- Tuomas Holopainen - Keyboards
- Marco Hietala - Bass & Vocals
- Floor Jansen - Vocals
- Emppu Vuorinen - Guitars
- Kai Hahto - Drums
- Troy Donockley - Woodwinds
A six-piece sypmhonic metal band. They are one of the most popular metal bands from the Nordic area. Here is their story.
1996: ONCE UPON A TIME…
It’s July, 1996. A hidden campfire looms on the island in the middle of Lake Pyhäjärvi, Kitee. Then at midnight, something happens that has far-reaching consequences. Tuomas Holopainen has an idea of a solo project that would play atmospheric “mood music.”
The idea quickly crystallises: the sound would include acoustic guitars, flutes, strings, piano – and female vocals. Guitarist Erno “Emppu” Vuorinen and vocalist Tarja Turunen soon join the project.
1997: RECORD DEAL
Holopainen’s embryonic idea takes form in just a few months, and the first Nightwish demo is completed in early 1997. Outsiders’ opinions are reservedly positive, and the seeds sown during the summer start sprouting during the freezing winter of Karelia.
New dimensions soon appear in the band’s music: Vuorinen changes from acoustic to electric guitar, and Jukka Nevalainen joins as the drummer. A few weeks of furious practise culminate in a studio demo recorded in April, featuring seven songs by the new line-up.
The songs attract the attention of Spinefarm Records, and the band is offered a deal. During the summer, Nightwish record four more songs, and their debut album Angels Fall First is released in November. The album rises to number 31 on the Finnish charts, while the single, The Carpenter has already made it to Top Ten.
Wrapping up a year of surprisingly hectic action, Nightwish play their debut gig on New Year’s eve. Over 400 people show up at Huvikeskus, Kitee, and the band is jumpy as hell, but the concert surpasses all expectations.
1998: TURNING PRO
After their debut live appearance, Nightwish play only a few select gigs, as compulsory military service and studies prevent any heavy-duty touring. On just their second gig, they hit the stage of Lepakko, Helsinki, and everybody is extremely nervous: Turunen bursts into tears on stage and Tuomas nearly passes out from sheer excitement. Still, the band pass their trial by fire with flying colours and without any emotional or physical scars.
During the summer, Nightwish recruit a permanent bassist, Sami Vänskä. The summer is spent writing new material, and the band enter the studio in early August. Oceanborn, an album significantly more powerful and professional than their debut, is released on December 7. Mixed by Mikko Karmila, who will later become their trusted ally, Oceanborn rises to number five on the Finnish charts. The success surprises everyone, although the single, Sacrament of Wilderness had already conquered the pole position of the singles charts.
1999: ABROAD AHOY!
Oceanborn is released internationally during the spring, boosted by the new single, Sleeping Sun that sells more than 15,000 copies in a few weeks in Germany alone.
When the guys get out of the army, Nightwish are truly able to hit the live circuit, and as Nightwish is booked for almost all major Finnish festival, the summer sees some furious gigging.
The lively festival season ends on a happy note, as both Oceanborn and the single, Sacrament of Wilderness are certified Gold. Shortly afterwards, Nightwish embark on their first European tour, supporting Rage for four weeks during November and December.
2000: THE FIRST WORLD TOUR
The new millennium begins with busy activity, as Nightwish start recording their third album during the first weeks of January. The band also take part in the Eurovision Song Contest, overwhelmingly winning the public vote, but the jury responsible for the final choice does not want Nightwish to represent Finland.
Wishmaster is released in mid-May, and the band celebrate the occasion with a concert at the Kitee Icehall. The album rises to number one on the Finnish charts and stays there for three weeks, earning a Gold Record. Wishmaster is released internationally during early summer, and the CD becomes the Album of the Month in several magazines, particularly in Germany.
Boosted by the success of Wishmaster, Nightwish set out on their first world tour, and the summer months see the band perform to crazed audiences in places like Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Panama, and Mexico. In the autumn, Nightwish headline their first European tour, and in late November, they fly to North America for the first time to play two concerts in Montreal.
To cap off a hectic year, Nightwish play a concert in Tampere that’s recorded and shot for DVD. During the gig at Pakkahuone, the guys are also presented with some valuable memories, as the domestic sales of Wishmaster have earned them a Platinum Record.
2001: FROM CRISIS TO NEW HEIGHTS
There’s no rest for Nightwish, as the band immediately hit the studio after a Finnish tour early in the year. The EP, Over the Hills and Far Away is released in June and stays on the charts for nearly a year. The concert recorded at Pakkahuone comes out in April, titled, From Wishes to Eternity – Live.
Nightwish play their last concert of the year in Nivala already in mid-September – and it could have well been their swan song, as Vänskä’s interest in the band is waning, Turunen spends less and less time with the other musicians, and numerous problems have kept piling up. After finishing the tour, Holopainen states that the story of Nightwish is most likely at its end.
While hiking in the wilds of Lapland in the autumn, the mastermind changes his mind, however: Nightwish will continue their career – but only after major tweaks have been made. Ewo Pohjola from Spinefarm Records becomes the band’s manager, King Foo Entertainment starts booking the gigs, and Vänskä is replaced by bass player and vocalist Marco Hietala.
To mark the beginning of the new era, the band’s own online merchandise store Nightwish-Shop is opened in November in connection with the band’s home page.
2002: GOLD ALBUMS & SOLD-OUT GIGS
Nightwish quickly gain momentum again, as they start recording Century Child in January. The single, Ever Dream comes out in early May and earns them a Finnish Gold Record in two days. After three weeks, Century Child does even better, selling Gold in just two hours. In Germany, the album rises to number five on the official charts.
A South American tour in July turns out to be a triumph with many sold-out gigs, and the successful gigs continue in South Korea, Russia, and all over Europe.
At the end of the year Nightwish take a break, but the musicians still keep themselves busy with other projects, like Sethian, For My Pain, Trio Niskalaukaus, Altarian, and Tarot.
2003: CONCERTS, DVD & STUDIO WORK
Nightwish kick off the year with high-profile appearances in Germany at König-Pilsener Arena, Oberhausen and at Zenith, Munich. In the end, the band manage to squeeze in only a few Finnish gigs but appear on such European festivals as Bloodstock (UK), Lowlands (NL), and M’era Luna (GER). Across the pond, they play places like New York, Atlanta, and Mexico City.
A documentary DVD, End of Innocence is released in the beginning of October, and during the final months of the year, the band start recording their fifth album.
2004: THE MOST POPULAR BAND IN EUROPE!
Early 2004 flies by fast in the studio, and in early June, Once is released; an hour-long musical masterpiece that introduces new flavours to the band’s trademark sound. The British genius Pip Williams has created some majestic orchestral and choral arrangements, and the Native American musician John Two-Hawks appears on the track, Creek Mary’s Blood.
Once tops the charts in Finland as well as in Germany, Norway, Hungary, and Greece, and becomes the most successful album of the summer in Europe. The first single release, Nemo is followed by Wish I Had an Angel, Kuolema tekee taiteilijan, and The Siren.
