After much umming and ahhing I have found myself listening to Nightwish’s most recent album Imaginaerum (I’m in the mood where I can’t decide what to listen to) and to my shock and horror I realised that I haven’t reviewed it.
So after a quick slap on the wrist (and saving my uni work because I learnt my lesson after losing my minimal progress yesterday) I pulled up my blog and got to it.
Everything from the spelling to the accompanying film screams ambitious. But then Nightwish always have been and after 2007’s Dark Passion Play, the most successful Nightwish album in the U.K and U.S, they had no choice but to carry on being ambitious.
Taikatalvi is atmospheric, setting the bar for the album, Marco croons softly as Tuomas allows his fingers to glide gently over the keyboard. Sung in Finnish, their native language, it gradually builds in power until fading into Storytime in which the powerful guitars are set free and Anette once again displays exactly why they chose her from thousands of applicants.
While Anette may not be classically trained that does not take away from the dramatics of it. In fact she is able to eke out that extra bit of emotion that makes this such an amazing release. The instruments are used to full effect creating songs on such a huge scale that hasn’t really been seen since Once (excluding Poet and the Pendulum from Dark Passion Play of course, you can’t get any more epic than that).
Imaginaerum offers up plenty of the trademark Nightwish music but it also goes into genres that the band have never really delved into. For instance Slow, Love, Slow is quite jazzy, Anette handles the vocals particularly well, no longer stressed out in having to prove herself, and Marco, Tuomas and Emppu are safe in the knowledge that the future of the band is secure. The turbulent ride through their transition period is coming to an end and as such they can afford to write the more relaxing, but no less dramatic, tracks.
Then there’s the wonderfully fast paced and creepy Scaretale. Starting with Ring a Ring O’ Roses it leads into amazingly unusual vocals. Anette isn’t afraid to challenge her voice and she certainly does so for the duration of this song, making it ‘ugly’ in certain parts as if playing an evil character.
This isn’t something that Nightwish have really done before, at least not on this scale and when Marco comes into it, it goes from feeling like a fairytale to a circus. Such is the power of Nightwish, they might be classed as power metal or symphonic metal or gothic metal but they’ve pushed the boundaries so much that they are a genre in themselves. They don’t obey the rules and in disregarding them they have created something beautiful and wonderful and unique.
The energy of the album doesn’t wane either, it carries on as strong as always. With each album Nightwish get better and better and until their next release, Imaginaerum is their masterpiece.