same level.

The surprising highlight of the album is the quadrinomial Lappi-Suite, which consists of two "normal" and two instrumental parts. The influences of Finnish folklore may need getting used to, but they give the suite a certain melancholy thatis very fascinating. Just typical Finnish.

Conclusion: A nice, but not world-shattering debut.

Favourite songs: Elvenpath, Lappi-Suite.

Mhhh... overrated fantasy cheese. - 27%

Shadespawn, April 8th, 2009

Nightwish is one of those bands from Scandinavia who don't need much of an introduction. Tuomas Holopainen is the mastermind behind Nightwish, being the only member who actually is gifted, musically speaking. As a child, he was of course also very "talented" in poetry and text composition. He was sent to study music at an early age, and by the time he was finishing school, he braucht his life project "Nightwish" to life. After the typical band member round up, a fixed line-up was formed. The foundation for becoming mega-stars in the common mainstream musical line was set. Nightwish quickly rose to fame in both the established metal scene, as well as in the modern pop scene.

After a relative successful demo tape back in 1996, their full length follow-up "Angels fall first" became a groundbreaking album, defining the late 90s genre of "epic" symphonic music infused into heavy metal, attaching itself to the genre like a parasite to a wild animal. This parasite of course leeches the life essence of the host, in this context of course, of heavy metal. Now, after maturising in the late 90s', Nightwish have also released some killer material on "Wishmaster" for example. But "Angels fall first" is a dull moment in their history, filled with cheesy and boring, melodramatic fantasy themed rubbish. Every song on this album is an uninspired piece of festering mold. Another example of the popular "not all debuts are legendary" case. This album satisfies everything a generic fantasy-fan requires. Pseudo-majestic cheesy guitar riffs, operatic keyboard passages, a beautiful drain of emotional atmosphere and to top it all off, a vocal offering from the most vain princess in white, Tarja Turunen (who later became a pop-idol all over Europe and such), that could make any teenage girl cry. Tuomas Holopainen also sings every once in a while, but, sadly, fails miserably in bringing his emotional stress into an authentic expression, sounding like a gloryhole-receiving-fag. Stay away from those public toilets. Yuck.

"Astral romance" is exactly the right call for this album, sounding like nothing inspiring. Like a big black nothing. To a metal fan this is less than appalling, it is in fact, a grotesque pain to the ears. While not being enough that the music itself is dull, lifeless and boring, Tarja also screws up most of the vocal passages, although it may not be always her direct fault (although the lyrics and melodies are by Toumas, heck you could almost call this band a Toumas-solo-effort). While I myself am a great fan of classical music, operas were never my cup of tea. The incredibly high soprano screeches simply do not appeal, sounding too vain to actually enjoy. Tarja makes no exception, driving glass to splitting, which is horrible. Good thing she improves this, sounding much better a few years later. But on this release and the next ones, she fails.

The lyrics are, as before hinted, lame random fantasy garbage. The pronunciation of certain words is also flawed. "Nymphomanic fantasia", what the hell is that? "Feel the ocean, lick my deepest", just what in the world is happening here? "Deeper shall be the wound between your legs", give me a break, this is horrible. I begin to doubt the celebrated lyrical "talent" this guy is supposed to have. The track "Know why the nightingale sings" sounds almost like the first one "Elvenpath" only a little more lame. Tracks that actually save the album from a complete zero are e.g. part I of the final song "Erämaajärvi" and part IV "Etiäinen". The rest is again cheese. The bonus tracks are also forgettable. Overall, a quite overrated and boring album. Not recommended.

The first step, a very solid and oustanding album! - 99%

Daniel_2007_Pendulum, February 28th, 2008

"Angels Fall First" still remains as one of the best Nightwish albums, although it was released more than 10 years ago! I acquired it recently (it's a little hard to find nowadays) because I wanted to listen wiht my own ears if it was as good as most of the people describe it. And they're right! It's an excellent album.

During the album, many of the ideas of an acoustic project by Tuomas can be sensed, but they give the album a very rare style, that has only been seen a very few times before. The songs "Lappi (Lapland)", "Angels Fall First" and "Once Upon a Troubadour" are a good proof of that.

