Rating:
7.0
Nightwish - Imaginaerum
30 November 2011


Disc I
01. Taikatalvi
02. Storytime
03. Ghost River
04. Slow, Love, Slow
05. I Want My Tears Back
06. Scaretale
07. Arabesque
08. Turn Loose The Mermaids
09. Rest Calm
10. The Crow, The Owl And The Dove
11. Last Ride Of The Day
12. Song Of Myself
    1 - From A Dusty Bookshelf
    2 - All That Great Heart Lying Still
    3 - Piano Black
    4 - Love
13. Imaginaerum

Disc II [bonus] [2CD: instrumental version / tour edition: orchestral version]
01. Taikatalvi
02. Storytime
03. Ghost River
04. Slow, Love, Slow
05. I Want My Tears Back [instrumental version only]
06. Scaretale
07. Arabesque
08. Turn Loose The Mermaids
09. Rest Calm
10. The Crow, The Owl And The Dove
11. Last Ride Of The Day
12. Song Of Myself
    1 - From A Dusty Bookshelf
    2 - All That Great Heart Lying Still
    3 - Piano Black
    4 - Love
13. Imaginaerum

Disc III [DVD] [tour edition bonus]
+ Making Of Imaginaerum
+ Storytime [video]


Seventh album Imaginaerum is the band's second with new singer Anette, and comes with the added twist of an accompanying feature-length film next year. Nightwish who have always been at the forefront of symphonic metal, provide this latest addition to the catalogue with good intentions. Although presented as a stand-alone album, it perhaps pushes the line between creative indulgence and focused musicianship too far.

Imaginaerum sounds like all of Tuomas' influences, efforts and life's work culminated into one fairytale-like fantasy. The attention to detail, the emotion and care that has so obviously gone into this work is almost tangible, Imaginaerum is his most extravagant and imaginative project thus far.

More so than before, Nightwish take their brand of symphonic metal even further with hints of jazz and folk influence, and an even stronger desire for theatrics. "Storytime" might not open the album in the most adventurous of ways, but the catchy "Ghost River" is soon the first hit. The rest of the album is pieced together surprisingly well for the variety on offer; no two songs are the same like chapters in a book, as symphonic metal meets a selection of other styles. The band sound liberated, as if Dark Passion Play was the trial run and this is the real thing.

Imaginaerum has some great moments, from the up-beat and folky "I Want My Tears Back" to the stomping power metal "Last Ride Of The Day" and even Anette does a great, creepy performance on the fanciful "Scaretale". The album is far from perfect however, with some songs failing to register such as "Rest Calm", but perhaps the biggest flaw is that the whole thing just feels too much like a film soundtrack than an actual music-focused album.

All the detail, the effort and work that has gone into polishing this album doesn't salvage the fact that Imaginaerum was created with a film in mind, rather than a solid standalone album. Some songs included here are great, but they, along with the rest of the album feel almost like a by-product of a greater project.

The diversity on Imaginaerum is like no other Nightwish album. Although it is masterfully produced and put together, the cost of this diversity is the sometimes disjointed and chaptered feeling that a free-flowing album shouldn't have. Imaginaerum is a softer but more adventurous album than the previous, but it may leave a few scratching their head.

--

Symphonic metal
Finland
Length: 1:14:28
Nuclear Blast

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 8
Production: 10


Band profile: Nightwish
Album: Imaginaerum


 



Written on 01.12.2011 by
Baz Anderson
Member of Staff since 2006.
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M C Vice - 10.12.2011 at 04:58  
Hey, this review is quoted on wikipedia.
Troy Killjoy - 10.12.2011 at 20:24  
Written by M C Vice on 10.12.2011 at 04:58
Hey, this review is quoted on wikipedia.

Wiki actually links to a lot of our new reviews (most notable for big-name bands like this) but it's nice to see they quoted it.
SymphAlchemist - 11.12.2011 at 14:47  
Very honest review.

I liked the album. It is by far better mixed than Dark Passion Play and Anette's voice is a thousand times better too. I don't think I like it better than DPP though, for a matter of style, I don't know... but it's a great work.. It could have been better, but it's still good.

And I agree with the reviewer, it's much more like a movie score. I can't wait to see this movie.
Milena - 15.12.2011 at 13:32  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 10.12.2011 at 20:24

Written by M C Vice on 10.12.2011 at 04:58
Hey, this review is quoted on wikipedia.

