NIGHTWISH - “Once” (C.D. - Nuclear Blast - 2004) reviewed by: MetalKnight
|Track Listing1. Dark Chest Of Wonders|
2. Wish I Had An Angel
4. Planet Hell
5. Creek Mary’s Blood
6. The Siren
7. Dead Gardens
9. Ghost Love Score
10. Kuolema Tekee Taiteitijan
11. Higher Than Hope
At their 5th album “Once” is also the heaviest release by Nightwish. Here we find the Finnish quintet employing none other than the London Symphony Orchestra to embellish their songs. However this orchestra never steals the listener`s focus at the expense of the band.
On to the album: “Once” contains more riffing than previous Nightwish releases. The mixing of the C.D. is also different in that Tarja’s voice, great as ever, is not overshadowing many guitar passages. A few synthetic percussion sounds are used, such as on ‘Wish I Had An Angel’, and this shall certainly raise a few eyebrows.
In respect to the previous Nightwish album “Century Child”, bassist Marco Hietala`s vocal capabilities (Marco sang lead vocals in a number of bands including Tarot), are used to greater effect. And to be honest, he’s got quite a good voice.
Lyrics seem inspired by fables and myths to which the band tries to give a modern touch – `Creek Mary’s Blood` and `The Siren` are 2 such examples.
“Once” shall probably not go down well with all the band’s fans, and it might not be their best album. But I feel this album is a step in the right direction. It presents the band as mature, one not prepared to let its music stagnate.
MY RATING: 7/10
--Chris [MetalKnight] - firstname.lastname@example.org 11.12.04
Orchestral power metal doesn't get any
better than this
The last time I gave Nightwish a spin, 1998's 'Oceanborn', I felt the operatic power metal was like a bad blend of Helloween, Yanni, and Charlotte Church. Given the number of great reviews out there for the new CD 'Once', I took another chance on the band and couldn't have been more pleased. The muddled metal mix I heard before is now a powerhouse of diamond force and beauty.
The songs themselves are the real strength of "Once". Lead singer Tarja Turunen is immensely talented, but her strong vocals and the full orchestration never overpowers the record or the individual songs as I felt they did before. The fast-paced, Euro-power metal is focused with razor-sharp, heavier-than-I-expected guitar riffs and the keyboards are more accessible than new-agey. "Once" could lead to a new of round of soundtrack-inspired metal.
From the single-friendly "Dark Chest of Wonders" and "Dead Gardens" to the epic "Ghost Love Story" and "Creek Mary's Blood", lyrics are inspiring and literary enough that when combined with the symphonic touches give off a theater feel that draws me into its atmospherics.
"Once" is a vital, artistic achievement not to be missed. Orchestral power metal doesn't get any better than this.