The “Once” World Tour kicks off from Kitee Ice Hall in late May and takes Nightwish on a long journey through USA, South America, and Europe.
2005: END OF A TOUR, END OF AN ERA
As the “Once” World Tour criss-crosses through Europe in February, Holopainen and Hietala take a short break and fly to Finland, where they are presented with no less than five awards in the prestigious Emma Gala. The European leg of the tour ends on a grand scale, as the band play in Stuttgart, Germany, for over 10,000 people.
During a busy summer, Nightwish appear alongside such luminaries as Iron Maiden and Mötley Crüe. Early autumn offers the band no respite, as they continue to sell out places such as Hammersmith Apollo, London and play an arena gig with the Scorpions at a São Paulo arena. In September, a greatest hits album called Highest Hopes: The Best of Nightwish is released.
The “Once” World Tour culminates in a sold-out gig at Hartwall Arena, Helsinki, where almost 12,000 fans fill the arena. The final gig of the tour is recorded for the forthcoming release, End of an Era.
All in all, the “Once” World Tour comprised of over 130 concerts, enabling the fans in places like Australia, Columbia, Poland, Portugal, and Greece to see the band for the first time. After tireless touring, Once had sold about one million copies.
However, the year was not over yet — far from it. Immediately after the final concert, Tarja Turunen is presented with an open letter signed by the musicians in the band. Their message is clear: Holopainen, Nevalainen, Vuorinen, and Hietala have decided to continue Nightwish without Turunen. The “Once” World Tour had shown the rest of the band that continued collaboration with Turunen and her husband and manager Marcelo Cabuli had become impossible.
2006: NEW RELEASES, NEW PLANS
As the hullaballoo caused by Turunen’s departure slowly dies out, Nightwish announce a search for new vocalist. In early summer, the DVD, End of an Era is released, along with a biography by Mape Ollila called, Once upon A Nightwish.
The musicians spend their summer on the Finnish countryside, rehearsing and arranging the songs for their forthcoming album, and the actual recordings begin in September.
2007: A NEW FRONT WOMAN IS ANNOUNCED, THE WORLD AWAITS
All in all, Nightwish receive over two thousand demos from hopeful vocalists. The task seems endless, but slowly but surely the number of candidates decreases. After considering long and hard, the band choose Anette Olzon from Sweden as their new front woman. The recording of Dark Passion Play then continues at Abbey Road studios, London and at Finnvox, Helsinki.
The veil of secrecy is lifted at the end of May, when Nightwish announce the identity of their new singer in connection with the release of Eva, the first single off the forthcoming album. Yet another single, Amaranth, is released before Dark Passion Play is finally unleashed in the end of September. The multifaceted album sells 50,000 copies in Finland in one day.
Just as Once incorporated new influences to the band’s sound a few years earlier, Dark Passion Play also sees Nightwish navigate unknown waters: Master Passion Greed is probably the heaviest track the band had ever recorded, while Last of the Wilds, featuring the multi-instrumentalist Troy Donockley, takes the listener to the moors of Scottish Highland.
The “Dark Passion Play” World Tour kicks off with three secret warm-up gigs under various pseudonyms, and during the autumn, the band tour heavily in the US as well as in Scandinavia. A video for The Islander is also shot in Lapland, and as you will see, this production will have long-lasting effect on the future of Nightwish.
2008: ON THE ROAD
The intensive “Dark Passion Play” World Tour continues on the first day of the year in Helsinki and takes Nightwish all over the world, from Australia to the Far East, from South America to North America, and onwards to Europe. It’s not until the end of the year that the band get some well-earned R&R.
2009: A TRYING TOUR ENDS, ENTER THE NEXT ALBUM
The “Dark Passion Play” World Tour continues in March, as the new live EP, Made in Hong Kong (and in Various Other Places) is released. The European venues have become gigantic, as Nightwish appear on arenas such as Ahoy, Rotterdam and Zenith, Paris.
After an US tour in the spring and some European festival appearances in the summer, the “Dark Passion Play” World Tour (that saw the band play no less than 200 gigs) culminates in a sold-out show at the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki. After the tour, the band retire from the public eye, but outside the limelight, there’s a lot of stuff going on, as the preparations for the new studio album are already in full swing.
2010: PREPARING THE NEXT MOVE
The first months of the year are spent writing music and lyrics, and already in April, Holopainen is ready to record an early demo of the forthcoming album, Imaginarium. During the hot summer, Nightwish arrange their own summer camp near Kitee, where they rehearse and arrange the material on Imaginarium, a process that takes a couple of months.
The actual recordings begin in October at Petrax studios in Hollola, Finland. The drum, bass, and guitar parts are finished by the end of the year.
2011: NOT ONE BUT TWO – AN ALBUM AND A MOVIE!
February starts with a blast, as Holopainen makes the following statement: “We’re recording a concept album, where the moods in the songs vary even more radically than ever before. Our amusement park and its surreal, Burton/Gaiman/Dali-type rides are almost ready.”
After a bit over a week, the band reveal a closely-guarded secret. As the press release read:
“In all silence, along with their forthcoming album, Nightwish have also been working on a movie. Imaginarium is a musical fantasy based on the album of the same name and its 13 songs.”
The double nature of Imaginarium had been conceived already years earlier, as Holopainen had presented Stobe Harju — the director of The Islander video — with the idea of shooting 13 music videos for the album. As the director suggested they’d add some dialogue between the songs, the final idea was crystallized: Imaginarium would be a full-length movie that carries a story.
The recordings of Imaginarium continued during the first part of the year in Helsinki and London, and once again, Nightwish trusted Pip Williams with the orchestral and choral arrangements. This time there would also to be a children’s choir on the album, among other new things. After Anette Olzon had recorded her vocal parts in April, Mikko Karmila could start with the final mix.
In late summer, Nightwish refine the spelling of the title to Imaginaerum and announce that the new album will be released in Finland in late November. The single, Storytime is released as a taster for the 75-minute roller coaster ride.
In mid-September, Nightwish fly to a Montreal movie studio, where the Imaginaerum movie, to be released in spring 2012, is being filmed. The musicians’ parts are immortalized during an intensive week.
At the same time, the band announce their forthcoming gigs in Europe, while the details of the Finnish tour are revealed in late October. The world tour will kick off from Los Angeles on January 21, 2012.
The last weeks of 2011 will be interesting indeed, as the next year should become the most eventful and exciting in the history of Nightwish…
2012: FANTASTIC CONCERTS, UNEXPECTED CHANGES, MOVIE PREMIERE
Having intensively rehearsed their new songs at Nosturi, Helsinki, during early January, Nightwish put their new set to test on a “secret” warm-up gig at Key Club, Los Angeles, on January 19, billed as “Rubber Band of Wolves.” The first actual concert of the “Imaginaerum” World Tour follows two days later at the famous Gibson Amphitheater.
