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NIGHTWISH Decades

By Daniel Höhr, European Correspondent
Monday, March 5, 2018 @ 12:42 AM


- advertisement -
NIGHTWISH
Decades

Nuclear Blast, 2018

When NIGHTWISH announced the release of Decades to mark the 20th anniversary of the band, I initially felt quite old. Indeed, it's been a while since keyboardist and the band's creative mastermind Tuomas Holopainen, soprano Tarja Turunen, guitarist Emppu Vuorinen (who also took on bass guitar duties) and drummer Jukka Nevalainen released their debut album Angels Fall First in 1997. It's been quite a journey from there to the 2015 effort Endless Forms Most Beautiful and there have been several changes and developments that not only concerned the line-up (most notably Tarja Turunen's unceremonious dismissal in 2005) but had also a massive impact on the sound and image of the band – for the better or worse is open to debate, I'd personally say the latter.

My second reaction was: “Bloody hell, another best-of?” Decades is the seventh compilation of NIGHTWISH material, which is not bad going when you take into account that the number of studio albums currently stands at eight.

The 22 tracks on this double CD release are in reverse chronological order, i.e. down from the 24-minute-long “The Greatest Show On Earth” off the most recent studio effort to the demo track “Nightwish”. In other words, this compilation gets better the further you progress into the past and once (no pun intended) you have crossed the threshold marked by “I Want My Tears Back” and leave behind the bombastic movie score music with metal elements, you arrive at “Amaranth”, the second single from Dark Passion Play, the album released after the band's hiatus following Tarja Turunen's dismissal and the first one to feature Anette Olzon on vocals. Of course, all this is a matter of taste, but when you skip “The Poet And The Pendulum”, which I always thought was a tad too self-indulgent, you land in bonafide NIGHTWISH territory. And from now on I find the double CD absoltely enjoyable, especially when it comes to “Slaying The Dreamer” from Century Child. However, the compilation only features two tracks from Wishmaster, in my opinion the definite masterpiece of the early NIGHTWISH period and their best album. “The Kinslayer” is a killer track and “Dead Boy's Poem” is amongst the most beautiful songs ever released by the Finnish Symphonic Metal icons. Still, I feel that Wishmaster is underrepresented and not including “She Is My Sin” is a grave sin of omission. Oceanborn is represented by “Gethsemane”, “Devil & The Deep Dark Ocean” and “Sacrament Of Wilderness” – three songs that helped to get me into NIGHTWISH back in the day and whose no-frills craftsmanship are still much more appealing to me than the blown-up bombastic sound of their more recent efforts. The maxi-single “Sleeping Sun” (a must-include) is followed by two tracks from “Elvenpath” and “The Carpenter” before this monumental and (almost) comprehensive best-of release closes with the demo “Nightwish”.

No matter which era of the band's more than twenty years' history you prefer, Decades is a must-have for any fan as it documents the many highlights of NIGHTWISH's metamorphosis from basically a power metal band fronted by soprano singer to the world's leading symphonic/movie score metal outfits, whose sound definitely bursts all limits of the genre and not seldom crosses the thin line between good taste and kitsch. Novices to the music of NIGHTWISH are advised to get the album as well to get an overview of the band's creative output over the period of two decades.

3.5 Out Of 5.0


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