Nightwish
Century Child


4.0
excellent

Review

by Nick Butler EMERITUS
January 14th, 2005 | 78 replies | 22,252 views


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist


Nightwish - Century Child
Released 2002.
Spinefarm Records.

Tarja Turunen - Vocals
Jukka Nevalainen - Drums
Emppu Vuorinen - Guitars
Marco Hietala - Bass, Vocals
Tuomas Holopainen - Keys & Piano

I don't know if the same if happening where you live, but in England, Evanescence seem to have had a profound effect on the music industry. And no, I'm NOT kidding. Of course, in the wake of a band like Evanescence - a band with a sound easily equated to 'underground' bands , and a band that have launched themselves to a level of success fans of those bands feel they don't deserve - a thousand and one people come out of the woodwork extolling the virtues of Lacuna Coil, Within Temptation, Lullacry, and of course, Nightwish.

Now I invite you to look at the current playlist for Scuzz, the nearest thing England has to a heavy metal music channel. They have somewhere around 40 videos a week people can vote for when there's not a show on. Out of those 40, there have recently been 2 Lacuna Coil videos, Nightwish's most recent single Nemo, and most surprisingly of all, Within Temptation's Mother Earth. That's a single taken from an album released almost 3 years ago!!! Even Cradle Of Filth's new video is getting mainstream airplay, and I wouldn't be surprised if the female vocalist in that video played a major part in that decision. What's more, both Nightwish and Lacuna Coil have at some point or another been added to the playlist of The Box - a pop channel! That's Nightwish, a power metal band with a classically trained singer, sitting alongside Usher, Maroon 5, and Robbie Williams. It's fantastic, but it beggars belief.

Another thing working in Nightwish's favour is everybody's favourite sell-out heroin-addict Jackass cohorts, HIM, and their featherheaded bastard offspring, The Rasmus. As poor as both of these bands are (or in HIM's case, have become), they both have experienced chart success, won awards from magazines (HIM were even voted Best Band In The World by Metal Hammer - I didn't realise so many 13 year old girls read it), and are both from that magical land we call Finland. Guess who else comes from Finland? Hanoi Rocks. And Nighwish.

So, with both of these in mind, it's fair to say that Nightwish's time is NOW. Hell, they've just signed a US deal with Roadrunner, if you needed more proof. Their new album, Once, has already topped the European album charts, as well as going top 5 in the UK indie chart, and going platinum a silly amount of times of their native Finland. And - irony of ironies - they're going to be on the soundtrack to a movie called Alone In The Dark, starring Tara Reid. How America reacts to them we'll have to wait and see, but the signs are incredibly good. And then, who knows? Hammerfall on TRL? Anything's possible.

Century Child was the album that got me into Nightwish, and also the album that got me into power metal. In the wake of this album I went on a musical feeding frenzy, amassing so many mp3s from Rhapsody, Iced Earth, Blind Guardian and their ilk, that my computer died under the weight of all of them and I had to reboot the thing. Back then I had dial-up, too.

So it's fair to say Century Child was a pretty big album for me. I bought it the day it was released, after hearing some mp3s on a friend's computer - she stumbled upon them while searching for Nevermore. It absolutely blew me away.

Looking back on it now, it's not as good as I originally thought it was. The thing with Nightwish is that, compared to everything around them, they're pretty unique, yet within themselves, they didn't start experimenting until Once. Be that as it is, everything from Angels Fall First up to this album is pretty much interchangable. Although, while Century Child follows exactly the same path travelled on the first 4 albums, for my money it's the best of that bunch, and is the one I'd choose to play to somebody who wanted to know what this band is all about.

