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Nightwish - Human. :II: Nature. review



Reviewer:
5.7

391 users:
6.96
Band: Nightwish
Album: Human. :II: Nature.
Release date: April 2020


Disc I
01. Music
02. Noise
03. Shoemaker
04. Harvest
05. Pan
06. How's The Heart?
07. Procession
08. Tribal
09. Endlessness

Disc II
01. All The Works Of Nature Which Adorn The World - Vista
02. All The Works Of Nature Which Adorn The World - The Blue
03. All The Works Of Nature Which Adorn The World - The Green
04. All The Works Of Nature Which Adorn The World - Moors
05. All The Works Of Nature Which Adorn The World - Aurorae
06. All The Works Of Nature Which Adorn The World - Quiet As The Snow
07. All The Works Of Nature Which Adorn The World - Anthropocene (incl. "Hurrian Hymn To Nikkal")
08. All The Works Of Nature Which Adorn The World - Ad Astra


With Human. :II: Nature., Nightwish aim to explore life, the universe and everything, but spend too much time staring at the bigger picture to notice the smaller necessities they've overlooked.

Nightwish have had a slightly bumpy couple of decades. Some might argue that signs of a decline were there before original singer Tarja Turunen departed, but it was this event, and her replacement with Anette Olzon, which really split the fanbase. After two divisive and (in my opinion) inconsistent releases with Olzon, singer number three arrived in the form of Floor Jansen, something of a coup given her outstanding versatility and power. Her first studio outing with the group, Endless Forms Most Beautiful, was possibly a stronger release than either of Olzon's records, but after the adventurous nature of Imaginaerum, it felt like quite a safe record, returning heavily to the sound of Once in particular. But hey, they had a stellar singer that they wanted to give some of her own songs to sing live, and it made sense to stick to what they knew worked. Five years later, and Human. :II: Nature. is the opportunity to truly see what Nightwish can do with Floor on board. Sadly, what they can do simply isn't up to snuff.

Human. :II: Nature. is more "experimental" than Endless Forms Most Beautiful, and none of these experiments are egregious backfires (except perhaps the chanting towards the end of "Tribal"), but nor are they particularly rewarding. According to Jansen, the song "Shoemaker" lacks a typical structure. I would argue that Nightwish aren't the kind of band that can really pull off such a venture, as the flow of this track is rather lacking. Additionally, the convoluted ascending vocal lines earlier on in the song aren't really delivered with the power one would expect from Floor. After "Shoemaker" comes "Harvest", another notable departure for the group. "Disney music" has long been a label used in certain circles to describe more modern Nightwish, and it's not been one I really saw as valid before "Harvest" dropped as a single. A vehicle for Troy Donockley to shine as a lead vocalist, it really does feel taken from a musical animated movie, particularly with its acapella harmonies; however, I doubt it would be the highlight of whatever soundtrack it was featured in, and is only partially rescued by the instrumental midsection, a pleasant throwback to the folk of "I Want My Tears Back" from Imaginaerum.

Some have maligned Donockley's permanent membership and subsequent increased role in the group as a major contributing factor to the issues Human. :II: Nature. has. In and of itself, I don't find it to be a problem; I've enjoyed folky elements in Nightwish songs, especially "I Want My Tears Back" (probably my favourite post-Tarja Nightwish song), and whilst I don't like "Harvest" (nor am I particularly enthused by "How's The Heart?"), I haven't got any major issue with him as a vocalist in principle. However, the fact that he gets a whole song to take centre stage on only makes the minimal presence of Marco Hietala's vocals more glaring. He is the lead singer with an uncharacteristically docile performance on "Endlessness" and gets a small backing bit in "Tribal", but otherwise is largely absent on the vocal front, despite having a far more captivating voice than Donockley, which is frankly bewildering to me. On the topic of vocals, much has been said regarding Floor Jansen on this record. Personally, I've found the songs in general to have been a bigger issue than anything she's done specifically, but as someone who's seen her smash the likes of "Ghost Love Score", "The Poet And The Pendulum" and more live, I really can't say anything on Human. :II: Nature. impressed me to a remotely similar degree.

I don't completely dislike this album, not by any means. I enjoyed "Noise" when it dropped as the first single, and I continue to enjoy it within the context of the record. It's very much in the vein of their post-2000 material, relatively simplistic but with a memorable chorus hook and a suitably exciting dramatic bridge during which Floor moves into more operatic territory. "Pan", another heavier cut, brings the bombast in its electric chorus and allows Jansen a chance to dig into some more twisted vocal melodies during the verses. Nevertheless, even these tracks stand out within the context of the rest of Human. :II: Nature., rather than the Nightwish discography as a whole.

