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.