So… The Endless Forms Most Beautiful…
I usually don’t do reviews… unless something really annoys me and I need to vent, but this album left me a little vexed.
I love Nightwish. They’ve been around forever, they put on an AMAZING show, and they have a huge body of work that includes serious music as well as lighthearted stuff. ‘Dark Chest of Wonders’ is still one of my favorite songs.
As much as I hate to say this, but the band appeared to be in a state of decline. Parting ways with Tarja was a pretty bad hit, but then they went through a series of guest singers… including Elise Ryd, before settling on Annette Olzen. It was at this point that I simply couldn’t go see them live anymore. Annette was simply a poor choice as a replacement as she was barely able to sing many of Tarja’s songs. Now I know there is a huge debate on pretty much every Nightwish YouTube video on who was the better singer.
‘Anette is a pop princess who isn’t a good metal singer and she has a weak voice.’
‘Tarja was a mediocre opera singer who had run her course and was too difficult to deal with.’
Fine, whatever. I really don’t care about that debate. Regardless of which singer you think was better, I’d like to make two points;
- Anette can’t sing Tarja’s songs well. Not in the least:
- Dark Passion Play was a departure from their old style and really updated the band, bringing in a new audience and was an amazing album.
So regardless of whether you like either singer, it happened and there’s nothing that anyone can do about it.
Anyway… on point, when I found out that Nightwish was picking up Floor Jansen, I was excited. I followed her work with ReVamp and was a fan. Then Showtime Storytime came out…
Hearing her belt out that last line sent chills down my spine. I now listen to this version of DCOW over the Tarja version. Floor was a great direction for Nightwish. Her style brings back the Tarja crowd while still keeping the Anette fans happy. In essence, she’s a happy medium between the two styles.
So needless to say… I had great anticipation about Nightwish’s next album. The singles came out first. Elan was great and so was the title song. I couldn’t wait to get my hand on the album and listen to it all the way through.
I got that opportunity this morning after it arrived in the mail. I popped it in and the usual mystic-style intro came on. Then one by one I listened to the songs… and my reactions was… meh?
I won’t say that the other songs on the album were terrible, but they weren’t really anything impressive either. Nightwish Albums usually have two or three non-singles that are pretty good and that’s what I usually grab the album for. This… this album had NONE of that.
So is it a terrible album? Well… not really… I mean the two singles are good, the intro song is fine, the music well done and of course Floor Jansen is a lot of fun… but the songs themselves really didn’t jive with me. They’re the songs on an album you let play when you’re not really paying attention and don’t care.
Is it their worst album? NO! Imaginarium still holds that one… seriously, there’s barely a single song on that CD worth listening to. It’s the one Nightwish Album that I refuse to purchase.
So what went wrong? Well… you can attribute many things to this… for starters they recruited a flutist into their ranks who had played with them previously, but was never an official member, second they were just starting out with Floor, but I don’t find the latter to be an excuse. Bands change singers all the time and do just fine:
Unfortunately, the blame must inevitably lie with Tuomos. What he was attempting to do was a pretty big departure from the style that made the band famous, and while they’ve altered their style slightly in the past, they’ve always kept it within the Realm of Symphonic Metal. This album strikes me far more as Folk Metal, which is really easy to screw up. Symphonic melodies and metal almost go hand in hand, but folk is an almost totally different form of music all together with different themes and different styles. In the end, the songs he composed. while ambitious, fell flat on his face.
So is the album worth a listen? Absolutely. Is it worth the $10 purchase price? Eh… not really, no.
Just remember, this is my personal opinion. If you like the album, no problem. I can understand why someone would, but to me, it’s a rough draft on something great that Nightwish has in store for us. We’ll just have to wait a few years for their next album.
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