But nothing is 100% "sweet" in metal, and this album is not an exception to that rule. The album contains many fast and mid-aggressive songs, like "Astral Romance", "Know Why The Nightingale Sings", "Elvenpath" and "Tutankhamen". The balance between the acoustic ballads and the power metal songs is shown for the first time by the band, making their next albums be worth to listen to.

If you can, get the Limited Edition of the album. Why? Maybe because only that edition includes the best song of the album, the masterpiece "A Return To The Sea". That song is close to perfection, and it still remains as my third favorite of thr band.

Most of the songs are spectacularly good, but the ones I personally recommend are: "Astral Romance" (I prefer its 2001 version, but this one is good, too), "Nymphomaniac Fantasia" (Tuomas' unfavorite, but I like it anyway although it has very short lyrics), "Tutankhamen" (a song to the ancient Egypt, if it had appeared later it could've been better), "Angels Fall First" (an acoustic song full of both light and dark elements), "Know Why The Nightingale Sings" (a very good power rock/metal song, I really like it), "Lappi (Lapland)" (a 9-minute song full of Finnish elements, those ones who say it's crappy are completely crazy!) and, of course, "A Return To The Sea".

I'm going to finish saying that this album is worth every cent you pay for it. It may be a little slow, but it has the style that has made the band famous (and it's their first album!).

The Start of An Era... - 89%

Wishmistress, June 4th, 2007

Nightwish's pioneer release, Angels Fall First, is an artistic and beautiful representation of the band at the beginning of their career. A combination of Tuomas's early ambition of acoustic mood music, and the symphonic metal that later developed, this album has its own distinct tone. Of all Nightwish's music, this album most clearly showcases the band's Finnish background with its mild folk atmosphere and two passages written in their native language.

While immature compared with later work, Tuomas's lyrics here do not fail to be breath-taking at certain moments. Perhaps my favorite line from the album comes from the title track, "Angels Fall First". "Yesterday we shook hands, my friend...Today, a moonbeam lightens my path...My guardian." When Tarja belts out that line, with her great emotion and strength, chills flood through my entire body.

Though strong and passionate as always, if not moreso, Tarja's voice is one of the largest problems with Angels Fall First. The rest of the band had yet to adapt to her operatic singing at the time of its recording, and had not yet reached a balance between her dramatic voice and their emotional music. The contrast can be almost painful to hear; as can be her pronounced accent and the sharp tone of her singing. Angels Fall First is also, undoubtedly, the most difficult Nightwish album to understand the lyrics to without referring to the CD insert for help.

A light mood reigns through most of this album, with the fantasy-based "Elvenpath", whimsicle "Nightengale", and the peppy [while slightly disturbing] "Tutankamen." Things slow down with the gorgeous, flute-driven ballad that earned the album its title, and again with the folk-influenced epic, Lappi, but never lose a certain happy charm. If nothing else, listening closely to the lyrics of "Nymphomaniac Fantasia" should be enough to bring a smile to anyones' face. Tuomas eventually stated in an interview that he regretted writing that particular song, and is also embarrassed by the presence of his voice, several times, on Angels Fall First. Tuomas Holopainen is certainly a great composer; the greatest, in my opinion. Still, I must agree that the singing would have been best left to Tarja for this album.

The production is raw, this being Nightwish's first release. Everything manages to be audible, however, which is more than enough for one who's used to early black metal production. If you're not in the same mindset about production, you may have to give this album more than a few listens before you'll catch everything, along with putting in the effort to enjoy the music despite the volume issues.

The music itself, however, is excellent. Flawless drums from Jukka, dependible guitar work from Emppu, and melodic, passion-filled keyboards, curtosy of Tuomas, make this album a great listen for all fans of metal. It also contains a large quantity of flute solos, which add a flowing beauty, and many acoustic guitar passages, which serve to build atmosphere and greatly enhance each song they're applied to. Unfortunately, there is really no bass to speak of, though very little is lost because of this.

