Nightwish is a very unique band that have really stood the test of time in the world of power metal. They've released plenty of full length albums and have gained huge success within the underground metal scene. Their unique sound is achieved by the use of Tarja Turunen's operatic vocals and behind that the songs are dominated by the musical genius Tuomas Holopainen's keyboard work and songwriting prowess. But where did this band start" We're about to find out. Enter the realm where...
Angels Fall First
Nightwish's lineup on this album was:
Tarja Turunen - Lead vocals
Emmpu Vuorinen - Guitars, Bass
Tuomas Holopainen - Keyboards, Male vocals
Jukka Nevalainen - Drums
Every band has an image, feeling, or style that they try to use early on in order to gain attention. I already told you about this band's in the first paragraph, and you'll probably guess that they certainly used it to be known when this album was released. While the band's ideas and feelings were there at the time, the band had not fully become cohesive and their songs often become choppy and occasionally, it seems, uninspired. An example of the band's choppiness can be seen in the band's epic song "The Beauty and the Beast". It's a solid song, but there are too many breaks in between which can be confusing at times, especially since Tuomas isn't great at speaking English.
That was the major point behind this review right there; that the band had an image and signature sound, but they had not clearly mastered it yet like they would on their sophomore album, Oceanborn
. No matter, every band needs time to develop, but that would still take away from the album's overall rating just because it occasionally just becomes difficult to listen to.
The rest of this review will be positive, so don't worry about this being a Nightwish flame fest. As far as talent goes within the band, Nightwish is right where they need to be. Tarja is an extremely talented vocalist who has clearly had plenty of vocal training to make her one of the best female vocalists I've ever heard. It's a pleasure to listen to her sing on every album because she never really has a bad moment, at least when she's singing. The intro where she speaks out a few lines in the song "Elvenpath" is slightly humorous because of the accent she has. No matter, that's not the main focus of the song.
Emmpu would be the master of the stringed instruments on this album. He does an above average job and delivers some pretty cool riffs at times, but for the most part he's just laying down a solid rhythm and groove for the rest of the band to follow. He does get to have some really cool lead parts though, like on the track "The Carpenter" where he and Tuomas have a bit of a guitar/keyboard duel, just like something you would expect from Children of Bodom. It's one of my favorite parts of the album. Emmpu has the space to be a great guitarist, but on this album he lays back for the majority of the songs instead of playing out. He could have played some more interesting harmony parts from time to time, but it's not all that bad that he didn't. His bass playing is often nonexistant, but you can hear it come out on certain occasions. When the bass is turned up it's usually laying down a pretty catchy and groovy line that's fun to listen to. You can tell that Emmpu isn't a natural bass player, but he does a good job at it anyways.
Jukka isn't exactly your typical metal drummer. If you're familiar with the metal scene, especially power metal, you'd know that this genre is loaded with plenty of double bass drum madness and an array of blast beats. This man just seems to avoid all of this and simply lays down the beats that carry the song along, with some occasional double bass, but not too much. His work is never the main focus of the album, but that's not what Nightwish is all about. I think the band could be really awesome with some better drum beats, but apparently the band didn't think so.
If you remember what I said earlier about keyboardist and male vocalist Tuomas Holopainen, you'd remember that I said he was a musical genius. I'm not going to go back on what I said. This man really knows how to write out parts for the band (I have read that he is the band's principle songwriter). His keyboard parts seem to always be the main focus of the album's twelve tracks, and for good reason. They're always adding some extra feeling and emotion to the band's songs and they never become hackneyed. Such examples of musical greatness can be found on the albums title track "Angels Fall First", where he doubles the part of a strign section and flut parts. It's just a pleasure to listen to. For all of you aspiring keyboard players out there, look no further than Nightwish. Tuomas really knows how to compose great metal songs that are just chock full of emotion.
The Beauty and the Beast
Angels Fall First
Know Why The Nightingale Sings
-- This band is very unique
-- Tarja has an amazing voice
-- Solid guitar riffs and occasional bass lines
-- Tremendous keyboard work
-- Good production quality
-- Guitar work could be brought out more
-- Tuomas' vocals aren't very good
-- The band has not fully developed their greatness yet
-- Drums are too simple
Final Rating: 3.5/5