The spring sees the band play Finnish, Ukrainian, Russian, and Continental European arenas, where thousands and thousands of fans get to marvel at the massive Nightwish show, complete with big video screens and spectacular pyrotechnics. Legendary venues include the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle in Stuttgart, Germany, and Hallenstadion in Zürich, Switzerland, both boasting a capacity of over 10,000.
After the festival season, including appearances at Masters of Rock, Nova Rock, Download, and Ruisrock festivals, Nightwish embark on a North American tour, unaware that this leg of the tour will become one of their most memorable treks ever.
The unexpected chain of events begins in late September, as vocalist Anette Olzon falls sick and is rushed to hospital just before the concert in Denver, Colorado. As Nightwish do not want to disappoint the fans that have already filled the venue, after a quick counsel, they decide to take the stage after all, performing the songs with the help of Elize Ryd and Alissa White-Gluz of the support band Kamelot.
Olzon returns to front the band for one more performance, but nothing can prevent the ending of a chapter in the story of Nightwish. After the concert in Salt Lake City on September 29, Olzon and the band part ways.
The situation is challenging to say the least, as Nightwish’s professional ethic does not let them cancel the remaining eleven concerts of the important US tour. The band immediately contact their old friend Floor Jansen, who had proven her vocal skills in the Dutch band After Forever. The timetable seems nearly impossible, but against all odds, Nightwish take the stage in Seattle on October 1st with Floor Jansen as their singer. Having rehearsed the vocal parts during the intercontinental flight, Jansen tackles the formidable challenge amazingly well, and the band get to sigh in relief. The tour can go on, and what’s even better, Jansen, whose skillful vocals and dedicated stage presence are immediately recognized, receives a great welcome by the fans on the West Coast, in Florida, and elsewhere in the US.
The “Imaginaerum” World Tour continues in early November in the UK. The band then rush home in anticipation of the eagerly-awaited world premiere of the movie, Imaginaerum by Nightwish at the Hartwall Arena, Helsinki, on November 10, where Nightwish play to a sold-out arena. The successful event leaves everyone with warm memories. The Imaginaerum Wine is also launched, and the soundtrack Imaginaerum: The Score is released.
There’s still work to be done before the Christmas, however, as “Imaginaerum” World Tour continues to South America, where the band play ten concerts. The famously passionate and hot-blooded Latin fans give the new front woman a vibrant welcome. The eventful year culminates in two memorable performances in Buenos Aires. Afterwards, they let out a big sigh of relief that could almost be heard in Finland, too.
2013: PRESTIGIOUS AWARDS, DOCUMENTARY FILM, LIVE RELEASE, THE NEXT ALBUM
Nightwish begin 2013 with a bang, as the band hop on a plane immediately after the New Year celebrations to tour Australia and New Zealand, exchanging the Finnish winter for the record heat wave of Australia.
While the spring is quiet on the live front, there’s laurels to be collected: in the Finnish Emma Awards in March, Nightwish win the categories “Metal Album of the Year” and “Band of the Year.” The movie, Imaginaerum by Nightwish is also released in April in numerous formats.
The band hit the road again in May, playing four concerts in Japan. A Nightwish exhibition is opened in Kitee, Finland, where guests of the local history museum get to see artifacts connected to the band’s history.
The second festival season of the “Imaginaerum” World Tour starts at Sauna Open Air in Tampere, Finland, and the highlights of the summer include Ilosaarirock in Joensuu, a “home festival” for the band, where they play in front of 25,000 people, Byblos in Lebanon, and Midnattsrocken in Lakselv, northern Norway.
There’s excitement in the Nightwish camp in early August, as the concert at Wacken Open Air will be shot for the forthcoming live release. Over 80,000 fans witness a spectacular performance in northern Germany. A week later, the “Imaginaerum” World Tour that had ran for 18 months and over 100 concerts is capped off at the M’era Luna festival.
In September Nightwish get more well-earned recognition in Germany, as Metal Hammermagazine awards the band with the title, “Best International Band.”
In early October, Nightwish fans are thrilled to hear the new line-up confirmed: having been accepted by the fans, Floor Jansen is expectedly announced as the new vocalist, and the British multi-instrumentalist Troy Donockley, who has collaborated with the band for years, is simultaneously confirmed as a permanent member of the band.
Late November sees the release of Showtime, Storytime, a DVD / Blu-Ray that, in addition to the spectacular Wacken performance, also features a two-hour documentary film, Please Learn the Setlist in 48 Hours. Directed by Ville Lipiäinen, the film follows the band on their roller-coaster ride through the “Imaginaerum” World Tour.
So what’s up next for Nightwish?
In 2014, the band will concentrate on writing their next album, scheduled for spring 2015 release, while a new world tour is being booked. As a taster of what’s to come, let us reveal that the forthcoming album will feature, among others, the longest song in the history of the band so far…
2014: ENDLESS FORMS MOST BEAUTIFUL APPROACHES COMPLETION, JUKKA NEVALAINEN WITHDRAWS INTO THE BACKGROUND, THE WORLD TOUR BEGINS TO TAKE SHAPE
Nightwish’s common year starts off with a meeting held during the winter – the matters under discussion between the band members and the management personnel are the band’s eighth studio album, and the world tour that will promote it. The works on the lyrics and compositions for the Endless Forms Most Beautiful album have already been well underway for an extended time, with the details being ironed out: for example, the final track of the album will be the most extensive piece of work created by the band so far.
Later, during the spring, Tuomas Holopainen and Sound Engineer/Assistant Producer, Tero “TeeCee” Kinnunen retreat to a cottage close to Hämeenlinna in order to start the recording process for the new songs. The other members of Nightwish are able to get their hands on the demo versions without delay and the musicians grasp their roles in mastering the immense tracks.
Things begin to take shape in earnest in July. Nightwish retreat into the tranquility of the Röskö camp site in Kitee, with the purpose of rehearsing and recording the band’s parts of the upcoming album, until the end of September. In this respect, the work differs from the method used in, for example, the Imaginaerum album, the material of which was also rehearsed at Röskö, but the actual recordings took place in, among others, the Petrax studio.
Summer doesn’t, however, pass by altogether smoothly. In late July, Nightwish experience an unexpected setback, when one of the band’s founding members, drummer Jukka Nevalainen, is forced to leave, whilst in the midst of preparing the new album. Nevalainen had suffered from serious sleep disorders over recent years and is replaced by drum virtuoso Kai Hahto, who is not only able to commit to recording the album, but also to participating in the upcoming tour. Although they have to endure these unpleasant moments, the other members of Nightwish share a common delight in the knowledge that Nevalainen will continue to work closely in the background and may one day return back behind the drum set. Let’s also not forget the support received from the aforementioned background. At the same time as the band are busy working on the new material, the management of Nightwish are working long days, for example, in planning the upcoming world tour.
Kai Hahto proves to be a trustworthy addition. The drummer learns the meandering tracks of Endless Forms Most Beautiful rapidly and the band are able to avoid making any changes to their recording schedules that have been nailed down for some time. An excess of eighty minutes of the band’s instrumental parts are already put down on tape before the end of September.
