Rating:
9.1
Nightwish - Oceanborn
7 December 1998


01. Stargazers
02. Gethsemane
03. Devil & The Deep Dark Ocean
04. Sacrament Of Wilderness
05. Passion And The Opera
06. Swanheart
07. Moondance
08. The Riddler
09. The Pharaoh Sails To Orion
10. Walking In The Air [Howard Blake cover]
11. Nightquest [bonus]
12. A Return To The Sea [bonus]
13. Sleeping Sun [bonus]


Oceanborn. What's in a title? A lot. Purity and innocence are words that describe someone who is born in - or from - an ocean. There is a sweet innocence to Nightwish's 2nd album that can not be found in the later albums or on the previous one. "Dark Passion Play," "Nymphomaniac Fantasy," "She is my Sin," "Slaying the Dreamer" - what's in a title? That's not to say Oceanborn doesn't have its darker themes, too, they just aren't overwhelming. When I listen to the album as a whole, it is a solemn, but joyful experience. I get the feeling that Tuomas and the band really enjoyed making this album and made it for themselves. Back then, their music was still in the foreground and business was somewhere on the background, not even in clear focus. They didn't have the troubles and responsibilities they now carry, they were young and free.

Now, about the actual music. Oceanborn is balanced perfectly between Angel's Fall First and Wishmaster. The raw power of the first album is still here, though it is definitely more subtle. Songwriting has taken a huge leap forward, listen to the magnificent piano in Gethsemane. The performance of the band as a whole is much, much better than it was on Angel's fall first. Tarja is perhaps at her best here, as evidence by The Passion and the Opera. Emmpu's guitar in Sacrament of Wilderness is a clear sign that Tuomas should have him write more solos. (You've got a great guitarist, let him show his skills!)

There isn't a single bad song on Oceanborn, but the ones that really stand out are Gethsemane, Sacrament of Wilderness, Swanheart, which best represents the innocence and joy that I mentioned, and of course Nightwish's best ballad: Sleeping Sun. It is my opinion that ballads have always been the shortcomings of Nighwish; Sleeping sun is the exception, that proves the rule.

In conclusion: 9.1 may seem like a bit of a stretch, but remember that we are talking about (one of) the greatest symphonic metal band(s) in existence and Oceanborn represents the best of their "era of innocence."

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 10
Production: 8


Band profile: Nightwish
Album: Oceanborn


 


written by ErnilEnNaur | 24.04.2010


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:
10
It's always hard to be objective when you talk about one of your favourite bands.I can's pretend I am going to be objective here, because I like this band so much.

The most noticeable thing with Nightwish is that everything lays on Tarja Turunen's fragile shoulders. And as her voice is perfect, everything works, even better than on the first album Angels Fall First. Compared to this one, Oceanborn is heavier, more varied and has, of course, a better sound, and finally Tuomas Holopainen decided to stop singing (his voice scared me when I first heard Angels Fall First): he who writes everything, and has stunning keyboard sounds decided to let Tarja do the job.

Read more ››
published 18.09.2003 | Comments (22)

Guest review by
Spyroid

Rating:
7.6
Oceanborn - for many people the highlight of Nightwish's discography. This is a very hard album to review for me - I've had it for several years and I'm still not sure what I think about it. On some points Oceanborn is a masterpiece with ten points out of ten - I'll describe how first.

The material itself on this album is pure professionalism - song structures are all interesting and the only song I find to be bad is 'Swanheart' which always manages to bore me. Guitars are interesting, the keyboards are almost virtuoso and the performance is overall top notch. There's a lot of instrumental passages through the tracks which provide a lot; they take the music away from the deep, deep swamp of 'verse-bridge-refrain-repeat-solo-refrain-end'. I can't really find any tracks that are better than the others and for me there are no real hits here. That is the main reason why this album isn't perfect.

Read more ››
published 07.07.2008 | Comments (17)



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Damnated_Soul - 24.04.2010 at 15:01  
Great review. Couldn't agree more with you