Wiki actually links to a lot of our new reviews (most notable for big-name bands like this) but it's nice to see they quoted it.

Now if they could acknowledge our actual presence, that would be even better
Troy Killjoy - 15.12.2011 at 18:53  
Written by Milena on 15.12.2011 at 13:32
Now if they could acknowledge our actual presence, that would be even better

Oh, right. We won that battle.
Milena - 15.12.2011 at 19:02  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 15.12.2011 at 18:53

Oh, right. We won that battle.

I failed trying to look it up once, then. It even notes the conflict! Fun.
Walter Iego - 15.12.2011 at 21:40  
Yes, there are a few good songs, but as a whole, I don't like it. Why they released the album so far ahead of the movie is also a mystery, not the best choice if you ask me.
Troy Killjoy - 15.12.2011 at 21:41  
Written by Walter Iego on 15.12.2011 at 21:40
Yes, there are a few good songs, but as a whole, I don't like it. Why they released the album so far ahead of the movie is also a mystery, not the best choice if you ask me.

That way they can re-release it with a few bonus tracks to coincide with the movie, and then sell them as a CD/DVD combo.
Array - 15.12.2011 at 23:05  
Written by Walter Iego on 15.12.2011 at 21:40

Why they released the album so far ahead of the movie is also a mystery, not the best choice if you ask me.

Based on a interview I saw, maybe a half year ago, the band just had to return to do gigs/tour (which is their daily job, let us not forget that). The film and the album were intended to be released at the same time. Making an album (with expensive costs) and a movie (with even more expensive costs) while not doing any gigs, is something that eventually will turn the band's economical state too close to zero.

--------

Looking forward to see the movie. I think it will somehow reflect in the way I receive this album.
Ernis - 18.12.2011 at 03:41  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 15.12.2011 at 18:53

Written by Milena on 15.12.2011 at 13:32
Now if they could acknowledge our actual presence, that would be even better

Oh, right. We won that battle.

Makes me smile to see that there's a lengthy article about MS in Persian as well. I wonder who wrote it.
IronAngel - 20.12.2011 at 18:56  
Haha, I finally listened to the album. Can't say anything particularly caught my attention. Same old mediocre melodies with overblown production and bad, bad riffs. Band's been garbage since Once, and even Century Child was inconsistent, IMO.

What I find funny is that Slow, Love, Slow was marketed as a jazz piece reminiscent of smoky bars. I read this in several articles and reviews, and it's apparently part of the video sequence for the song. I was pretty interested to see how Nightwish manage jazz, but what a disappointment: it doesn't remind me of jazz AT ALL. What's even remotely jazzy about that piece, save for the sax blurb at the end? I was thinking we'd get some Nina Simone or Billie Holiday, but instead it was Evansescence. Even Sade is jazzier than this. It's not an awful song by any means, but how can a music journalist think it sounds like jazz?
Ernis - 24.12.2011 at 21:33  
Written by IronAngel on 20.12.2011 at 18:56

Even Sade is jazzier than this. It's not an awful song by any means, but how can a music journalist think it sounds like jazz?

Nightwish isn't exactly a jazz band either. I did hope to hear a jazzier song, I have to admit. Nevertheless, it's quite a good listen.
IronAngel - 24.12.2011 at 21:42  
Written by Ernis on 24.12.2011 at 21:33

Written by IronAngel on 20.12.2011 at 18:56

Even Sade is jazzier than this. It's not an awful song by any means, but how can a music journalist think it sounds like jazz?

Nightwish isn't exactly a jazz band either. I did hope to hear a jazzier song, I have to admit. Nevertheless, it's quite a good listen.


Yeah yeah, and it's not any worse a song for not being jazz. Judging by three listens, it's one of the better tracks on the album. But I was kinda disappointed because the band themselves and music journalists marketed it as jazzy or jazz-inspired. Apparently a smoky jazz bar was the original video idea for the song and the scene that will also appear in the movie. But I really, really don't get any smoky jazz bar vibes from the atmosphere or even the technical traits.
Ernis - 24.12.2011 at 21:59  
Written by IronAngel on 24.12.2011 at 21:42

But I really, really don't get any smoky jazz bar vibes from the atmosphere or even the technical traits.