So what IS this band all about? I'd definitely say that they're power metal, but there's been some debate about that in the Rock & Metal forums. They certainly have unorthodox vocals for a power metal band; not only is Tarja female, she's also undergone professional training as a soprano at both the Sibelius Academy in Kuopio, and the Music University of Karlsruhe. She completed the latter of those two courses just as Nightwish began recording this album, and she's releasing a solo album at the end of this year, featuring works by Wagner and Verdi, among others. There are also male vocals on this album, handled by bassist Marco Hietala (ex-Tarot), who has a more traditional power metal voice. All the writing credits on the album go to Tuomas, the keyboard player; a man with an equal interest in metal, classical/romantic music, and film scores. The lyrics are fairly standard power metal lyrics, only more directly emotional. The line-up is completed Emppu and Jukka, on guitar and drums respectively. Neither are likely to make anybody's 'Best Guitarist/Drummer EVERE!!!11' list, but both are more than capable.

Century Child contains several of Nightwish's best loved songs, and displays just about every facet of the band. There's the prog-rock flavoured keyboards on Dead To The World, the pure-molten-metal riffs on Slaying The Dreamer, the beautifully orchestrated single Ever Dream (love Nemo? You'll love this), and the obligatory cover, this time of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom Of The Opera. In the past, Nightwish have also covered Walking In The Air (from The Snowman) and Over The Hills And Far Away, by Gary Moore, and these three songs stand up as some of Nightwish's best work.

All those tracks, the cover version aside, fall within the first half of the album, and it's tempting to say that the first half of the album towers over the second. That's not true, but it can seem that way. Forever Yours is the problem - it's pretty, and oddly reminiscent of The Land Before Time, but it feels like it kills all the momentum of the album. Ocean Soul and Feel For You, however, are both great. The album ends with an Iced Earth-style trilogy which rounds off the album nicely, and is in fact quite an overlooked track in the Nightwish canon.

So, while Wishmaster remains their masterpiece, and Once is likely to be the album that really breaks them into mainstream consciousness, Century Child stand as Nightwish's most accessible - and most consistent - work. And that's no bad thing.

4/5.
Recommended Downloads -

Ever Dream, the album's power ballad, had provided an entry point into the band for at least a dozen people that I've got into them previously. If you want something harder, I'd say Dead To The World - although if you really want some hard Nightwish songs this is probably the wrong album for you!



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Det_Nosnip
September 24th 2004



374 Comments


Good review, but don't forget about Bless the Child! The video for that one's actually pretty cool...I love the make-up work on Tarja, she looks badass.

Anyways...Century Child isn't my favorite Nightwish album (right now, Wishmaster and Once are competing for it), but it's a solid album. "Beauty of the Beast" is an awesome number. :cool:

Iai
Emeritus
September 24th 2004



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I haven't seen that video. :upset:

Dark Hero
September 24th 2004



160 Comments


Awesome review, I've only heard 1 Nightwish song, I guess I'll have to check this album out.

Iai
Emeritus
September 24th 2004



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Which one?

Dark Hero
September 24th 2004



160 Comments


I think it was called The End of All Hope, it was a good song, I love the singer she has some talent.

Iai
Emeritus
September 24th 2004



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

She certainly does.

Edit: And, to be blunt, I'd hit it.

Theo
September 24th 2004



84 Comments


Nightwish are awesome. I have a T-shirt with that album cover, it's beautiful. Too bad i can't wear it, M is too small for me.
Don't diss HIM man, HIM are awesome. How have they become worse? Are you saying 666 love songs was their best stuff? Cuz that is ridiculous. Their songwriting skills have only improved since then. Love Metal, IMO, is their best album, only one I can listen to on repeat for hours. The Sacrament, Funeral of Hearts - beautifull ballads. Soul On Fire - awesome riff. So don't diss HIM cuz the ROCK! And so do NIGHTWISH! and so does APOCALYPTICA!!!!!! Finland ROX!

Iai
Emeritus
September 24th 2004



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Him have just got worse and worse since Razorblade Romance. ...And Love Said No (the song) is embarassing. Funeral Of Hearts and The Sacrament bored the hell out of me.

In other news, I have that T-shirt too.