Thank you ErnilEnNaur
Warman - 24.04.2010 at 15:26  
Great review and one of my favourite albums! Although I disagree with Vuorinen being great, he's decent IMO.
Ellrohir - 24.04.2010 at 17:18  
Possibly best NW album
Elodie Artour - 24.04.2010 at 18:02  
It's a good review, ErnilEnNaur. However, I disagree about Nightwish's ballads being their shortcomings. Do I have to name all those wonderful ballads that are created and performed by this band? (Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan, Creek Mary's Blood, Dead Boy's Poem, Angels Fall First, etc.)
Anibx - 24.04.2010 at 22:54  
Good review but a bit subjective. Too much charged with the reviewer opinion. I personaly think this album is wonderfull, we agreed with that, but I don't judge Tuomas for the lack of innocence in Dark Passion Play, I mean, is their sixth album, the innocence has been changed with experience, and that's a good thing.
Janne - 25.04.2010 at 10:15  
Nice review! This is my favourite NW album, one of my absoulutely 10/10 votes
..and now it made me listen to it
Akram - 26.04.2010 at 17:20  
Agreed! Oceanborn is their best album. Anyway I've stopped listening to their music after Tarja's departure.
Zulis - 29.04.2010 at 08:26  
Personal fav of all of NW, and very nice review.
mariano - 03.05.2010 at 23:58  
Written by Ellrohir on 24.04.2010 at 17:18

Possibly best NW album


Not only the best Nightwish album... but the best symphonic album ever made.
This album inspired a lot of bands that adopted the same style but none of them got even close to it
UnknownCheese - 07.05.2010 at 22:33  
Symphonic metal is in hard shape if this is the best the genre has to offer.
muska - 15.05.2010 at 23:03  
Got to agree with the reviewer, been my favourite NW album for years, review looks a bit biased, but essentially true
ErnilEnNaur - 13.07.2010 at 07:47  
Written by Elodie Artour on 24.04.2010 at 18:02

It's a good review, ErnilEnNaur. However, I disagree about Nightwish's ballads being their shortcomings. Do I have to name all those wonderful ballads that are created and performed by this band? (Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan, Creek Mary's Blood, Dead Boy's Poem, Angels Fall First, etc.)


Thank You! About the songs you mentioned: I love Creek Mary's Blood and Dead Boy's Poem, but they aren't ballads, they become heavy and fast-paced half-way through. I don't like Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan or Angels fall first, but that's just me. Tell you the truth, I can't stand 99 % of all ballads by metal bands. There are of course exceptions like Bard's Song, Abandoned and Sleeping Sun, but most metal ballads are just...ugh.
ErnilEnNaur - 13.07.2010 at 07:53  
Written by Anibx on 24.04.2010 at 22:54

Good review but a bit subjective. Too much charged with the reviewer opinion. I personaly think this album is wonderfull, we agreed with that, but I don't judge Tuomas for the lack of innocence in Dark Passion Play, I mean, is their sixth album, the innocence has been changed with experience, and that's a good thing.


Thank You for your reply. I certainly do not condemn Tuomas for loosing the innocence of Oceanborn on the following albums, I simply put forth said innocence as something that makes Oceanborn stand out, not necessarily as being better, but simply as being different - more innocent.
Oriax - 16.01.2012 at 13:52  
I am not a huge Nightwish fan (only have 2 albums) Here are some of my thoughts on this album though:

Drums and guitar work are nice and intresting, with lots of tempo changes, catchy rythms. Keyboards are very good, adding to the general 'magical' feel to the music.
The classical instruments fit well into the music, the timing is good. I also think the production of this album is top-notch.
Vocals - Tarja Turunen is a great singer, we all know that. Her tone of voice fits perfectly with the change in tempos --- Yet, if I focus on her voice to much I get a unpleasant clench in my stomach and a mental frown. Not as easy listening as Simone Simons for eg. Oh yea and I thought the male singer was rubbish..

I guess that back in 1998 this must have been revolutionary stuff, and feels like it was before its time, cause its now 14 years later and I hear it for the first time, and it is still damn good! Lots of good songs in here are great. Just not the slow songs IMO, they are boring as fuck!!
ErnilEnNaur - 19.01.2012 at 15:24  
Coming back after all this time, this review really sucks. I know it was my first, but what the hell is all this pretentious crap... and calling Emppu a great guitarist, he is good, nothing more. Then saying that ballads are their weakness, but naming Swanheart as a stand out song? Damn it, I must have been drunk, but I don't drink. Still a great album though.
Milena - 11.02.2012 at 21:32  
Written by Guest on 19.01.2012 at 15:24

Coming back after all this time, this review really sucks. I know it was my first, but what the hell is all this pretentious crap... and calling Emppu a great guitarist, he is good, nothing more. Then saying that ballads are their weakness, but naming Swanheart as a stand out song? Damn it, I must have been drunk, but I don't drink. Still a great album though.

Well actually, Emppu is a great guitarist... not in techniques, but he is one of the more tasteful players when it comes to guitar solos. Never knew Nightwish records back to back or anything, but his playing shone as one of the positives for me always. They never really let him shine.

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