I do. But I'm no jazz specialist either, therefore my judgement might be clouded. There are indeed elements in that song that hint towards jazz even though it's still more like a typical Nightwish song. I do get the cigar bar pictures in my head while listening to this song and imagine Anette in her backstage room, puffing half burnt cigarettes from the ashtray and sipping some booze in front of the mirror while the dudes hang around in the lounge, supposedly rehearsing but instead just being wasted. Scantily dressed courtesans roaming around and in the end a black and white 40-ies gangster film scene where figures in hats and cloaks emerge from a foggy alley.
Troy Killjoy - 24.12.2011 at 22:10  
Written by Ernis on 24.12.2011 at 21:59
I do. But I'm no jazz specialist either, therefore my judgement might be clouded. There are indeed elements in that song that hint towards jazz even though it's still more like a typical Nightwish song. I do get the cigar bar pictures in my head while listening to this song and imagine Anette in her backstage room, puffing half burnt cigarettes from the ashtray and sipping some booze in front of the mirror while the dudes hang around in the lounge, supposedly rehearsing but instead just being wasted. Scantily dressed courtesans roaming around and in the end a black and white 40-ies gangster film scene where figures in hats and cloaks emerge from a foggy alley.

You got all that from this? :/
Ernis - 24.12.2011 at 22:13  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 24.12.2011 at 22:10

You got all that from this? :/

I did.

You probably didn't but I didn't expect you to get a similar picture anyway.
Milena - 24.12.2011 at 22:17  
Written by Ernis on 24.12.2011 at 22:13

Written by Troy Killjoy on 24.12.2011 at 22:10

You got all that from this? :/

I did.

You probably didn't but I didn't expect you to get a similar picture anyway.

I got something like that too, but only because I saw a picture somewhere of Tuomas playing the piano and Anette lying on the piano in a very long dress in some red-curtained place. It all went from there.
Troy Killjoy - 24.12.2011 at 22:18  
Written by Ernis on 24.12.2011 at 22:13
You probably didn't but I didn't expect you to get a similar picture anyway.

Ya I think it's safe to say we're on very different pages when it comes to that.
Ernis - 24.12.2011 at 22:21  
Written by Milena on 24.12.2011 at 22:17

I got something like that too, but only because I saw a picture somewhere of Tuomas playing the piano and Anette lying on the piano in a very long dress in some red-curtained place. It all went from there.

I think it wasn't because I saw the picture. For a song like this, you don't need any fantasy at all. Stage with red curtains in the background, bar tables around the place, cigar smoke floating in the air etc. It's stock imagery.
Milena - 24.12.2011 at 22:27  
Written by Ernis on 24.12.2011 at 22:21

I think it wasn't because I saw the picture. For a song like this, you don't need any fantasy at all. Stage with red curtains in the background, bar tables around the place, cigar smoke floating in the air etc. It's stock imagery.

I just said *I* saw the picture classic stuff but probably wouldn't have thought of it, I rarely make up scenes in my mind these days.
Ernis - 24.12.2011 at 22:51  
Written by Milena on 24.12.2011 at 22:27

I just said *I* saw the picture classic stuff but probably wouldn't have thought of it, I rarely make up scenes in my mind these days.

No need to stress that. I got it that you'd seen the photo. It was *I* who hadn't seen the picture before.
Milena - 24.12.2011 at 22:57  
Written by Ernis on 24.12.2011 at 22:51

No need to stress that. I got it that you'd seen the photo. It was *I* who hadn't seen the picture before.

Oh, but when you said it wasn't because you'd seen the photo, I thought you figured I was saying that one can only imagine that if they have seen the photo in question, and then I rushed to explain how I couldn't have seen it if I haven't seen the photo

Now I need to work on my reading comprehension, but before I do, I posted this terribly explained post because, even when I try to explain something, people barely comprehend (IRL a lot more than on the forums) that so I give up bothering in most of the cases
Renard Solitaire - 25.12.2011 at 09:34  
Very good review. I find that Anette's vocals on a few songs resemble those of Mrs Night of Blackmore's Night. e.g Rest Calm and Turn Loose The Mermaid spring to my mind. You can really feel that Anette has tried to change her singing. Not to say that her vocals on Dark Passion Play are bad, but rather that the songs on Imaginaerum have been composed to suit her new vocal style better. Marco's singing is compelling, as usual. I get goosebumps when I listen to Scaretale. lol
As so many people said before, this album does feel more like a movie score, but that does not mean that it's bad. This album simply takes a new direction.
†latviete† - 29.12.2011 at 14:43  
Okey, in my oppinion - i think that Nightwish after Traja's leaving are more symphonic than ever. Thomas are really good song writter (maybe he have to write song's for films ,witch liabilities with pirates or sth like that. Like sed Shiva "feel more like a movie score"). And some of the Imaginaerum song are quiet good.
Milena - 02.01.2012 at 01:22  
Written by Renard Solitaire on 25.12.2011 at 09:34

Marco's singing is compelling, as usual.

