Rating:
9.5
Nightwish - Once
7 June 2004


01. Dark Chest Of Wonders
02. Wish I Had An Angel
03. Nemo
04. Planet Hell
05. Creek Mary's Blood
06. The Siren
07. Dead Gardens
08. Romanticide
09. Ghost Love Score
10. Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan
11. Higher Than Hope
12. White Night Fantasy [bonus]
13. Live To Tell The Tale [bonus]
14. Where Were You Last Night [Ankie Bagger cover] [bonus]
+ Nemo [video]


I would say that this is something as uncommon as a perfect (when it comes to rating) album with flaws! I used to claim that every perfect album needs to have unity, and be totally free of any letdown songs/flaws. And Once, plus a handful other albums, are the exceptions to the rule of mine.

Nightwish are one of the most professional bands out there. When I listen to 'Once', I can't find any flaws at all in the musicianship. All the good songs are perfectly completed compositions and their lyrics are tastefull and interesting. The choirs and orchestra are perfectly blended with the really Heavy Metal riffs and drums, and the piano/keyboard pieces are great. Toumas is probably the reincarnation of Mozart and I would guess that his father is Howard Shore or Andrew Lloyd Webber. This is soundtrack metal at it's finest. Since I love cheesy epic soundtracks, this of course appeals to me!

The guitar riffs and solos on Once are really tastefully composed. When you memorise the riffs and listen to them alone it almost sounds like American metal, but they are for sure more inspired and the mix with fragile classical music makes them perfect. The sound of the bass in the mix is better than on any other Symphonic Metal album I've heard and Marco is a flawless singer. The production overall is world class. Jukka's drums are professionaly simplistic at the right moments and tastefully slightly 'progressive' at others. The only flaw in the musicianship would be Tarja's pronounciation, which actually is quite charming and puts a 'native' touch to the album.

You've been waiting for the flaws I was talking about in the beginning? Here we go - the only weak points of this album is that some songs simply doesn't appeal to me. Maybe they just put the songs in wrong order? Because I find 'Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan' quite boring after the great epic 'Ghost Love Score' and 'The Siren' kind of destroys the atmosphere that was built up in 'Creek Mary's Blood'. Maybe the album is too straggling? You could call it the soundtrack to a movie with to many characters. The only song that I think is really weak (not just 'not my kind') would be the bonus track White Night Fantasy which sounds like a filler on an old Nightwish album with really weak singing efforts.

I always prefer to look at an album as a whole, as a concept, but maybe I have to see this one as a collection of great songs. The quality of the music is so high that I have to rate it thus. Highlights? I guess anyone has GOT to love the first four songs, but you might find all songs appealing in different way. 'Dead Gardens' is an undiscovered jewel.

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 10


Band profile: Nightwish
Album: Once


 


written by Spyroid | 05.10.2007


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Staff review by
Collin

Rating:
6.5
Before hearing the 'Nemo' single, I was looking forward to this new album of Nightwish (one of my favourite bands by the way). After hearing this single I was even more looking forward to the full-length. After listening to Once a good dozen times, I realize I was so better-off before. I hate saying that, like almost all the fans it twists my bowels to criticize Nightwish, but Once is to me terribly disappointing. Maybe I've heard too much about it, about the use of an orchestra, about the heavier riffs, Tarja's best performance ever…

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published 30.06.2004 | Comments (63)



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Katatronik - 05.10.2007 at 18:47  
Their best album by far IMO, a masterpiece of epic, gothic, powerful and melodic music... All songs are amazing, especially Ghost Love Score, Tarja is great with both operatic and "normal" vocals... Good review!
Ellrohir - 05.10.2007 at 19:04  
hell yeah ! you gave even higher rating than i wanted to give (but the staff didnt accepted my "song by song" review )...and i agree with the statement, Once is NW´s best album so far All are good, but one has to be the best
Spyroid - 05.10.2007 at 19:41  
Written by Katatronik on 05.10.2007 at 18:47

Their best album by far IMO, a masterpiece of epic, gothic, powerful and melodic music... All songs are amazing, especially Ghost Love Score, Tarja is great with both operatic and "normal" vocals... Good review!


Thanks! I think I forgot to point out that it's my favourite Nightwish album, it sure is.
Spyroid - 05.10.2007 at 19:43  
Written by Ellrohir on 05.10.2007 at 19:04

hell yeah ! you gave even higher rating than i wanted to give (but the staff didnt accepted my "song by song" review )...and i agree with the statement, Once is NW´s best album so far All are good, but one has to be the best


Haha, that has happened to me a couple of times aswell better luck next time ;P
I might have overrated it slightly, maybe 9.3. But what the heck. I love it!
Dark†SymphonY - 24.12.2009 at 20:16  
I definitely agree with this review. For me after the first 4 amazing songs. I tended to skip to my absolute favourite Nightwish song ever "Ghost Love Score". I then started to try out the other songs. "Dead Gardens" and "Romanticide" are very much powerful and strong startings of each song. But they ended for me very strangely and didnt flow at all. Also the album should have ended with Ghost Love Score.

In conclusion, an all time Symphonic Power metal masterpeice, that should be in everybodies collection. (Only if u like that kind of music)
Spyroid - 31.12.2009 at 01:12  
Written by Dark†SymphonY on 24.12.2009 at 20:16

I definitely agree with this review. For me after the first 4 amazing songs. I tended to skip to my absolute favourite Nightwish song ever "Ghost Love Score". I then started to try out the other songs. "Dead Gardens" and "Romanticide" are very much powerful and strong startings of each song. But they ended for me very strangely and didnt flow at all. Also the album should have ended with Ghost Love Score.

In conclusion, an all time Symphonic Power metal masterpeice, that should be in everybodies collection. (Only if u like that kind of music)


It's very hard to compete with the rest of the album, but Dead Gardens is an increibly good song IMO, definately one of the best Nightwish songs. I can't put my finger on why I like it but it's really kickass.
Ellrohir - 31.12.2009 at 09:47  
I dont like Dead Gardens that much...i dont think it suits to the "NW style" too much, it is just too harsh (maybe you like it especially because of it?)...and the song's outro is sick

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