The London-based Angel Studios and trusted arranger for the orchestral parts, Pip Williams are naturally involved in preparing the new Nightwish material. Almost all of the members of the band travel to Great Britain in early October and once again, deep in the Angel studio, unforgettable experiences abide through the interpretations of the unbelievably talented British musicians.
From London, the journey continues onwards to a studio in Oxford, where the famous evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins immortalizes a spoken word part for the Nightwish album. This recording day proves, as expected, to be one of the highlights of the entire recording project – after all, Dawkins’ famous works, such as God Delusion and The Greatest Show On Earth, are highly important sources of inspiration for the new Nightwish album that praises the achievements of science.
In early November, trusted mixer Mikko Karmila sits down by the band’s lathe. He has a major job in front of him, as merely the final track of the album, the 24-minute long “The Greatest Show On Earth,” is spliced together from hundreds of recorded tracks. Also, many of the other new songs clock in at five and six-minutes long, so there is certainly enough mixing to get on with, even though the fresh entity makes the album more “band orientated” than previous creations.
The mixing is completed on schedule, just before Christmas. The responsibility for the soundscape lies with Holopainen, Kinnunen and Karmila and the fresh material is sent off to the other band members for examination and after the final filing, the final mastering touches are put to the new Nightwish album.
2015: THE NEW SINGLE, “ÉLAN” – TO PRECEDE THE ENDLESS FORMS MOST BEAUTIFUL ALBUM – IS RELEASED, A WORLD TOUR BEGINS IN THE UNITED STATES
Mika Jussila masters Endless Forms Most Beautiful at Finnvox studio in Helsinki in mid-January. The band is one hundred percent happy with the result – and something exceptional can be interpreted through the smile of the singer, Floor Jansen, performing on her first Nightwish album, as she states that: “This is not only the best album that I have ever sung on, but this is actually the best album ever.” The Élan single and a promotional video of the same name, bursting with the appearance of Finnish acting legends, is released on February 13, and the new album will be available to fans at the end of March. Nightwish’s world tour will start in early April at the famed Hammerstein Ballroom – and this is just the start…
BAND NEWS AND INTERVIEWS
Finnish famous creatures HEVISAURUS released a very special single today: “100”, literally their 100th song, is an almost 10-minute epic crossover featuring many internationally known musicians, from Finland and abroad.October 18, 2019 by Kris Murias
NIGHTWISH and TAROT bassist/vocalist Marco Hietala (a.k.a. Marko Hietala) has unveiled a music video for “Isäni ääni”; the first single from his solo album “Mustan Sydämen Rovio”. Watch it here:May 16, 2019 by Kris Murias
Finnish cinematic metal band DARK SARAH will release a new album called “The Golden Moth” on September 21st in Europe and North America via Inner Wound Recordings. “The Golden Moth” isMay 24, 2018 by Kris Murias
Finnish symphonic metal gods NIGHTWISH released their brand new best-of compilation »Decades« on March 9th through Nuclear Blast to celebrate more than two decades of their career. Today, NIGHTWISH are proudMarch 28, 2018 by Kris Murias
Echoes of another world resound from the depths of the legendary rabbit hole. Music diffused with moments of silence and escapist dream sequences, freed from time and earthly presence –March 25, 2018 by Slayanys Maniax
Finnish symphonic metal gods NIGHTWISH released their brand new best-of compilation ‘DECADES‘ on March 9th through Nuclear Blast to celebrate more than two decades of their career. It’s only right, then,March 24, 2018 by Slayanys Maniax
Echoes of another world resound from the depths of the legendary rabbit hole. Music diffused with moments of silence and escapist dream sequences, freed from time and earthly presence. AURI begunMarch 15, 2018 by Kris Murias
Let’s be honest; it does not take any overstated words to present this exceptional band to the world out there, for they are the undisputed pioneers of symphonic metal andMarch 9, 2018 by Slayanys Maniax
Today, the band releases their third trailer, in which mastermind Tuomas Holopainen explains why he would never re-record his old songs, but instead remastered the versions for »Decades« to surprise the fans. Watch itMarch 1, 2018 by Tero Tolkki
Echoes of another world resound from the depths of the legendary rabbit hole. Music diffused with moments of silence and escapist dream sequences, freed from time and earthly presence. AURI begunFebruary 24, 2018 by Slayanys Maniax
Let’s be honest; it doesn’t take any overstated words to present this exceptional band to the world out there, for they are the undisputed pioneers of symphonic metal and theFebruary 22, 2018 by Kris Murias
Echoes of another world resound from the depths of the legendary rabbit hole. Music diffused with moments of silence and escapist dream sequences, freed from time and earthly presence. AURIFebruary 14, 2018 by Slayanys Maniax
Let’s be honest; it does not take any overstated words to present this exceptional band to the world out there, for they are the undisputed pioneers of symphonic metal andFebruary 13, 2018 by Slayanys Maniax
NIGHTWISH’s TUOMAS HOLOPAINEN Has Written Six Songs For Band’s Next Album; 2020 Release Date Expected
Tuomas Holopainen says that he has written six new songs for NIGHTWISH‘s next studio album, marking the first material he has composed for the band in four years. After NIGHTWISH completed a world tourFebruary 12, 2018 by Tero Tolkki
AURI, the project featuring NIGHTWISH mainman/keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen and his wife, popular Finnish singer Johanna Kurkela, will release its self-titled debut album on March 23 via Nuclear Blast. The disc’s first video, for the song “Night 13”,February 1, 2018 by Tero Tolkki
Tuomas Holopainen‘s 3-track demo earned him his first record deal with his freshly founded band Nightwish back in 1996. 20 years later – with over 2,000 shows played and moreJanuary 11, 2018 by Tero Tolkki
Longtime NIGHTWISH bandmates Marco Hietala and Tarja Turunen performed live together for the first time in 12 years during this past Thursday’s (December 14) “Raskasta Joulua” concert at the Elenia Areena in Hämeenlinna, Finland. “Raskasta Joulua”, which translatesDecember 18, 2017 by Tero Tolkki
THE DARK ELEMENT Feat. Former Nightwish Singer, Ex Sonata Arctica Guitarist: Making Of Debut Album (Video)
A nine-minute video featuring footage of former NIGHTWISH vocalist Anette Olzon and Finnish guitarist and songwriter Jani Liimatainen talking about their new collaborative project THE DARK ELEMENT can be seen below. THE DARK ELEMENT will release its self-titled debutNovember 6, 2017 by Tero Tolkki
Endless forms most beautiful / 2015
Endless Forms Most Beautiful is the eighth album by Finnish symphonic power metal band Nightwish. It was released on March 27, 2015 in Argentina and most of Europe, March 30 in the UK, and March 31 in the US. The album is the band’s first featuring singer Floor Jansen and the first with Troy Donockley as a full-time member. It was recorded without drummer Jukka Nevalainen, who took a break from the band due to severe insomnia. Drumming was by Kai Hahto of Wintersunand Swallow the Sun. The album includes only five Nightwish members, despite its being their first album release as a sextet.