Angels Fall First, though it suffers from the typical first-release problems, remains an important piece in any Nightwish collection. I would not reccommend that you venture into Nightwish's music with this album, if you are unfamiliar with the band, but rather begin with the far more accessible Wishmaster. If, however, you are an established fan with an open mind, do not overlook this 1996 masterpiece.

A greener yet powerful Nightwish experience. - 96%

hells_unicorn, March 20th, 2007

It is a risky business, getting a group of musicians together and trying out an experimental approach to an established style. If you’re not careful, you might find yourself in a place you would never think possible, as was most likely the case in the mind of founder, keyboardist and principle songwriter Tuomas Holopainen. He often noted when asked that his intent was to do a mostly acoustic/folk style of music, tapping the talent of newly graduated Sibelius Conservatory soprano Tarja Turunen and 2 other technically capable instrumentalists. Most of the elements of that approach are evident on “Angels Fall First”, Nightwish’s first LP, which followed a year after the band first started making music. But also evident are some hints at the direction that would ultimately define this band’s sound on the album after this.

An aspect of this album that shows the greenness of this outfit at this particular time is the obviously skewed vocal balance found in the duets. Both “Astral Romance” and “Beauty and the Beast” feature Tarja blasting out fortissimo inflected high notes while Tuomas tries desperately to be heard. Although he does not sing poorly, the lack of depth and range in his voice makes it almost seem like he is a tiny pixie courting an Olympian Goddess. “The Carpenter” also features Tuomas on vocals, but the song is mostly dominated by him and Tarja’s occasional sections are toned down quite a bit, striking a balance that makes it pleasing in the ears.

However, despite the occasional vocal imbalance and the somewhat weak production job, the songs on here are quite exceptional, if just a little bit too varied at times. “Beauty and the Beast” and “Astral Romance” function well as hybrid opera metal songs with plenty of changes and atmospheric keyboard devices. “Nymphomaniac Fantasia” and “Know why the Nightingale Sings” take a slower route, but have plenty of solid guitar moments that continue to make Nightwish’s more recent works powerful. “Tutankhamen” is an eastern influenced metal track that sounds quite a bit similar to Rainbow’s “Gates of Babylon”, though more keyboard driven. It’s not quite as riveting as “The Pharaoh Sails to Orion”, but it is a solid listen none the less. “Elvenpath” is the only power/speed metal track on here, sounding almost like it should have been on Oceanborn rather than this album. Nice dramatic intro featuring Tarja doing a spoken narrative, and overall a decent musical homage to J.R.R. Tolkein.

The remaining tracks on here are inspired folk metal tracks, featuring a lot of acoustic guitar work that would be abandoned on Oceanborn and then slowly reintroduced in smaller doses on later releases. “The Carpenter” has some electric guitar work in it, but mostly relies on acoustic instruments and keyboards to establish the atmosphere. “Angels Fall First” and “Lappi” are mostly acoustic, the former having a good set of hooks and some interesting time signature devices, while the latter is a 4 part epic sung in Finnish. Although I don’t speak the language fluently, I have a special love for Nightwish songs done in the language of their homeland; something in the way Tarja pronounces the words just ignites a magical fire that no doubt keeps the listener warm while contemplating the cold, snow covered land the song depicts.

To fans of Folk Metal, this is not quite a pure version of your preferred music, but it is quite charming nonetheless. Power and Gothic Metal fans may also find some things on here to like, although I would recommend that the former look into the 2 studio releases after this one for most of what they want. Although this album has the weakest production of anything I’ve ever heard by them, it still endures as my second favorite release by the band. It enjoyed a good deal of play in the aftermath of Tarja’s exodus from the band, if for no other reason that I felt the need to remember where this band came from before seeing what the new era of this band would bring.

A mindblowing debut - 98%

TommyA, March 12th, 2007

A lot of fans say that "Angels Fall First" is Nightwish's weakest album. I used to think that too, but after giving it a few spins, I changed my mind completely. This is actually their best release yet. The reason is that the passion put into this album is absent from their later releases. I'm probably going to spend hours on this review, but I just want to find the exact words to explain it.

