Nightwish - Once review
|Release date:||June 2004|
01. Dark Chest Of Wonders
02. Wish I Had An Angel
04. Planet Hell
05. Creek Mary's Blood
06. The Siren
07. Dead Gardens
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.
|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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