Unlike its predecessor Imaginaerum, which has themes of imagination and fantasy, Endless Forms Most Beautiful addresses science and reason. Focusing on the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin and Richard Dawkins, the latter part of the album cites passages from their books. Both authors influenced album tracks; The Ancestor’s Tale inspired “Endless Forms Most Beautiful”, and by The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution inspired “The Greatest Show on Earth”. Some songs, such as “Edema Ruh” (inspired by Patrick Rothfuss’ novel The Name of the Wind), still have fanciful themes.
The album’s first single, “Élan”, was introduced on February 9, 2015 (four days before its planned release date). “Endless Forms Most Beautiful”, announced as the second single on April 17, was released with a lyric video on May 8. The third and final single, “My Walden”, had a limited release on April 16, 2016 as an exclusive for Record Store Day.
After releasing Imaginaerum in late 2011, the band began the Imaginaerum Tour in January 2012 with Anette Olzon as a vocalist and Troy Donockley as an unofficial member. On September 28, before a show in Denver, Olzon became ill and was replaced by Elize Ryd and Alissa White-Gluz (vocalists for Amaranthe and Arch Enemy, respectively). The next day, Olzon gave her final performance with Nightwish in Salt Lake City. A day later, she posted on her blog that she disliked being replaced by Ryd and White-Gluz without being consulted; the day after that, she was dismissed from the band. In the statement announcing Olzon’s departure, Nightwish introduced Floor Jansenas her replacement for the rest of the tour.
In October 2013, after the tour, the band announced that Jansen and Donockley were official members. The album was introduced in May 2014, when Holopainen posted on his website that it would probably be ready at the end of January 2015 and demos would be circulated beginning in July 2014
Endless Forms Most Beautiful was primarily inspired by the work of naturalist Charles Darwin. According to songwriter Tuomas Holopainen, the album’s title is part of a quote from Darwin’s 1859 book On the Origin of Species which included the words “endless forms most beautiful” to describe evolution from one common ancestor to all living organisms:
There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
— Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species
Titles such as Élan and The Greatest Show on Earth were considered for the album, but Holopainen considered the latter too “pompous” and the band eventually opted for Endless Forms Most Beautiful.
Tuomas said that he would like fans to listen to the album from beginning to the end (like watching a movie), rather than listening to random songs. According to Tuomas, Endless Forms Most Beautiful has a “very loose” concept: “It’s all about beauty of life, the beauty of existence, nature, science”. He likened it to Imaginaerum: “The previous album was a tribute to the power of imagination. Endless Forms Most Beautiful would be an equal tribute to science and the power of reason”.
“Shudder Before the Beautiful” opens with a quote by Richard Dawkins, and its lyrics include the “beauty of the world and everything it has to offer”. Reminding Holopainen of Once and Oceanborn, it features the first duel between him and guitarist Emppu Vuorinen in about 15 years. “Weak Fantasy”, primarily written by Hietala, is considered the album’s heaviest song by Holopainen. Its lyrics, which criticize how some religions restrict lives, were also co-written by Hietala (who contributed to an originally-instrumental (and acoustic guitar-centered) part of the song which the band felt was too long). On a later interview in 2016, he commented further on the song, stating that it is “a combination of an interesting metal song with a few interesting parts that dabble in Celtic folk with the acoustic guitars.” During live performances, the message “wake up or die” is shown at the screen behind the band. Donockley said the words were taken from the film Religulous, which is a favorite of him and Holopainen.
“Élan” is about “the meaning of life, which can be something different for all of us. It’s important to surrender yourself to the occasional ‘free fall’ and not to fear the path less travelled by.” Not intended for the album’s track list, Holopainen liked the song more after the band began working on it. Following a suggestion by Donockley and Hietala, he replaced “Edema Ruh” with “Élan” as the album’s first single. Although he was initially uncertain about recording “Yours Is an Empty Hope” (co-written by Hietala and also called one of the album’s heaviest songs), Holopainen found its subject matter “inspirational”. He refrained from explicating its lyrics because he did not want to “ruin” listener interpretations. According to Hietala, the song explores “living the ‘here and now’, not ‘then’.”
“Our Decades in the Sun” is a ballad for the band’s parents. Holopainen said that it was “maybe the most difficult song to put together” because of its delicacy and intimacy, and band members wept while rehearsing and recording it. “My Walden”, a Celtic song with a prominent contribution from Donockley, was considered by Holopainen a continuation of “I Want My Tears Back” from Imaginaerum. It’s inspired by the book “Walden” written by Henry David Thoreau. “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” is inspired by Dawkins’ book, The Ancestor’s Tale, and “Edema Ruh” refers to the group of traveling musicians and actors in Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind; it was one of the first songs written for the album.
“Alpenglow” has been called the “ultimate Nightwish song” by Holopainen, who said that it was “a nice little interlude” with “a catchy chorus and toxic guitar riff.” “The Eyes of Sharbat Gula”, an instrumental planned with lyrics, was written by Holopainen after he bought an issue of National Geographic with a reproduction of the iconic photo of Sharbat Gula. He said that the photograph “just made a huge impact on me. Those eyes, those wild, untamed and at the same time fearless and fearful eyes. I want to capture the essence of that photo in one of the songs”. The song was intended to be about children in war, but he struggled with its lyrics. After a suggestion by Donockley, Holopainen decided to add only distant voices and a children’s choir and said that it works as an intermission between the first part of the album and the final track.
“The Greatest Show on Earth”, the longest Nightwish song to date, refers to “life and evolution by natural selection”. Its title is from a book by Richard Dawkins. Holopainen said that the band is unlikely to play the full song live, but may perform a “band section” in the middle. During live performances, photographs of people are shown in the screen behind the band; most are stock pictures, but some depict members’ relatives. Calling it “the most ambitious thing we ever did”, he said the song was originally over 30 minutes long. According to Holopainen, the album is “nine great support acts … one intermission and then the main act” (“The Greatest Show on Earth”). Hietala also said the “is probably the culmination of everything that we’ve done together”.
Release and reception
Endless Forms Most Beautiful was released in late March 2015. It was first released in Japan on the 25th, in continental Europe and Argentina on the 27th, in the UK on the 30th, and in the United States on the 31st. In addition to a regular edition with 11 tracks, released on CD and as a digital download, the album was released as a double LP in different colors, a digibook edition with an instrumental CD, and two earbook editions. One earbook version included a CDs with instrumental and orchestral versions of the tracks, and a deluxe earbook included a vinyl LP.
