Review Summary: Nightwish strays further away from their roots while still managing to make an enjoyable album.
Oh Nightwish. The band's life span tends to be separated in two by its fans: before and after Tarja was kicked out of the band. I personally make my division: before and after Once. That album is when the band started with the orchestral arrangements. The album was certainly great and was a welcome change of of the band's sound. It wasn't until Dark Passion Play was released that we knew that the band was clearly taking a more symphonic approach to metal. This divided the fans, mainly because of the fact that the orchestral arrangements took the stage and made the band feel less relevant on the album itself. This album certainly continues on that direction.
This album has been getting (so far at least) a lot of criticism for its overblown orchestral arrangements (which it has) and a lot of praise for the enjoyable music that it provides.
Well, here's my opinion, track by track:
This works as an intro to the album. For what it is, it's pretty enjoyable. This one starts with some sort of musical toy playing, then Marco starts singing, but the song doesn't really start until the orchestra kicks in, but when it does, the songs becomes really enjoyable.
Anyone remotely interested on this albums has already heard this one. Its everything a single should be, catchu and easy to get into. This fulfills both. This song is nothing special, it's a really enjoyable song though.
3.- Ghost River
This is in my opinion when the albums really starts. The song starts with some weird riff shortly followed by the orchestra and Anette's singing. It isn't until Marco joins that the song gets really good. His singing here, is probably the most unique he has ever sounded. Later in the song a chorus of kids enters the songs, sounds a little forced, but it works.
4.- Slow, Love, Slow
Well, this is surprising. This is probably the most unique song on the album. Sounds like it was recorded in a bar in the 50s, it has this sort of Noir feeling. This is one everyone has to listen to, definitely one of the highlights.
5.- I Want My Tears Back
This one feels like the I Wish I Had An Angel of this album, whether that's a good thing or not depends on you. The song is really upbeat, it has some folk vibe going on. It's good although nothing special.
This one starts with some weird noises and kids voices can be heard in the background, sounds creepy. The kids start singing over the noises and then the orchestra kicks in. The orchestra plays for a while and it is joined by the band shortly after, although the only member that stands out its Emppu. After some weird intervals, Anette's starts singing. About half way through, some guy (definitely, a guest vocalist) starts singing with what feels like some circus or freak show music, makes me remember of the Haunted House at Disney World. It's a really enjoyable song and Anette's singing it's at her finest. Another highlight .
This one is an interlude with some eastern vibe going on. Nothing special, nothing really stands out, this one just works as bridge between the two parts of the album.
8.- Turn Loose the Mermaids
This one is a ballad, it is really similar to The Islander, for me, that's a good thing. Sadly, there isn't a lot to be said about this one, my description of this one would be the description i would give The Islander, except it doesn't have Marco.
9.- Rest Calm
This is one of the songs where the band actually sounds like a band, feels like an actual Nightwish song with some orchestra on the background, it also has a really great chorus. The kids singing are back on this one and sound better here than they did on Ghost River. Great Song, makes you wish that there were more songs like this one.
10.- The Crow, The Owl And The Dove
Another ballad. I find this one to be more enjoyable than Turn loose the Mermaids, but i like this one more, although it's really similar, also, this one has Marco singing, which is always a good thing.
11.- Last Ride of the Day
Oh, we are back to single land. Another song that has all of the elements of a single. Epic orchestra, incredibly catchy, big chorus, it's all here and in my opinion it is better than in Storytime and I Want My Tears Back.
12.- Song of Myself
Well, this is disappointing. Every Nightwish album since Century Child has had one big song that absolutely destroys everything on the album. Century Child had Beauty of the Beast, Once had Ghost Love Score and Dark Passion Play had The Poet and the Pendulum. But don't let the song's length fool you, this one is seven minutes of song and six minutes and a half of people talking. The problem here, is that when you see the song's length (13:38) you think that it is going to be the epic song of the album, and while the first half is certainly epic, the second half features people talking which is disappointing. Maybe I'm being too harsh, because the first half is fantastic, i just say that i would have been nice to have a big song that is similar to what Nightwish has made in the past.
Wow, this is absolutely fantastic. Sadly, this is NOT Nightwish. The whole song is orchestral, it is some sort of an epilogue. The songs plays parts of almost every song in the album and sounds great, the downside however is that for this song to have the full effect, you have to listen to the whole album first. But anyways, while this one may not have the band playing, the orchestra is amazing.
While Nightwish may never return to their roots, they have crafted a really enjoyable album that further strays away from their roots, but manages to be great nonetheless.