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Rarity hounds, enjoy! - 95%

hells_unicorn, June 13th, 2010

There is no greater treat for a certified completist, or any other form of Nightwish fanatic, than an EP aching with rarities the way this one does. Although some would be content to simply get a few b-sides on a best of compilation alongside other songs that they should already have if they love this band, the truly rapid entourage will go for the goods when they are offered, and essentially “Bless The Child” is a rehash of the single with the same name, but with a healthy dose of steroids to make it rival Arnold Schwarzenegger during his “Pumping Iron” days.

There’s naturally a lot to be said for the title song, which shows the band toning down the speed and the riff assault in favor of an even more melodic and atmospheric sound than what was heard on the dense musical landscapes that was “Wishmaster”. It’s among the easiest to follow of the band’s epic tunes, has a fair amount of narration like “Dead Boy’s Poem” and flows smoothly from start to finish. Tarja’s vocal arrangements on here are absolutely stunning, and essentially mimic a full choir of female chamber singers flawlessly. Interestingly enough, the other studio album song that made it on to here is the other narration heavy, atmospheric number from the previous album “Dead Boy’s Poem”.

But the real meat and potatoes of this release, and the only reason that it would ever be on anyone’s radar, is the wide assortment of b-sides from Nightwish’s early and middle era that made it onto here. The famed bonus song from “Oceanborn” “Sleeping Sun” is absent, but given its mainstream acceptance and subsequent rerelease, it isn’t really missed here. Throw in a couple of rarities that appeared on the special edition of “Angels Fall First” in the full out folk music fest “Once Upon A Troubadour” (which does feature Tuomas giving probably his weakest vocal performance ever, though that isn’t saying much) and the small symphonic ode to the ocean waves “A Return To The Sea”, featuring a solid “Heaven And Hell” inspired groove coupled with some great ambient keyboard work and Tarja charming the ears as only she can.

This is the EP that essentially destroys any of Nightwish’s compilations or other rarity releases, apart from maybe the rerelease of “Sleeping Sun”, which when coupled with this would cancel out any non-live or non-studio releases for those who have already procured the entirety of both. Its appeal will likely be limited as it is not geared towards the lukewarm or even mostly warm Nightwish follower, but this completist is proud of owning this and takes regular occasions to break it out of the case and rock out to “Nightquest” and the live version of “Come Cover Me”.

Pretty damn impressive... - 75%

Nightcrawler, September 25th, 2003

...For an EP, anyway. This is pretty much a preview of what was to come on "Century Child", although there are a couple of notable difference. First of all, only one of the four songs found here is a ballad- and it's way better than any ballad found on "Century Child". The rest is pretty classic Nightwish stuff, a little less straightforward and more keyboard-based than the stuff like "End Of All Hope" and "Dead To The World".

The "Bless The Child" EP (or single, whatever you prefer) has been released in quite a number of editions. This one has four tracks; "Bless The Child", "The Wayfarer", "Sleepwalker" and "Nightquest". "Bless The Child" is also the opening track from "Century Child" (see my reviews for special notes about that one).
The highlight of the EP is the second track, "The Wayfarer". It seems something like a follow-up to "Wishmaster"'s "Wanderlust". It begins with a very memorable and uplifting keyboard melody, that right before the finish suddenly tunes down and in comes this monster fucking riff that will completely knock you off your feet. Amazing stuff. The entire song is amazing throughout, with enchanting vocals, solid riffwork and catchy keyboards.
"Sleepwalker" is a magnificent ballad, despite some annoying almost techno-ish keyboard effects at random points. Very slow and emotional, and with a mesmerizing atmosphere.
"Nightquest" is another asskicker. Starting with a cool but strangely distorted guitar riff using production similar to the opening riff on "Children of Bodom" (the song), and from them goes on at a pretty fast pace with lots of keyboard melodies and also there's this groovy piano break. Tarja's vocal performance on the chorus is especially notable, along with a wicked guitar solo.

This is what "Century Child" should've sounded like. Featuring three standard Nightwish tracks of very high quality and one solid ballad, this is definitely worth spending some money on if you find it. However, obviously there are only 4 songs on here, and it really leaves you wanting more.