The album received positive reviews. According to Don Lawson of The Guardian, Nightwish’s use of a less-fanciful theme introduced elements which “result in their most ambitious and assured record yet” and he praised Holopainen’s songwriting. Lawson wrote that Jansen “strikes a fine balance between operatic acrobatics and straightforward, soulful restraint, most notably on twinkling earworm Élan.”Metal Storm called Endless Forms Most Beautiful “a sweet album of awesome songs” which “doesn’t try to be some over the top attempt to grandly announce a new era for the band” and “a smart move.” The online magazine praised Jansen’s vocals and how they challenged her voice compared to her previous work with ReVamp; she uses “the soft and sweet side, the lows, the hushed serenade, as well as an even harsher side.”
Solomon Encina called the album the band’s most accomplished effort in Metal Injection, although he found “Élan”, “Alpenglow” and “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” repetitive and stale. Craig Hartranft, founder of Dangerdog Music Reviews, called Endless Forms Most Beautiful “pretty darn terrific.” He described it as “the Nightwish you know and love: breathtaking arrangements paired with massive orchestration and beautiful vocals.” MusicReviewRadar wrote “in Endless Forms Most Beautiful [Nightwish] evolved to their own personal and original style” leaving him “craving for their next album.” According to the review team at Ultimate Guitar, the album needs several hearings to be fully understood but is “probably the most complete, well-written album in Nightwish’s catalog.” They considered “The Greatest Show on Earth” a pretentious title, but “closer to the truth than Nightwish has ever been before.”
Imaginaerum / 2011
Imaginaerum is the seventh studio album by Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish. According to Nightwish songwriter Tuomas Holopainen, the album is a concept album that tells the story of an old composer who is reminiscing of his youth on his deathbed. The album was produced alongside the movie of the same name, directed by Stobe Harju, who previously directed Nightwish’s “The Islander” music video, and the album and the film share the same themes and general story. It is their second and last album with vocalist Anette Olzon.
The first single off the album, “Storytime” was released on November 9, 2011 and quickly topped the Finnish single charts. According to Iltasanomat, Imaginaerum sold more than 50,000 copies in Finland during the first day after release. It has been described as Nightwish’s best album by Sonic Seducer and was chosen as the album of the month by Dutch metal magazine Aardschok Magazine.
While rumours of the next Nightwish album had been circulating for a while, the album was confirmed in the June 2009 edition of the Finnish magazine Soundi, when lead composer and keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen stated that he had started work on a new album. In October 2009, rumours about the new album were circulated, suggesting that the title would be Wind Embraced. Lead vocalist Anette Olzon dismissed the rumours as false and stated that the songs for the new album had not yet been completed, with the exception of three songs written before May 2009. Holopainen said in a 2009 interview that ” I can’t reveal to you anymore but there is going to be a big twist so to say, on the next album.” In an interview with pipist Troy Donockley (who recorded with the band on Dark Passion Play), when asked about his involvement in the new album, he stated “Oh, yes, I will be playing on the next album and, from what Tuomas has told me, it is going to be something extraordinary…”
In early 2010, Olzon reported that the album was half-written, and that fans should not expect anything earlier than fall of 2011. In April 2010, Holopainen revealed that he has now finished writing songs for the album, and in June, he had finished recording the pre-production demo. Throughout the summer of 2010, the band gathered to rehearse songs in the Finnish village of Sävi, and recording of the album started in October 2010 and ended in May 2011, while the finished album stood ready on June 4
The band announced in late 2010 that more information about the album’s content would be released in late January 2011, but on February 1, the official website bore a statement written by Holopainen that there would be a delay in the information being released due to schedule changes. He added, however, that “it still is the Burton-Gaiman-Dalí amusement park we are about to enter.” In the same statement, it was also revealed that the album would be themed, and that “mood changes seem to be more present than ever before”. The orchestration demos he had received from Pip Williams were described as “beautiful, twisted, tribal and cinematic stuff”. In the Finnish version of the statement, it was also revealed that a few songs would not be getting any orchestration at all, differing from their latest album, on which all songs had a major orchestral presence.
On February 10, 2011, Nightwish announced on their website that the new album title would be Imaginarium. They also revealed that the band had been preparing a movie based on the album, which would be released in 2012 and directed by Stobe Harju, who previously directed the music video for “The Islander”. According to Tuomas, the name was meant to be related to “the power of imagination and the roller coaster of life”. At first he thought of Imagine, but that would be too obvious and similar to John Lennon’s song, so he changed it to Imaginarium.
On February 23, three interviews were released on the website – one each with composer Tuomas Holopainen, director Stobe Harju, and producer Markus Selin. Holopainen revealed the origin of the project, and that Nightwish will appear as themselves in the film, with minor roles. On August 31, the band announced that the album and movie had changed name from Imaginarium to Imaginaerum, to avoid mix-ups with other things entitled “Imaginarium”. This also led to changing the title of the track with the same name, but the song “Storytime” still includes the word “imaginarium” in the lyrics.
In early September, it was announced that the first single from the album would be “Storytime”. A week later, the band released the Imaginaerum cover, track list and commentary on each song written by Holopainen. “Storytime” was released as a CD, download and as a video through YouTube on November 9, and after a mere week the band announced that the single was topping the Finnish single chart, as well as having high positions in Hungary and Great Britain. On November 18, Amazon released 30-second samples from every song off the album, and the band shortly announced on their website that Amazon had done so without their knowledge, and that they recommended that one shouldn’t listen to them, if one “want to experience the true impact of the album”.
Concept and Storyline
The album is produced alongside the film with the same name, directed by Stobe Harju and described as an “emotional fantasy-adventure”, and feature the same basic themes and ideas, though told in more detail and with more extensive characters in the film than in the album. According to Holopainen, the film has evolved radically from the original plan, while still retaining the main spirit of the foundation. To Holopainen, it “was important from the very beginning that the album would work as its own individual piece of art” that would “work on its own without the film”. According to drummer Jukka Nevalainen, “this is not a concept album per se”, but it’s “a coherent package from the beginning to the end”.
The foundations to the music were developed before the pre-production of the film, during which Holopainen and Harju collaborated in developing the characters and the script.
Imaginaerum World Tour
The release of Imaginaerum was followed by a world tour, named the “Imaginaerum World Tour.” The tour started in Los Angeles on January 21, 2012. Finnish metal band Amorphis supported Nightwish on this portion of the tour. The European leg of the tour began on March 2, 2012 in Joensuu, Finland. When the tour returned to North America following the European leg of the tour, Nightwish was supported by Kamelot.
During the US tour, singer Anette Olzon fell ill at the show in Denver on September 28, 2012. Elize Ryd(Amaranthe) and Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy), the back-up singers for Kamelot, stepped in to help perform the show. After the Denver show, Nightwish posted the following message on its Facebook page: “We were in hell [yesterday]. Vocalist in a hospital. Show about to be canceled… But nobody gave up an inch. With the help from the ladies Elize and Alissa from KAMELOT, we actually managed to pull of a relaxed and great show! The crowd doing the mass karaoke with the band playing was absolutely amazing. We were humbled and grateful at the same time. This is unity and help from friends and fans.” Two days later, Olzon was let go from the band with Floor Jansen being called to finish the tour in her place. Jansen was announced as the new lead singer of Nightwish in October 2013.
