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Maybe best wishes, but not the best of. - 65%

hells_unicorn, June 13th, 2010

Not more than a year to the day that Nightwish’s first full blown best of album “Tales From The Elvenpath” was put into circulation, in typical fashion, the Japanese demand equal footing with their own compilation for their own flock of metal faithful. Like with your typical Japanese version of a studio release, the differences between the two are slight, but in this case the western version actually edges out this one, and for the ironic fact that it doesn’t get the job done in offering additional rarities.

“Bestwishes” is tilted more heavily in favor of “Wishmaster” in terms of its song inclusion, to the slight detriment of both “Oceanborn” and “Century Child”. This is compensated for by making the listening experience much longer by keeping basically all the same crowd pleasing songs in the mix, and also including a few outliers from “Angels Fall First” in the meandering epic duet “Beauty And The Beast” and the mid paced rocker and keyboard heavy “Know Why The Nightingale Sings”. Add these to the collection of equivalent songs from “Oceanborn” and “Wishmaster” and you come up with a release that is saturated with similar sounding songs that have differing production practices.

But the ultimate flaw in this offering is the absence of any rarities apart from the modified version of “Sleepwalker”, which is not the strongest b-side the band has put out by a long shot. Whereas with the 2004 compilation you have a shot at the hard edged classic “Nightquest” and the fun and catchy highland inspired anthem “The Wayfarer”, here there is just a larger collection of songs from 2 studio albums that are already well represented on the last best of. There is a bit of a silver lining in the pacing department as the album closes with the somber ballad “Sleeping Sun” rather than jolting b-side, leaving the listener with a very powerful sense of closure, but this proves to be the only area where this listens like a superior album.

The Japanese slipped up here, but given their very impressive track record at yanking rarities out of bands that would sooner leave them locked in the vault, and the large collection of worthwhile bands they’ve put out, they can be forgiven. However, unless you happen to live in Japan, this isn’t worth picking up with added import costs. The album art may be a nice little change from the cliché imagery associated with Nightwish via their studio releases, but that’s not worth blowing $20 over when there’s a better release to be had.