Oh, yes. He is pretty much 80% of why I ever play Nightwish songs. Can't get enough of that man's voice.
Daniell - 09.01.2012 at 21:09  
I liked Wishmaster and Once, so for old times' sake I decided to give this one a try. Oh how the mighty have fallen. I do know that this album is a part of a bigger movie project, so maybe it'll gain a few points when we can see the movie. But since Nightwish released the album as a separate, independent entity, the listener is allowed to judge Imaginaerum as such.

The amount of cheese and pretentious bullshit is overwhelming. All those annoying recitations, pseudo-circus melodies, folky fragments, over-the-top orchestrations - terrible. There are a few decent songs that can stand on their own, and in those songs Nightwish shines just like a few years ago. It's those few songs that prevent the album from being a total disaster.
Slayer666 - 10.01.2012 at 01:49  
Written by Daniell on 09.01.2012 at 21:09

The amount of cheese and pretentious bullshit is overwhelming. All those annoying recitations, pseudo-circus melodies, folky fragments, over-the-top orchestrations - terrible.


This comment can probably replace any review written about Imaginaerum thus far.
dismaleuphony - 11.01.2012 at 09:46  
Out of all the symphonic metal albums this year I spent time with, this was the biggest waste of time of them all, with the band moving into ridiculous territory. There is not a single song on here I enjoy, let alone can even listen to until the end, with all the magic gone & forgotten from the majestic composing of a decade ago. Due to the hype-driven marketing of this album my expectations were already low (so not really disappointed), but they really outdid themselves with the nauseating vocalists & silly melodies. Thankfully this came out at the end of 2011 so it can be quickly forgotten as 2012 progresses.
Winterthrone - 06.02.2012 at 20:05  
Written by Ernis on 24.12.2011 at 21:59

Written by IronAngel on 24.12.2011 at 21:42

But I really, really don't get any smoky jazz bar vibes from the atmosphere or even the technical traits.


I do. But I'm no jazz specialist either, therefore my judgement might be clouded. There are indeed elements in that song that hint towards jazz even though it's still more like a typical Nightwish song. I do get the cigar bar pictures in my head while listening to this song and imagine Anette in her backstage room, puffing half burnt cigarettes from the ashtray and sipping some booze in front of the mirror while the dudes hang around in the lounge, supposedly rehearsing but instead just being wasted. Scantily dressed courtesans roaming around and in the end a black and white 40-ies gangster film scene where figures in hats and cloaks emerge from a foggy alley.


You just wrote exactly what I think about this awesome song. I've listened to a lot of Jazz in my life because my father is a huge jazz fan and I can certify that this song captures the very essence of lounge jazz... BTW this whole album is pure genius by Tuomas and al. So many different atmospheres, so many different styles... and everything works well wow! a 7 is far too low for this masterpiece.
Winterthrone - 06.02.2012 at 20:20  
Written by Daniell on 09.01.2012 at 21:09

I liked Wishmaster and Once, so for old times' sake I decided to give this one a try. Oh how the mighty have fallen. I do know that this album is a part of a bigger movie project, so maybe it'll gain a few points when we can see the movie. But since Nightwish released the album as a separate, independent entity, the listener is allowed to judge Imaginaerum as such.

The amount of cheese and pretentious bullshit is overwhelming. All those annoying recitations, pseudo-circus melodies, folky fragments, over-the-top orchestrations - terrible. There are a few decent songs that can stand on their own, and in those songs Nightwish shines just like a few years ago. It's those few songs that prevent the album from being a total disaster.



Oh man you really made me laugh with that comment. Symphonic Metal is a CHEEZY genre in its very essence... If you don't like cheese and listen to Nightwish then it's pretty normal you're not going to like the album...But wait you said you liked Wihmaster and Once two albums with lots of cheese,over the top orchestrations, folky fragments... And there is recitations in only one part of a song...lol Your argument is invalid.
Druss - 06.02.2012 at 20:58  
Written by Winterthrone on 06.02.2012 at 20:20

Written by Daniell on 09.01.2012 at 21:09

I liked Wishmaster and Once, so for old times' sake I decided to give this one a try. Oh how the mighty have fallen. I do know that this album is a part of a bigger movie project, so maybe it'll gain a few points when we can see the movie. But since Nightwish released the album as a separate, independent entity, the listener is allowed to judge Imaginaerum as such.