Dark Passion Play / 2007
Dark Passion Play is the sixth studio album by Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish, released on 26 September 2007 in Finland, 28 September in Europe and 2 October 2007 in the United States. It is the first album without original vocalist Tarja Turunen, who was dismissed in 2005, as well as the first album involving future member Troy Donockley on uilleann pipes and tin whistle. It is the first of only two albums with vocalist Anette Olzon, who was eventually dismissed in 2012 after the release of the band’s subsequent album, Imaginaerum. Tuomas Holopainen has referred to it as the “album that saved his life”.
The first single, “Eva”, was leaked on the Internet six days before its official release, prompting the band to release the single earlier to boost downloads. Several other versions of the song were posted on YouTube and torrentsites a month later; the entire album with record label voiceovers had been leaked on the Internet by 2 August. The full album (without voiceovers) was leaked on 21 September 2007, as a result of several stores in Mexicoselling the retail album much prior to the worldwide release date.
Pre-orders for Dark Passion Play had it certified gold in Finland before it had even been released. The album debuted at number one in 6 European countries, selling over 100,000 copies in Finland (triple platinum). In February 2008, the album was certified quadruple-platinum in Finland, after having sold over 120,000 copies, which makes it one of the 40 best-selling albums of all time in the country. Worldwide, Dark Passion Play has sold almost 2 million copies since its release.
Before the album’s release, band leader Tuomas Holopainen said in an interview that the album would have a lot in common with the previous album Once. For example, the band have kept the new kind of heavier songs, such as “Master Passion Greed”, “Whoever Brings the Night”, “7 Days to the Wolves”, and “Bye Bye Beautiful”, but additionally there are softer ballads, such as “Meadows of Heaven”, “Eva”, and “The Islander”. This album includes lots of guest musicians and orchestral parts, just like Once, but with a bigger level.
Just like the album Once, Nightwish included many new influences and experimentations in several tracks. On Once, much inspiration came from Native American music, especially “Creek Mary’s Blood”, which featured Lakota Indian musician John Two-Hawks. However, on Dark Passion Play, much inspiration comes from Finnish and Irish culture and music, which can be clearly heard on “Last of the Wilds”. Songs like “Master Passion Greed” and “Cadence of Her Last Breath” included thrash metal and alternative metal elements as well, displaying the newer, more modern sound of the band. In a later interview, Hietela said the band “didn’t get as far with it [the song] as we wanted to when we recorded the song in the studio – we wanted it to be a little bit more impressive”.
Holopainen also said that there are darker pieces reminiscent of the album Century Child, such as “The Poet and the Pendulum”, and some others. It will be a dark album, both musically and lyrically. Even though the album is much more upbeat than Century Child. Songs that reflect this mood are for example the second single “Amaranth” and “Bye Bye Beautiful”‘s B-side “Escapist.”
The album has sold more than 130,000 copies in Finland to date, placing 26th on the list of best-selling Finnish albums ever released, which has granted it a platinum certification four times. Worldwide, it has sold over 700,000 copies by the end of 2007 and about 2 million copies to date. It has been certified as Platinum in Germany and Hungary, and Gold in Austria, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland; Dark Passion Play is also the most successful Nightwish album in UK and USA with sales in the United States of over 134,000 copies.
As of January 2008, the album has topped the album charts in six countries; the singles, “Amaranth” and “Erämaan Viimeinen” have both reached the first position on Finnish charts. According to Last.fm, “Dark Passion Play” is their most played album, and its successful single “Amaranth” has as of February 2009 been holding the position of most played song since its release.
The album was also critically acclaimed in most reviews. Allmusic called the album a “sort of opera aria” and praised “Bye Bye Beautiful”, on a track pic and “Eva”, that they say it focus on the new vocalist vocal abilities.
The album was also given a positive review by Blabbermouth’s Keith Bergman, who gave the album a 7.5 out of 10 and stated that it “may not be a masterpiece throughout, but it’s got enough moments of symphonic metal bliss to warrant a high recommendation. About.com writer, Chad Bowar, gave the album a score of 4 out of 5 stars, calling Dark Passion Play “an excellent album that’s right up there with the best the band has done.”
Once / 2004
Once is the fifth studio album by Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish, released on 7 June 2004 by Spinefarm Records and Nuclear Blast. It is the last album to feature Tarja Turunen on lead vocals. The album cost nearly €250,000 to make, (1,000,000 including the videos) which made it Finland’s most expensive recording ever until the release of Nightwish’s next album, Dark Passion Play, which cost over €500,000 to produce. As of 2013, Once has sold 2.3 million copies worldwide, being Nightwish’s most successful album to date.
In 2008 Kerrang! interview Tuomas Holopainen remembered: “Doing this kind of really orchestral, symphonic stuff for four albums, you have to be prepared to take the next step and go 10 steps beyond, and that’s how we ended up with the London Session Orchestra. At that time we also had the financial resources to do it. This was like our second breakthrough in a way; Oceanborn (1998) broke us, took us to the big league. Musically it was pretty laid-back from our side because everyone involved in the orchestra really knew their stuff, so we basically spent two days lying on the couch hearing all these people playing our songs, enjoying every moment. It was one of the most amazing experiences in my life. The first song they started to play was “Ghost Love Score”, we had no idea what to expect, and I just thought: This can’t be happening!”
The album continues the more streamlined musical approach first heard on Century Child, moving further away from the power metal-influenced sound of their previous albums into a slightly more mainstream, approachable feel. Once utilizes a full orchestra in nine of the eleven songs on the album; unlike Century Child, Nightwish chose an orchestra outside of Finland, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, which has been featured on every album released since.
Once is their second album to feature a full-length song in Finnish, “Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan”. The band added new elements to their music for this album, such as the chorus riff and synthesized drum-beat of “Wish I Had an Angel”, and a long prayer chant on “Creek Mary’s Blood”. The song “Ghost Love Score” was described by Hietala as follows: “I’m a big fan of old prog rock and this is a song that has a lot of different parts going on, and different atmospheres in different places in order to support the story. […] My biggest influence from the prog world would be Jethro Tull, but I also love listening to Yes and Genesis and all those bands, and there’s a correlation between the structures and the length of a lot of their songs and this one.”
The angel on the album cover is a view of the Angel of Grief, a sculpture by William Wetmore Story. The original is in the Protestant Cemetery of Rome, Italy.
Century Child / 2002
Century Child is the fourth studio album by the Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish, released in 2002 through Spinefarm Records. It is the first album which features current bassist and male vocalist Marco Hietala.
Spinefarm Records released a 2-CD special edition version of the album in 2002. It includes the CD, liner art with the band members’ signatures, and a Video CD containing the music video for their cover of Gary Moore’s “Over the Hills and Far Away”. In addition, the booklet contains an ID code that allows the owner to download the entire album and three extra tracks from the Internet for a limited time. The bonus tracks are “Nightwish”, “The Forever Moments” and “Etiäinen”, all from the band’s first demo of 1996.