In relation to the lyrics explored on Human. :II: Nature., Nightwish have mentioned some pretty huge themes in the press building up to this release, including the history of music, planetary science, love and the meaning of life. The ambition is clearly there thematically and in terms of musical experimentation, but the songs just don't back it up. For a start, a song that allegedly describes the entire evolution of music should have a lot more going for it than "Music", a track that, like "Procession", came and went on each playthrough without leaving much of an impression of any kind, good or bad.

All the music discussed so far only covers disc 1 of Human. :II: Nature.; disc 2 of this release is the furthest exploration of the 'symphonic' aspect of Nightwish yet, a 30-minute purely orchestral venture. I think all of us on this website can agree it's harder to compare this music against the vast expanse of orchestral music that exists, even if we restrict ourselves to modern compositions, than it is to discuss the metal songs. I will say, fair play to Holopainen, this was a bold step for him and it wasn't a disaster; "All The Works Of Nature Which Adorn The World" doesn't massively drag at any point, with a decent ebb and flow, and well-paced introduction of unique elements, such as the focus on pipes in part 4, "Moors", which has a touch of Rohan's music from The Lord Of The Rings. At the same time, the most natural comparison for disc 2 is the music to films such as The Lord Of The Rings, and compared against the great scores, even of the 21st century, it is a somewhat rudimentary effort. Additionally, the rehash of "The Greatest Show On Earth" with a lengthy spoken word diatribe regarding the place of man within the world slightly tarnishes the final movement, "Ad Astra".

Nightwish reached for greatness on Human. :II: Nature., but in doing lost a lot of what made them great in the first place, at least for me. I've found every Nightwish release from Once onwards to have notable ups and downs, but I've always found at least something worth returning for. I may revisit "Noise" and "Pan" on occasion, but otherwise I cannot see Human. :II: Nature. offering any lasting appeal.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 5
Originality: 6
Production: 7





Written on 13.04.2020 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments page 4 / 4

Comments: 119   [ 3 ignored ]   Visited by: 535 users
21.04.2020 - 07:36
Rating: 7
M C Vice
ex-polydactyl
Written by Mark Ayoub on 16.04.2020 at 11:31

I'd be happier if the songwriting was shared by all the members... Marco has the talent too otherwise he wouldn't have a solo career.

Plus all those Tarot albums. And he had a few credits on the 2 Sinergy albums he was on.
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"Another day, another Doug."
"I'll fight you on one condition. That you lower your nipples."
" 'Tis a lie! Thy backside is whole and ungobbled, thou ungrateful whelp!"
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21.04.2020 - 08:42
Rating: 5
The Melting Snow

Written by Cynic Metalhead on 20.04.2020 at 17:11

This is getting interesting.


annoying*

it's one thing to express your opinion. Another to be hell bent to convert the other's opinion. this justSayingguy can't stomach that most people don't like the album, for very valid reasons and he wants to shove his opinion down our throats. That would not have been so annoying if his opinion made a little more sense.

the best argument to "there is a lack of memorable vocals/drums/guitars/lyrics" is "oh they are just too complex for you to understand" and he keeps repeating it over and over again in long ass essays.

I think at this point it should be allowed to start trolling him :p
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21.04.2020 - 09:52
Cynic Metalhead
Paisa Vich Nasha
Written by The Melting Snow on 21.04.2020 at 08:42

Written by Cynic Metalhead on 20.04.2020 at 17:11

This is getting interesting.


That would not have been so annoying if his opinion made a little more sense.

the best argument to "there is a lack of memorable vocals/drums/guitars/lyrics" is "oh they are just too complex for you to understand" and he keeps repeating it over and over again in long ass essays.


Nah, he's has a substantial validity to his opinions. Initially, I was miffed this thread would carpet roll into a junk but it turned out to be series of interesting conversation. Yes, NW new record is poorly recorded and has lot of flaws, but "justsaying" justifying his statements fantastically.