The amount of cheese and pretentious bullshit is overwhelming. All those annoying recitations, pseudo-circus melodies, folky fragments, over-the-top orchestrations - terrible. There are a few decent songs that can stand on their own, and in those songs Nightwish shines just like a few years ago. It's those few songs that prevent the album from being a total disaster.



Oh man you really made me laugh with that comment. Symphonic Metal is a CHEEZY genre in its very essence... If you don't like cheese and listen to Nightwish then it's pretty normal you're not going to like the album...But wait you said you liked Wihmaster and Once two albums with lots of cheese,over the top orchestrations, folky fragments... And there is recitations in only one part of a song...lol Your argument is invalid.

He may have meant that its cheese without substance, so to speak, which is how I felt after listening to it. First Nightwish album I've ever listened to, and only got through about two thirds of the album before I couldn't take another song, especially as ''Storytime'' was the only song that caught on with me (found it catchy), it of course being the second song of the album. After that, it felt like a disjointed, dragging labour listening to it. Even from an objective standpoint (i.e. observing the class without relying on any sort of connection I felt with it), all I could think about were all those things Daniell mentioned in his post.....
Winterthrone - 06.02.2012 at 22:08  
Quote:
He may have meant that its cheese without substance, so to speak, which is how I felt after listening to it. First Nightwish album I've ever listened to, and only got through about two thirds of the album before I couldn't take another song, especially as ''Storytime'' was the only song that caught on with me (found it catchy), it of course being the second song of the album. After that, it felt like a disjointed, dragging labour listening to it. Even from an objective standpoint (i.e. observing the class without relying on any sort of connection I felt with it), all I could think about were all those things Daniell mentioned in his post.....

Well, you have the right to unlike this album... My comment was more related to the apparent contradictions in Daniell'Ks comments. I have been a fan a Nightwish since I listened to Oceanborn at the beginning of the 2000s and never hated an album they released ever-since so that would make me a die-hard fan I guess. Nevertheless, I have always been able to say that one of my favorite bands made shit when they did, but after a few listens Imaginaerum sends shivers down my spine every ten seconds... So I guess I get the feelings they wanted to carry with their music on this album...You say it is disjointed, but to me it's diverse and good because I can see a link between the songs even if there is so much diversity, but I know concept-albums are not for everybody to enjoy. I always dug concept-album...So I guess I was the perfect client for this album...
Walter Iego - 07.02.2012 at 15:08  
In any case, I wish (master) them the best
4look4rd - 27.02.2012 at 04:06  
This is a lot better than Dark Passion play. Nightwish lost my interest a long time ago but this is not a bad album by any means; its just not my cup of tea. I like the vocals, keyboards, and orchestral arrangements but dear God what happened with the quality drum and guitar work from Nightwish? These two parts sound very uninspired to me throughout the entire album.
Nemo Atkins - 01.03.2012 at 13:57  
I really like the first half of this album and, overall, it has an atmosphere that really drags you into the album. However, it is after "Scaretale" that things slip in quality for me: I always skip "Arabesque" because I get bored by it really quickly and, with the exception of "The Crow, The Owl And The Dove", doesn't pick up enough to make me want to keep listening, although I wouldn't call them bad songs. Also, why did Tuomas think that making about half of "Song Of Myself" a poem was a good idea for the listener? It kills off the momentum of the song for me enough that I usually skip the moment the poem starts just because I can't face the six or so minute of it. However, what I like on this album is solid enough that I keep coming back to it happily (and I usually tend to only come back to things when I'm really bored). I'd give it a high 7 at minimum.

Edit: You might want to add "Last Ride Of The Day" to the list of exceptions now. It's not my favourite song on the album, but it's definitely in my top five Nightwish songs.
Blind__Earth - 25.04.2012 at 18:07  
My biggest problem with this album is that it's so well produced, and the sound is so much bigger now, YET the rhythm section is very dull. They have a killer orchestra, choirs, an epic concept, unique atmospheres on some songs, but the drumming is beyond uninspired. It's just bad. And it's dragging everything down at its level. Time to learn to play something else than the two same repetitive beats they've been recycling since their first album...

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