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Nightwish – Imaginaerum

text: Helena Torstensson & M.Törnemyr

band: Nightwish
album: Imaginaerum
genre: Symphonic metal
release: 5 December 2011 (Europe), 16 January worldwide
label: Nuclear Blast

Nightwish is the kind of band that doesn’t need an introduction. This symphonic metal band was formed in 1996 by songwriter and keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen. He soon was joined by guitarist Emppu Vuorinen, drummer Jukka Nevailanen and vocalist Tarja Turunen. The original bassist Sami Vänskä was replaced by Marco Hietala in 2002, who also took over the male vocals. In 2005 Tarja left the band, replaced by Anette Olzon in 2007.

Taikatalvi” (Magic Winter) opens up with Marco Hietala singing beautifully in Finnish. I adore the slow and special feeling that this song creates, it brings a feeling of another world. The song is simple yet breathtaking and so very moving.

Ghost River” begins with a powerful guitar intro by Empu Vuorinen, followed by a charming melody. The combination of Anette Olzon’s lighter voice and Marco Hietala’s darker contrast, creates something special. The demanding chorus easily stays in your mind.

One of my favorite songs on this album is “I Want My Tears Back”.  From the start when guitars and Marco sets in, till the melody that follows. It is so haunting and very special. I quickly become spellbound by the Celtic sounding pipes that Troy Donockley delivers with such ease and cleverness. It´s a pleasure hearing Anette’s voice, telling the story of the song. During the chorus the vocals transform and Marco temporary takes control: impressive!

Hearing the pipe melody weaving in and out of focus all through the song is a pure pleasure. Towards the end you find a wonderful instrumental part, where the sound of clapping hands takes everything higher, the music seems to spin faster and faster and it´s hard to sit still. Bombastic, impressive drum abilities by Jukka. I think this one shows the greatness of Nightwish.

Turn Loose the Mermaids” is like a soothing and sweet lullaby, the song is so very beautiful and moving. The brilliance of this one is that you get the feeling that it´s simple . But the more you listen to it, the more this song grows on you and makes you understand how very complex it really is. The lyrics are leaving a lot to your own imagination: nothing is certain, you can let go and drift away bt this.

The Crow, The Owl and the Dove” is another song that really made an impression. It’s written by Marco Hietala (only one on the album). he shows a different vocal capability: singing lighter than before. Also in this song Anette Olzon really delivers and shows that her voice has become stronger. the story is presented with a lot of feelings and a less bombastic approach shows the ‘heart’ of this band.

Conclusion

I can imagine that this album might put the Nightwish fans into two kind of camps. Since some people seem to have a hard time looking past the change of female vocals, and really give Anette Olzon a chance. I haven’t much into this band before and it´s a relief not comparing it with previous albums. I can simply enjoy the musical journey that ‘Imaginaerum’ brings.

You can tell that Tuomas Holopainen have put some serious thought, and work, behind the arrangements. Fitting it to Anette´s voice. In the song “Let Loose the Mermaids” you hear that her voice is stronger, it sounds more certain compared to the way it sounded on the previous album “Dark Passion Play”. When I hear the way she sounds on “Imaginaerum” I would like to say that there is hope for her, managing the older Nightwish songs easier than before.

The music and all the arrangements on this album are simply brilliant. When you listen to the last song “Imaginaerum” you quickly learn that it´s built by pieces of all the other songs and you realize what an instrumental masterpiece it is.

Rating
9/10

Tracklist
1. Taikatalvi
2. Storytime
3. Ghost River
4. Slow, Love, Slow
5. I Want My Tears Back
6. Scaretale
7. Arabesque
8. Turn Loose The Mermaids
9. Rest Calm
10. The Crow, The Owl And The Dove
11. Last Ride Of The Day
12. Song Of Myself
13. Imaginaerum

Line-up
Anette Olzon – vocals
Tuomas Holopainen – keyboards
Marco Hietala – bass / vocals
Erno Vuorinen – guitars
Jukka Nevalainen – drums

Website
http://www.nightwish.com/en/

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