Nightwish quickly gained momentum when they started recording Century Child. The single, “Ever Dream” came out in early May 2002 and earned them a Finnish Gold Record in two days. After three weeks, Century Child does even better, selling Gold in just two hours. In Germany, the album rises to number five on the official charts.
The album was certified double platinum in Finland with more than 60,000 sold copies, the second best selling Finnish album in Finland in year 2002. Century Child has sold more than 80,000 copies in Finland alone. It sold more than 350,000 copies worldwide between 2002 and 2003.
Wishmaster / 2000
Wishmaster is the third studio album by the Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish, released on 8 May 2000 through Spinefarm Records in Finland. The album was released in Europe by Drakkar Entertainment on 29 May 2000 and in the US by Century Media on 6 February 2001.
Wishmaster peaked at No. 1 in the official Finnish charts; the album also debuted in the European charts at No. 21 in Germany and No. 66 in France. Wishmaster has sold more than 79,000 copies in Finland alone.
Most re-issues of the album contain the song “Sleepwalker”, which was released in July 2000 to compete in the Finnish Eurovision Song Contest tryouts.
Background and release
The writing and recording of Wishmaster was very fast and devoid of complications, in contrast with what had happened for Oceanborn. The main composer Tuomas Holopainen considers the album “the most distant and least personal (…) in the Nightwish catalogue”, despite containing the “mother of all Nightwish songs – Dead Boys’ Poem.” The image of the dead boy would reappear in several songs of the following albums. Wishmaster was issued on 8 May 2000, a few days earlier than its scheduled release. The reason for early release is that the music had leaked onto the Internet.
Wishmaster’s sound continues the bombastic symphonic power metal approach originally featured on Oceanborn, albeit with more emphasis on atmosphere and melody versus speed and heaviness. Perhaps even more so than its predecessor, Wishmaster has a very clear fantasy theme. While commonly considered to be closer to conventional power metal, there is still a great variety with slower songs like “Two for Tragedy” and “Dead Boy’s Poem”, and more epic pieces like “FantasMic”. “The Kinslayer” is written about the victims of the Columbine High School massacre. “Wishmaster” was inspired by the fantasy novel series The Lord of the Rings and Dragonlance, mentioning Elbereth, Lórien, and the Grey Havens from the former; and Dalamar, Raistlin Majere (Dalamar’s shalafi, or “master”), Gilthanas, the Sla-Mori, Silvara and the Inn of the Last Home from the latter. “FantasMic” is a song about the Disney animated movies, particularly their fantasy and fable elements, taking its title from the Disneyland show Fantasmic!
The song “Wishmaster” has remained one of Nightwish’s greatest hits, appearing on several best of compilations. Since its release, it has been a recurring track during live performances, and was featured on the live DVD End of an Era, recorded in 2005. As of 2013, it is still often performed live despite the band’s change of vocalists. A new orchestral intro for the track was recorded during the orchestral recording of Dark Passion Play. Other recurring live songs from the album are “She Is My Sin”, “Dead Boy’s Poem” and “Come Cover Me”.
Oceanborn / 1998
Oceanborn is the second studio album by Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish, released in December 1998 in Finland and in the Spring of 1999 worldwide. Oceanborn has sold more than 68,000 copies in Finland. The single “Sleeping Sun” was released in August 1999. This song has been included in every re-issue of the album since then. The album was released in the US by Century Media in March 2001.
This album marked a definitive change in musical scope for Nightwish from their folk-laden roots in Angels Fall First, showcasing a more bombastic, power metal-oriented sound with faster tempos, harmonic guitar/keyboard leads, and plenty of double-bass-heavy drumwork. During that time, Stratovarius was Holopainen’s biggest inspiration, hence the power metal sound of the album. Oceanborn’s sound hearkens a more dramatic approach in the overall musical scope, mostly relegated to the symphonic keyboard work and lead singer Tarja Turunen‘s vocals. Most of the album is fantasy-themed, with tracks like “Swanheart” and “Walking in the Air”, a cover from the animated TV special The Snowman, as typical examples; however, the song “Gethsemane”, has a more religious feel to it. In addition, there are also some theatrical tracks like “Devil & the Deep Dark Ocean”. Oceanborn is among their darkest albums, making use of the harsh vocals of Tapio Wilska in the songs “The Pharaoh Sails to Orion” and “Devil & the Deep Dark Ocean”.
Since the album’s release, “Sacrament of Wilderness” has remained a fan-favorite at concerts, and it’s still performed often. Both “Sleeping Sun” and “Walking in the Air” have also been performed often on shows. “Walking in the Air” returned to the live set list of the band at 19 September 2009 at Hartwall Areena, this time as an acoustic song sung by then-vocalist Anette Olzon. Having been dropped from their live shows, since Turunen’s dismissal in 2005, “Stargazers” returned to the live set list on the Endless Forms Most Beautiful tour, with Floor Jansen as their newest singer in 2015.
Angels Fall First / 1997
Angels Fall First is the debut studio album by Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish. The original 500-copies limited edition features seven tracks, two of which are not on the regular edition. This edition is highly sought after by collectors and in 2012 a copy was sold for $1137.23 on eBay. The album was released in the US by Century Media in March 2001.
As of December 2009, Angels Fall First has sold more than 36,000 copies in Finland alone.
Tuomas Holopainen wrote the music for the album during his time in the Finnish Army. In an 2008 interview with the British magazine Kerrang!, Tuomas Holopainen remembered:
It came about in August 1996, around a campfire. We were at my summer cabin, a bunch of friends camping out, barbecuing, singing songs. Then it just hit me that I wanted to start a band. But we were too far ambitious at that time for it to remain simply acoustic and making music with just acoustic guitar, keyboards and female voice, was just a bit boring, and we naturally started heading in a heavier direction. The funny thing about Angels Fall First is that it was only supposed to be a demo to send out to record labels. But then Spinefarm heard it and thought it was perfect, so they put it out as it was with no remixing or anything. I used to be a bit embarrassed but now I can feel proud and nostalgic about those songs.
The original pressing featured Holopainen’s home contact address, an accident from reprinting the demo sleeve for the album.
The songs of the album were played more and more seldom live leading up to the departure of vocalist Tarja Turunen in October 2005. No songs from the album have been performed with vocalists Anette Olzon or Floor Jansen.
The male vocals heard on “Beauty and the Beast”, “The Carpenter”, “Astral Romance” and “Once Upon a Troubadour” are sung by keyboardist–band leader Tuomas Holopainen, as well as the whispers in the beginning of the demo version of “Etiäinen”. Following this release, Holopainen never sang credited on an album again, because he thought that he was not good enough.
The band, and especially band leader and keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen has frowned upon the album, considering it essentially an extended demo. In a 2011 interview, when asked what album other than Imaginaerum Holopainen wanted to make into a movie, he replied that it would be Angels Fall First, and that it would be “a black-and-white comedy”.
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