Nightwish - Once - 2004 - Nuclear Blast Reviewed by: Nailer
1. Dark Chest Of Wonders 2. Wish I Had An Angel 3. Nemo 4. Planet Hell 5. Creek Marys Blood 6. Siren 7. Dead Gardens 8. Romanticide 9. Ghost Love Score 10. Kuolema Tekee Taiteililjan 11. Higher Than Hope
The last time I gave Nightwish a spin, 1998's "Oceanborn", I felt the operatic power metal was like a bad blend of Helloween, Yanni and Charlotte Church. Given the number of great reviews out there for the new CD "Once", I took another chance on the band and couldn't have been more pleased. The muddled metal mix I heard before is now a powerhouse of diamond force and beauty.
The songs themselves are the real strength of "Once". Lead singer Tarja Turunen is immensely talented, but her strong vocals and the full orchestration never overpowers the record or the individual songs as I felt they did before. The fast-paced, Euro-power metal is focused with razor-sharp, heavier-than-I-expected guitar riffs and the keyboards are more accessible than new-agey. "Once" could lead to a new of round of soundtrack-inspired metal.
From the single-friendly "Dark Chest of Wonders" and "Dead Gardens" to the epic "Ghost Love Story" and "Creek Mary's Blood", lyrics are inspiring and literary enough that when combined with the symphonic touches give off a theater feel that draws me into its atmospherics.
"Once" is a vital, artistic achievement not to be missed.
Bottom Line: Orchestral power metal doesn't get any better than this.
Score: 9 of 10
About this Writer: Frank Hill // Frank Hill has been at this site since its slimy, crying birth in '03. He was born on National Metal Day--11/11 and will turn his hearing aids up to 11 when he's 111. He secretly listens to a lot of old Country and Doo-Wop tunes and wants to start a cyberband with lead vocals by Robot Plant. He is still trying to figure out what Judas Priest meant by "paratamize you". If you read this, then he salutes you.
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