Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Nightwish's latest album is different, and very interesting

The symphonic metal group Nightwish from Finland have produced some interesting music over the years.  I've enjoyed some of their songs, intensely disliked others, and had some real moral and ethical problems with what appeared to be a dark, almost Satanic influence that seemed to color some of their most popular numbers.  For example, one of their most popular songs, 'Wish I Had An Angel', refers to the Virgin Mary and angels in ways that I find very disturbing.  I know that in today's post-Christian society many entertainers choose to (mis)use religious symbols in that fashion, but as a man of faith I find it impossible to accept or condone.

However, Nightwish's latest album, released in March this year, is something bright and new from them.  They appear to have moved away from their darker roots and focused on being a band, instead of a collection of eclectic individuals.  'Endless Forms Most Beautiful' focuses on the theories of Charles Darwin, with an intellectual nod to Richard Dawkins.  I suppose it could be described as a musical consideration of the secular world, from a non-Christian perspective but nevertheless containing definite spiritual elements.  It concludes with an almost orchestral half-hour-long piece that's the longest track Nightwish has ever recorded.  Two new members, vocalist Floor Jansen and Uillean piper Troy Donockley, provide an international influence to mellow the sometimes harshly Finnish flavor of the band's remaining original musicians.  Orchestral and choral elements balance the metal/hard rock band and add considerable depth.

To give you a taste of the new album, here's the third track, 'Elan'.

The whole album is interesting enough that after sampling it on YouTube, I bought it outright (the deluxe edition, including instrumental versions of all the tracks as well as the original vocal versions).  I'm thoroughly enjoying it.  If you like hard rock, metal and symphonic music, in any particular combination, you might want to give this a try.  I think you'll like it.  Also, the (mis)use of elements of faith in the group's earlier albums appears to be absent from this one - a huge improvement, IMHO.  I hope it continues.



Sara said...


If you liked this album (I know I did! Hooray, it's almost cheerful!), I highly recommend some of Kamelot's work as well. I'm a woman of faith myself, and although I do dislike a few of Kamelot's darker stuff (Poetry for the Poisoned is a pretty depressing album, and not one of their best, although it too has some songs about redemption, etc), they are overall pretty uplifting and inspiring for a metal group. :) (Funnily enough, one of the reasons their last singer--an incredible vocalist named Roy Khan--left was because he wanted to have more time to devote to his religion and family, and the rest of the band--though apparently not particularly religious--were very respectful of that choice.) Their two best albums (in my opinion) are Epica and the Black Halo, and together are something of a symphonic metal-opera rendition of the Faust story...with the Faust stand-in character running the gamut of fall and redemption (also realizing what an idiot he was). It's really very excellent.

Within Temptation is another really good group that seems to like singing about Angels/doing the right thing/standing your ground. Also the Cruxshadows, though they're more techno than metal. :D (Winterborn, Sophia, and Eye of the Storm are to this day three of my favorite go-to good-guy-heroic songs.)

Cap'n Jan said...

I second Sara - Within Temptation is worth taking a look at. They are the best of the best (IMNSHO). I am a fan of symphonic music, so symphonic metal, with those wonderful women soloists was right down my alley.

Here's a link to 'Memories'. This is a video with a theme (rare these days). I bet you will like it.

Sara said...

"Angels" is also awesome. It has a story! Angel hit squad hunting down killers...

Alas, I'm at work, so I can't post a link. But you should totally look up Within Temptation + Angels. :D

Also check out The Haunting by Kamelot. I love a good male vocalist, and they don't get much better than Roy Khan. Although Kamelot's new vocalist is as good or maybe even better--he's got an incredible range, can sound exactly like Roy Khan if he wants to, and isn't suffering from the vocal deterioration that poor Khan was and which contributed to his retirement. 'Insomnia' is the video from their latest album, it's got a cool cyberpunk thing going on.

Sasa said...

Just to let you know, Tarja Turunen is making album consisting purely of different versions of Ave Maria, including one of her own.

Never cared much of Nightwish, more into AC/DC, Motorhead, Iron Maiden, that sort of stuff, but I've been in one of her concerts with me wife and her granny. Some say she is middling as opera singer, but she sure does have the charisma. Ask from the granny.

Anonymous said...

Great choice! Nightwish is one of my favorites. Floor Jansen has been a great addition with a strong clear voice.