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Nightwish Once

By Amber Morrison, Contributor
Wednesday, January 26, 2005 @ 1:04 PM


(Roadrunner Records)

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Nightwish was formed in Finland in 1996 and has enjoyed success in their native land. In fact, their 2002 release Century Child achieved gold status in less than two hours after it's release. Now with the release of their new album Once, Nightwish is looking to conquer the international market.

The first single the Iced Earth-esque "Wish I Had An Angel" can also be heard on the soundtrack to the up-coming thriller Alone in the Dark. Lead vocalist Tarja Turunen's beautiful operatic voice blends in with bassists Marco Hietala's gruff vocals on the chorus that quite possibly could conjure up comparisons to their European goth counterparts. However when you listen to the rest of the CD, you will hear a major difference.

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The first track, "Dark Chest of Wonders," blares out in the typical Nightwish fashion. You will be hooked by guitarists Emppu Vuorinen crunching riffs, Jukka Nevalainen's powerful drumming, and of course Tarja's operatic tone.

The cool thing about this CD is that no two songs sound the same. "Nemo" is the one song where Tarja's voices shines down. "Planet Hell" is another song that has Turunen and Hietala intertwining on vocals. "Romanticide" is the most guitar-orientated song, starting off with Judas Priest-like riffs and screeching solos, by far the heaviest song on the album. The ballad "Higher Than Hope" is the most emotional song, brilliant lyrics by keyboardist and main songwriter Tuomas Holopainen.

The songs "The Siren," "Dead Gardens" and the two bonus tracks, "White Knight Fantasy" and "Live To Tale the Tale," I felt were sub-par on this otherwise celestial album.

These next three songs could easily become classics. "Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan" is a song sang entirely in their native tongue. Two epics include the eight and a half minute "Creek Mary's Blood." Depicting the plight of Native American Indians, the song features John Two-Hawks, a Lakota musician on flute, chants and vocals. Very interesting combo of European goth and Native American's, but it worked. There's the aptly titled “Ghost Love Score,” which sounds like a great, lost Danny Elfman soundtrack. A suicidal gothic melancholy that is just simply stunning.

This could be Nightwish's breakthrough or it could just be the beginning of this bands evolution. The band is a force to be reckoned with in 2005.

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