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May 2004
Released: 2004, Spinefarm Records
Rating: 4.1/5
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen

One of the strongest and most respected forces from Finland on the international metal territory, is undoubtedly Nightwish whse unique “Opera Metal (hardly a descriptive enough and very limiting word for their music, but still very commonly used about them, tho)” has melted many metal hearts around the globe. The band´s last studio album CENTURY CHILD has sold nearly a half million copies worldwide thus far, so their fans cannot be completely wrong about a glowing superiority of the band´s musical concept.

Prior to Nightwish´s highly anticipated 5th studio album ONCE, the 1st single off the forth-coming Nightwish epos is already out and it´s called NEMO. There´s gonna be at least 3 different versions for this available and the one I´m holding in my hairy hands right now, contains 4 songs added with an enhanced studio footage about the making of NEMO plus in addition some photos taken from their recording session for ONCE.

“Nemo” would be considered as a perfect choice for the band´s 1st single from ONCE. It´s kind of an epic sounding, somewhat orchestrated, beautiful ballad type of Nightwish –tune which in fact has every standard trademarks of the Nightwish sound in it as far as the song´s basic musical ingredients are concerned. Tarja´s voice is as captivating and simply brilliant as always and the whole song tends to be a very radio friendly song, too. “Nemo” has been played constantly and non-stop in every Finnish radio program since it came out and I bet it will get a lot of airplay in many other radio stations around the world as well.

“Planet Hell”, like I already have proclaimed in public, is a really pompously roaming, epic and very soundtrack´ish song what we actually can expect to hear more on ONCE. A set of horns & strings, both Tarja´s and Marco´s splendidly arranged and presented vocal parts, powerful choir sections, Emppu´s heavy and shredding guitar riffs that cut the horizon like lightnings in a thunder storm, are the true core of this marvelously composed song in a hard nutshell. When I heard this particular song at a pre-listening session for ONCE arranged by their record company Spinefarm Records, it even became one of the instant favorite songs of mine off ONCE. Excellent... and I´m at loss for finding a better word at the very second, sorry!

In “White Night Fantasy” Tuomas & co. have thought to ´experiment´ a little bit musically within the borders of a good taste, tho. Especially Tarja´s use of her otherwise so flawless operatic vocalism, has got new colors as her vocal approach is less operatic and - may I claim my back straightened up, more Pop –orientated, kind of reaching something that is occasional rather similar to Nina Hagen´s voice, for example. A certain calmness and mellowness surround the main atmosphere in the song and there really isn´t anything bad to say about it. But I can clearly see the point why this song never made it to ONCE due to that simply of the simpliest facts it´s just so different as a song compared to the rest of the songs on ONCE.

An orchestrated version of “Nemo” could be considered purely as a sheer ´extra tune´ on this 4-track single and nothing more really. I don´t wanna sound rude or harsh or anything, but I have always felt that this type of multi-different versions out of some certain songs are pretty unnecessary and useless, to be this honest with all of you. But there apparently always has been, is and will be a bunch of people who care and understand a ´value´ of this type of different versions. I just don´t get excited about them THAT much at all...

However, for every true Nightwish –fan NEMO can still be considered as a 100% obligatory purchase because songs like the title track of this single “Nemo” and “Planet Hell” underlined especially, will surely make them buy ONCE when it eventually hits stores around cities, countries and continents on this globe everywhere...
Track Listing

01. Nemo
02. Planet Hell
03. White Night Fantasy
04. Nemo (orchestral version)


Tarja Turunen – Vocals
Tuomas Holopainen – Keys & piano
Emppu Vuorinen – Guitar shredding
Jukka Nevalainen – Drums
Marco Hietala – Bass & vocals

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