One of the major things that make this album great is the vocals. Tarja is absolutely amazing. This is the only album in which her vocals are strictly operatic. From "Oceanborn" onwards, she sang 'normally' most of the time. (Although on "Oceanborn" she was still in the operatic range). Once you listen to "Angels Fall First" (the song) I assure you that you will consider Tarja as a goddess.

Another good thing about this album is Tuomos’ voice. I know that I am amongst the very, very few people that like it, but I strangely do. Sure it's not very powerful, and it's quite low, but it still delivers the same amount of emotion as Tarja's. It's also great to hear a poet sing his songs. Especially in "Beauty & the Beast", his voice leaves a nice contrast with Tarja's (even though he doesn't have the 'beast' kind of voice). There's no song in which I found Tuomos to be irritating. It's especially soothing and gives you a break from Tarja's bombast vocals.

Musically is where this album sounds very different from the other Nightwish releases. This album has more of a folk metal sound (even ambient metal, if you will), rather than the later-established symphonic metal sound. The keyboards don't play the same big part of the music as on "Oceanborn", while guitars (acoustic especially) have a much greater role. Overall, it's very simple music. No base guitar involved. It consists of guitars (acoustic as well as heavy), drums, keyboards and the use of a flute on some tracks.

Lyrically, this album is quite interesting. They can go from the fantasy-filled lyrics of "Elvenpath", to the weird and even scary ones of "Nymphomaniac Fantasia". One song which is striking when it comes to lyrics is the title track. It's amazing and beautiful poetry. Quite possibly the best lyrics Tuomos has ever written.

As for highlights, there are none. All nine tracks deserve a 10/10. However, I have to point out the songs that remain Nightwish jewels till this very day; "Elvenpath", "Astral Romance" (which sounds ten times better than the later-released remake), "Angels Fall First", "Lappi" and "Tutankhamen". The last one mentioned is my personal favorite. It's an Egyptian-themed song that's heavy and catchy at the same time.

In conclusion, "Angels Fall First" is a stunning and underrated release from Nightwish. None of their albums managed to strike me as much as this did. "Oceanborn" and "Century Child" came pretty close, but this one still remains a favorite. It's the last Nightwish album that you should buy (given that the sound isn't very accessible), but it's definitely their finest hour.

I'd recommend this to fans of Tristania, Sirenia, Epica and After Forever. I know that they're all much heavier than this, but I'm a fan of those bands and I find this to be absolutely amazing.

"Yesterday we shook hands
My friend
Today a moonbeam lightens my path
My guardian"

Not the best, but a good one - 86%

Novaline, April 21st, 2005

I like this album, not every single song, but a greater part of them. It is not, however, their best one. You can clearly tell from the differences in the songs that they have not yet found their style. But they have made an effort in creating a good album, I'll grant them that. You can't always expect the first album to be a great one, but it has to be good enough to keep a fan's interest up and I think they managed to do that with this album.

Overall, I believe the best songs on this album are Elvenpath, Tutankhamen, Know Why The Nightingale Sings and Angels Fall First. Listening to the later albums you realize that these are the tracks that contains some of what has become the Nightwish signature. They are well-composed, the arrangements fits really well with Tarja's voice, which is really strong on this particular album. While she has, unfortunately, lost some of the strength and power in her voice on later albums, she has managed to keep its quality on this one.
I don't care at all for The Carpenter, mostly because I am of the opinion that Toumas shouldn't sing, his voice doesn't fit it. He doesn't match Tarja's voice as well, when they sing together they sound terribly off-key. But on the average, it is a good album.

The only really good nightwish. - 90%

Shadow0fDeath, July 22nd, 2004

Nightwish's debut, Angels fall first, has proven to be a very powerful album. Like Covenant they released one album that is fucking great, a second that is mediocre and the rest plain suck. Angels fall first has a lot of diversity. A few tracks which depend heavily on orchestration, such as beauty and the beast, a few ballads like laplend, and angels fall first(which i might add is one of the best songs on the album) and the more heavier songs such as Elvenpath.

The orchestration on this album is pretty cool but only seems to make the overall sound have more feeling. Also Tarja's vocals were the absolute best on this album. On Oceanborn, wishmaster here vocals were mediocre and soon went to lame on later albums following a more lacuna coil style. On this album though she is able to pull off pretty good operatic vocals and they sound great on this album.

