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Four great ballads - 80%

Emerald_Sword, November 21st, 2009

Nightwish is equalled by few and excelled by none when it comes to the noble art of writing metal ballads. This EP only contains four songs, and for that reason I feel that a track-by-track review is somewhat justified.

Sleeping Sun is a gorgeous song. Tinkling keys, some strings and standard drumming form the backbone while Tarja enchants the listener with her mesmerizing voice. After the second chorus Emppu Vuorinen enters with a short, melodic solo before Tarja delivers the last chorus with a range that seems to know no bounds. One of the best metal ballads ever.

According to Tuomas Holopainen, the original version of Walking in the Air is the most beautiful song ever. I don't like it very much, mostly because of the vocals, but this cover is amazing. Structurally it's very similar to Sleeping Sun, but it turns into a full-blown metal song after the solo, when the entire band enters the stage and Tarja has to wail her lungs out to keep up.

Swanheart is a bit different. It's a rather dramatic song where the verses consist of nothing but Tarjas vocals and some subtle keys. The second half of the song is almost entirely instrumental.

Angels Fall First is the dark horse of the EP. The flute and the bleak lyrics create a very desolate atmosphere that Nightwish has been unwilling or unable to recreate on their later albums. Some nice acoustic guitar playing in this song, as well.

Overall this is probably the best thing Nightwish released to promote the Oceanborn album. Unlike most EPs, this is actually worth getting. Even if you dislike metal ballads, this album might convert you.