Det_Nosnip
September 27th 2004



374 Comments


[QUOTE=Iai]I haven't seen that video. :upset:[/QUOTE]

If you want it, hit me up on AIM @ Theotedted

Det_Nosnip
October 25th 2004



374 Comments


Hmm...I actually find myself listening to this album more than anything nowadays, go figure. :lol: Although as far as album structures go, they do follow similar patterns as before, the individual songs themselves are very distinct compared to the rest of Nightwish's career. In particular: "Bless the Child" and "Feel For You," both very atypical Nightwish songs. I also keep finding myself drawn back to "End of all Hope" and "Forever Yours."

SlayingTheDreamer
November 5th 2004



1 Comments


I also have that shirt...and my beautiful Nightwish belt... :thumb:

Anyway...I know HIM have turned into bastards, and it's true....their old concerts kid arse because they cared about their audience and realised that without us they wouldn't be up there....but now (especially ville) they dont care anymore, they even admitted at the Cambridge concert that they're big headed....and its because fame got to them and screaming 13 year old girls. All because they were advertised so much, which is what peope aredoing now to Nightwish. :angry: ..Im hoping they won't change as they're amazing but if people keep telling everyone about them on websites then screaming teens will be at their tour next year too! Christ, 3 years ago I'd write Nightwish on my bag and everyone would be like "what the hell is that" and now its like " ohhhh my god!! I love them!!!" so its already getting bad...just hopefully it will stay like this ...and not like HIM...Anyways is anyone going to see them February 12th? I have my tickets!! :D :thumb:

Iai
Emeritus
November 5th 2004



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Wa-hey, bumped! I'd actually forgotten I'd reviewed this.

While this thread is around, have you heard about a) Tarja's solo album, and b) Emppu's side-project? It's straight classical in the case of the former, and straight metal in the case of the latter. Can't wait to hear both.

Det_Nosnip
November 6th 2004



374 Comments


Definetly. I'd love to hear the full extension of her voice...although she really lays the emotion down with Nightwish, somehow I don't think she's using half of her range. :lol: Tarja hasn't mentioned it on her site, though....are you sure about this?
http://www.tarjaturunen.com/

Unless you mean the Christmas single..?

Iai
Emeritus
November 7th 2004



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

14.09.2004
Tarja went again into Finnvox Studios, but this time to record two songs for her first solo CD single release outside of Nightwish ever: two Christmas traditional Finnish songs with the production of Esa Nieminen:


I read it as 'solo album' rather than 'solo single'. So yeah, I do mean the single. Heh.

janyeno
November 8th 2004



6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this album and wishmaster are 2 of my favorite albums ever...

Lord Hypnos
January 22nd 2005



14 Comments


I haven't really got into this album for some reason - it just can't compare to Once.

BlackWolf
March 19th 2005



1 Comments


mmmh... it's quite good (once), but i think that Oceanborn, AFF and Century Child are their best albs... Once is turning a little bit mainstrean IMHO.. not that it wouldn't be good (the album, not the mainstream thing :D ), but it is definitely different than the others before...

Iai
Emeritus
March 19th 2005



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nightwish are pretty mainstream here (UK), and they're massive in Europe.

Shattered_Future
March 19th 2005



1539 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This was the first Nightwish album i ever bought, and i didnt like it at first. However, it grew on me after a few listens. I think Marco's voice is a perfect match for Tarja's...shes got the emotion, and hes got the raw power.

I love how it gets deceptively quiet at the end of Bless The Child, and then the opening riff for End Of All Hope just slams you back into your chair.

talentless
March 31st 2005



94 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You can't connect Nightwish with Evanescence. You just can't. Besides the obvious musical differences (keyboards, better drumming), Nightwish was making records way before the success of "Fallen." I don't even think you can equate Nightwish's recent success with Evanescence, because Nightwish has been popular in Europe for a while. It was only a matter of time before they started having an impact in America.

Anyway, nice review. My fav song is "Dead to World," mostly for the keyboards and that bridge section ("It's not the monsters under your bed") with piano, Tarja, and the double kick drumming.



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