The guitar on this album reminds me of cradle of filth. Strong in the beginning but lost in the symphonic elements later throughout eachsong. Though the guitars aren't exactly necessary. Like the orchestration it's another tool to make the overall sound filled to the brim with musical power and feeling that makes you want to listen to the album over and over again. Great job with this album. Wish Nightwish would've stayed on the path with this type of sound.

My stepping stone to Nightwish... - 90%

Lunaray, June 3rd, 2004

This is nightwish's debut album, and its a pretty decent album, but its probably nightwish's weakest release. However, the songs in here are not consistant, and the production is not very good compared to their other album. Also, their style has not matured in their album, which also leads to the inconsistancy of some of the songs. However, their a few gems in here, and this was my stepping stone to nightwish, which makes me incredibly biased towards it >_>

1) Elvenpath (9.5/10)

This is the first nightwish song i've ever listened to, and it was also the one that got me hooked immediately. The first few moments of this song is a spoken speech by Tarja, which helps to build the atmosphere, before the song kicks off. This song is catchy and addicting, and has great riffs. Too bad cheesy lyrics plague this song, which accounts for the lost half mark.

2) Beauty and the beast (9.5/10)

Following Elvenpath is the beauty and the beast. Beginning with a symphonic melody, the guitars come in later. The keyboards are more present here than in their first song, and the guitar continues to churn out good riffs. Tuomas actually sings in this one. Well, his voice is decent in this one, but pales in comparison to Tarja's. The tempo changes frequently in this song too, from fast paced to a slow and somewhat jazzy.

3)The capenter (6.5/10)

I'm sorry, but letting Tuomas sing nearly a whole song is not what i'd expect in a nightwish song. Besides he sings really softly in this one and its nearly impossible to hear him. Also, the song suffers from boringness. Is it me or is there something wrong with the electric guitars riffs? It makes me want to sleep.

4)Astral romance (8.5/10)

Ouch, My ears hurt. Either the guitars are mixed too loudly or i have hearing problems. Well, Tarja's vocal parts in this songs good, but Tuomas's part wasn't. He sings too softly, and Tarja's voice far overpowers him. Other then that, the keyboard parts were good.

5) Angel fall First (9.5/10)

Instant redemption! This a great ballad, and very possibly my favourite nightwish ballad! The acoustic guitars plays a great melody, and so do the intruments. Unlike the typical nightwish ballad, the electric guitars do not come in at all, but the song doesn't need it. Its great by itself. I said this many times before, and i'll say it again: Tarja rocks. Her singing is great. The flutes also get a special mention here, because it fills the perfect place in this song.

6)Tutankhamen (8/10)

This song has a very obvious Egyption sounding melody. Tarja sound very haunting in this one too. Damn, the vocal parts are very well done, thanks to Tarja. This is a certainly very interesting song. The guitar riffs are well done too, playing to the egyption tune.

7)Nymphomaniac Fantasia (9/10)

Tuomas says that he hates this song, but i think its a pretty good song. Well of course, the lyrics and the title of this song is absolutely silly, but its a pretty good song inside. The guitars and the other instrument are well arranged.

8)Know why the nightingale sings (9/10)

A faster paced and "happier" sound song. The guitar riffs return to goodness and the keyboards near the end are also not bad. I'll just leave it here because i'm getting lazy and i have to review the next song.

9)Lappi (Lapland) (6/10)

Will someone come up here and tell me the overall usefulness of this song? Most of it is just filler. The first part of this song, Erämaajärvi, is a acoustic song sung in finnish. Problem here is that it is repetitive and gets old rather quickly. Fortunately, Tarja's voice saves it. The second part of this song, witchdrums, is a atmospheric 1 minute instrumental experimenting with drums and electronic sounds. The third part of this song, "this moment is eternity" doesn't exactly redeem it. Its rather bland and slow moving till the keyboard part in the middle onwards. Its still slow moving, but at least its interesting to listen. The fourth part of this song is probably my favourite part. The great acoustic guitars save it from being boring and Tarja's Vocals gives it an added touch.

