Reviewed: November 1999
Released: 1998, Spinefarm
Well, the Europeans have done it again. They have graced us with yet another gem of a metal album while at the same time they have seemingly created a new sub-genre of metal. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the operatic-metal power of Nightwish.
If there were any justice in this world, Nightwish would be headlining shows around the world and selling hundreds of thousands of albums. The band plays a heady combination of metal, hard rock, and opera (vocalist Tarja was trained as an opera singer). This may sound like a very odd combination for a metal band, but believe me; the sounds flowing like wine from the Nightwish guitars can be mistaken for nothing else. In a sense, this is fairly complex power-metal a la Blind Guardian, but with a heavy emphasis on principle songwriter Tuomas’ keyboards. His keyboards swirl and dive like the owl on the album cover, perfectly accentuating the guitars and the pounding rhythm section. Which brings us to the vocals of Tarja. These can be summed up in one word: Captivating! Her breathy voice is the perfect counterpoint to the atmosphere of the music. One need only check out the brilliance of first single “Sacrament Of The Wilderness” for an example of the way that her voice can carry you through a song.
While I’m totally amazed at the beauty that this band can create (I DARE you to get lost in “Passion And The Opera”), the sad fact is that the splendor of this band will be lost on the general metal crowd. I can hear the cries of rage from the close-minded “true” metalists now. Well, it will be their loss, and the rest of us with open minds can enjoy Nightwish for what they are – a new METAL band that’s not afraid to be different and try to create something new. Watch for a new full-length sometime in early 2000. No doubt it will be a masterpiece where lovers and punters collide.
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