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A retrospective on Nightwish in advance of the upcoming “VEHICLE OF SPIRIT”

Monday, August 21, 2017 | Album Review

Nightwish is one of the very few names that will be remembered in metal history. Since the beginning, the lyrics and dramatic sound of this band has become their signature, the emotional presentations they give for every concert and the influence on new musicians. We’ve been waiting a long while for VEHICLE OF SPIRIT, the next live album, and what better way to spend this downtime than to revisit their past albums?

Their first live album, FROM WISHES TO ETERNITY, can be described as filled with energy, adrenaline, strong and heavy sound: Every second of music flows through your veins. Nightwish creates a unique atmosphere for hardcore fans and newcomers, both at the same time, so they can enjoy it equally. Tarja Turunen is the indisputable queen of her stage with the vocals, becoming the perfect complement for her band mates, especially for Tuomas Holopainen on the keyboards and Emppu Vuorinen for the guitar.

In END OF AN ERA, we see a more mature sound, now focused on the music and not Tarja’s vocals, which combine with Marco Hietalia’s and a special guest’s. The band now assumes a more speed-power metal style, with heartbreaking guitars, a Goliath-like battery and chirping keyboards, divided by a couple of emotional tracks. Despite its lack of presence, it’s easy to note the orchestral sound Nightwish’s approaching, showing a brighter future for the band, which has already become a significant reference in the metal scene before this concert.

As for MADE IN HONG KONG (And Various Other Places), the real sound of the band comes alive. Holopainen said he always looked for a vocalist like Anette Olzon, and I can see why! The orchestral sound they presented on the past disc is deeper and worked for this one, with a better balance between war-ish, loud songs, dreaming ballads and an instrumental track we dance along as it plays. Pure musical poetry is how I could describe this album, and we will agree that Nightwish never sounded this good. What a shame it’s the only one with Olzon.

Finally, we greet vocalist Floor Jansen on SHOWTIME, STORYTIME. She becomes the midpoint between her two predecessors, demonstrating their both styles in her own, wild way. We also get to know Troy Donockley, who adds a folk touch on three songs, a little glimpse of what the band would become on the near future. Past and present fly together, between powerful tracks and dreaming ballads, as the new integrant proves herself as a versatile, charismatic voice, who can sing whatever she may need. A new Empress has risen!

VEHICLE OF SPIRIT can easily become a great addition to this collection, and Jansen’s voice, powerful and beautiful at equal parts, seems to be the right piece that Nightwish needed since the beginning. We just need to wait for a couple of weeks to hear her again, with the rest of the band, on a new live album. Expectations have been created over the years, but soon it will be seen if the two newcomers can achieve the quality the band has reached.

VEHICLE OF SPIRIT is out this Friday (December 16th) but you can pre-order the live-DVD/Blu-ray set now at the official Nightwish shop!

“Jansen’s voice, powerful and beautiful at equal parts, seems to be the right piece”

Alan D.D. is writer, blogger and journalist based in Venezuela with an unhealthy obsession with witches and gothic music. In addition to writing for Rue Morgue, it is also part of Auxiliary Magazine, Gothic & Amazing, Intravenous Magazine, New Age Journal and I am 1 in 4. When not working, he can be found either reading, watching a movie, a TV series or using his tarot cards.
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