All in all, this album is not bad for a debut album. However, better material are present in their other albums. Of course, i'll be biased and give it a high score anyway, of accounts of it being the first nightwish album i listened to.

Holds signs for the future! - 90%

Wez, October 31st, 2003

This is a great debut from this stunning and powerfully consistent band, but still probably their weakest release. This is a lot more reliant on the guitars than the keyboards, but this is in no way a hinderance, just a part of their sound they had to evolve from this energetic start. Taking a heavily influenced power metal style and fusing it with enchanting operatic vocals and a symphonic and elegant presence, this is an intriuging formula. While Wishmaster was my first album from this band, I can see how they could get to that from this. It contains no less energy than later releases, but there are a few cringe worthy parts to be found amongst all the brilliance. Tuomas, brilliant composer and lyricist (or maybe that should be poet!), not so good vocalist, though I have got a bit more used to the tracks in which he features: "Beauty And The Beast", "The Carpenter" and "Astral Romance". Tossing you squarely through moods, from the energetic opener "Elvenpath" through more subdued tracks, "The Carpenter", and a deep, beautiful ballad in "Angels Fall First", and back into the limitless energy of this band, "Tutankhamen" and "Know Why The Nightingale Sings" to the multi faceted and experimental "Lappi (Lapland)" which douses the senses in all these moods, leaving you satisfied with a well planned and executed album, with a style that Nightwish have perfected and called their own. Tarja's voice is of course what stands out amongst all of this, and so it would be shameful not to give her a worthy mention. She gives the band such a special and unique touch that really, it is not Nightwish without her, and although I feel she performs better on later albums, what she does here is more than enough to place her high on my list of top vocalists (years of study have indeed payed off). The rest of the band handle themselves with skill, and while not the most technical or complex playing, manage to create something of incredible depth and spirit. Mad props to Emppu, Tuomas and Jukka! ;)

My edition comes with an extra track, "A Return To The Sea" which is a very nice addition, that certainly fits on the album without any trouble. While not the most accessible Nightwish release, this certainly packs a punch even from first listen, and set the standard that Nightwish would raise on their next album.

A solid melo-doom-ish debut - 88%

OSheaman, August 7th, 2003

Nightwish is definitely a unique band. That much is given. With these pioneers and forerunners of the symphonic metal/operatic vocals scene, we have a solid yet very different power band.

The sound in this debut isn't completely mature yet, but it's still very good. The overall atmosphere is some sort of melodic doom with the occasional symphonic interludes and acoustic guitar solos--it hasn't fully formed into the huge, powerful sound that has come to define Nightwish as a band.

The key here is, of course, the vocals provided by Tarja Turunen, who is a beautiful operatic vocalist with an absolutely stunning voice. The smooth, powerful vocals completely make the band, and Turunen pulls off her job completely. There is hardly a hitch in this album--if it weren't for the guitar and drums, you could almost imagine yourself listening to some sort of rendition of Puccini's Madame Butterfly rather than a metal album. The guitar playing is solid, although there isn't a lot of riffage overall. The solos are few and far between--the vocals are obviously center stage in this album--but the backup playing is solid and steady and when the solos do show up, they are done quite well. The acoustic guitar solos are very beautiful, but they tend to be just a bit too long. What is most notable is the harmonies you can hear with both the vocals and the acoustic guitars--the chords and melodies are really beautiful and calming in nature, while still carrying a bit of that punchy ass-kicking that defines metal as a whole. Drums are solid, but there are never any complex beats here (very similar to most Doom Metal compositions), so there's nothing mind-blowing going on in percussion.

Song highlights. Elvenpath has really awesome riffage and great harmonies vocally, with beautiful interludes on keyboard. Beauty and the Beast is one of Nightwish's most famous songs, and it is very well-done, with great vocals provided by both Tarja and Tuomas. Tutankhamen is probably the most headbangable (is that a word?) song on here, with a slow but steady doom beat provided by the drums. Know Why the Nightingale Sings has some really great riffage and some excellent interludes in between the beautiful vocals.

This album isn't quite as impressive as some of Nightwish's other stuff, but in general it is a very solid album. Fans of the style certainly won't want to miss it, and Doom Metal fans looking to branch out a little should definitely give it a try.

Excellent debut! - 90%

Silmaril, May 25th, 2003

This debut album by Nightwish is a very well achieved and enjoyable record. Even though it sounds different than the other Nightwish releases, it doesn't mean that it is less "Nightwish" than them, you know what I mean?
Anyway, the guitars here have slower, longer and also more crunchy riffs, the keyboards don't have much predominance, and I'd prefer calling this a sort of ambient-metal, rather than symphonic metal, given that there's a strong acoustic component.
Elvenpath is a good starter, with a fantsay theme to kick off this album, followed by Beauty and the Beast, two of the best tracks in the album, Astral Romance is also good, and the title track is an acoustic track where we can hear a very sorrowful Tarja. Tutankhamen returns to full metal with an Egyptian feeling and to the mystic lyrics. Nymphomaniac Fantasia features acoustic guitars in the beggining, a symphonic component, metal instrumentation and keyboard sounds in the end.
Know why the Ninghtingale Sings is the song which pleased me the less, and it's followed by the 4-part ambient song Lappi. This is one of my favourite songs, the first track is acoustic and sung in Finnish, the second part consists of drums and keyboards, the third part uses metal guitars together with piano and keys and a return to the use of vocals, absent in the 2nd part. The fourth and last part is an acoustic ending with Tarja not singing any lyrics but just using her beautiful voice with an ambient purpose. This final song is a beautiful ambient effort, not just for metal fans, I think anyone can enjoy it!

Best Nightwish album by far - 100%

Symphony_Of_Terror, March 5th, 2003

This is by far the best Nightwish album, and also, the most metal Nightwish album. Agnels Fall First has a very different sound to it than all other Nightwish albums. Since Oceanborn Nightwish has had a very symphonic synthesizer based sound, with powerful drums and bass to add volume. On angels fall first Nightwish tries a different approach using less synths/keyboards, and more grungy, heavy guitars. Nightwish also extensivily uses acoustic guitars on this album, which gives it a very nice classic and folk sound. Angels fall first does have some of the elements the later Nightwish albums use like synths, but not so much, this album is much more guitar based, with more folk and metal elements and influences than symphonic. The band also uses a man vocalist in this album which adds to the folk metal feel of Angels Fall FIrst
The title track off this album is perhaps the most unique Nightwish song, with is an acoustic ballad with powerful operatic vocals from Tarja. Overall this album has many good parts, nice riffs, well done keyboard which add complexity to the songs, no overdone drums like on later Nightwish albums. Nightwishes best album, a must own for any Nightwish or folk metal fan. I can honestly see no flaw with this album.

On par with their other stuff... - 90%

MarkRyan, July 15th, 2002

I'm not hard-core into metal at all, really, but it seems to me that the general consensus about Nightwish's albums is that "Angels Fall First" is their, mmm, least-good one.

...Though it just might be my favorite.

Maybe I'm about to lose all credibility here, but I LOVE the songs in which Tuomas sings - ah, to hear it sung by the poet himself! Beauty and the Beast is a beautiful example (especially since his singing fits the "beast" theme - he's not terrible, but he's also not Tarja). It's just a beautiful song.

There are two songs which stand above the rest, though. The one I think almost all can agree on is "Astral Romance" - a beautiful and grand melody with poignant lyrics (with a touch of Tuomas), the song is truly stirring. It's since been re-recorded and released on their "Over the Hills" release. Both versions are incredible, and I'm guessing most will be more drawn to the re-recorded version, since Tuomas' parts were re-written, and then performed by someone else, and the instruments have more metal to them (errr, I guess). I still think I prefer the "Angels Fall First" version :).

...The other song that strikes me moreso than others is "Lappi" - a four part/track song that covers multiple paces and sounds (part one, "Eramajaarvi," has Finnish lyrics, for example). It's a very moving piece, and possibly the least metal song on the album (right next to the title track, "Angels Fall First"), which is why not all may agree with me here. Though it is undeniably beautiful.