I do agree with "repetitiveness".
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21.04.2020 - 14:07
Nifheim
Nifheim
Justsaying will be repetitive, but at least gives reasons (mostly objective) to support his position, and it is not based only on subjectivities, to which I do not deny its value, but the criticism of an artistic work should be based on the objective and in being descriptive, and not in evaluating it according to the emotional impact or the feelings that it has left in each one.
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22.04.2020 - 04:13
Rating: 6
4look4rd
The Sasquatch
I was dreading listening to Nature after this review, but its not horrible. At the very least its heavier and less Disney than their previous releases. It's by no means a good album, but has glimpses of greatness and could be the beginning of a heavier Nightwish.

If they aren't going to bring back their power metal roots, at least they could unleash Kai Hahto for more mayhem next time.
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23.04.2020 - 03:15
Rating: 9
NavyMetalMan

What Nightwish have done is to make this album more progressive than metal. I understand the poor ratings on a site like Metal Storm, which focuses, obviously, on metal... however, this album is very, very good taken as a progressive metal work. Certainly, it's not nearly as heavy as metal heads would like, but it is not nearly as bad as they instinctively suggest. Check out the ratings for this album on ProgArchives. It is rated as Nightwish's best album ever. Currently with 30+ reviews it is rated as 4.23 / 5. Pretty darn good. Musically, it is an excellent album. By metal standards, it is probably subpar as the ratings here imply.
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23.04.2020 - 09:14
Rating: 4
JoHn DoE

Written by NavyMetalMan on 23.04.2020 at 03:15

What Nightwish have done is to make this album more progressive than metal. I understand the poor ratings on a site like Metal Storm, which focuses, obviously, on metal... however, this album is very, very good taken as a progressive metal work. Certainly, it's not nearly as heavy as metal heads would like, but it is not nearly as bad as they instinctively suggest. Check out the ratings for this album on ProgArchives. It is rated as Nightwish's best album ever. Currently with 30+ reviews it is rated as 4.23 / 5. Pretty darn good. Musically, it is an excellent album. By metal standards, it is probably subpar as the ratings here imply.


On progarchives it's their best rating so far. There aren't 30+ reviews, but 2 reviews and 31 ratings, for now but it will go down over the next weeks. Also, the fact that it's rated better there does not mean they are right and users on MS are wrong.

6.93 here is not a bad rating and there are 214 ratings. I don't think it will have that many ratings on progarchives but I do wonder what the ratings would be if there were that many.

I've just noticed that the Anette albums are rated on PA better than most albums with Tarja, except Oceanborn which just makes me have a wtf moment.
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I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
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23.04.2020 - 13:26
Ball Fondlers

Written by JoHn DoE on 23.04.2020 at 09:14

I've just noticed that the Anette albums are rated on PA better than most albums with Tarja, except Oceanborn which just makes me have a wtf moment.

lol. It sounds like PA users rate how progressive it is, rather than how good it is
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23.04.2020 - 13:48
Rating: 4
JoHn DoE

Written by Ball Fondlers on 23.04.2020 at 13:26

Written by JoHn DoE on 23.04.2020 at 09:14

I've just noticed that the Anette albums are rated on PA better than most albums with Tarja, except Oceanborn which just makes me have a wtf moment.

lol. It sounds like PA users rate how progressive it is, rather than how good it is


it's a prog site, so how progressive something is matters there, seems those two albums impressed those users. I don't know.
I like the first 4 albums the most, although I have listened to all their albums. But I am a Tarja era listener, what they were doing late 90s and early 2000s was impressive if you ask me, influential.
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I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
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24.04.2020 - 03:39
Rating: 9
NavyMetalMan

Written by JoHn DoE on 23.04.2020 at 09:14

Written by NavyMetalMan on 23.04.2020 at 03:15

What Nightwish have done is to make this album more progressive than metal. I understand the poor ratings on a site like Metal Storm, which focuses, obviously, on metal... however, this album is very, very good taken as a progressive metal work. Certainly, it's not nearly as heavy as metal heads would like, but it is not nearly as bad as they instinctively suggest. Check out the ratings for this album on ProgArchives. It is rated as Nightwish's best album ever. Currently with 30+ reviews it is rated as 4.23 / 5. Pretty darn good. Musically, it is an excellent album. By metal standards, it is probably subpar as the ratings here imply.


On progarchives it's their best rating so far. There aren't 30+ reviews, but 2 reviews and 31 ratings, for now but it will go down over the next weeks. Also, the fact that it's rated better there does not mean they are right and users on MS are wrong.

6.93 here is not a bad rating and there are 214 ratings. I don't think it will have that many ratings on progarchives but I do wonder what the ratings would be if there were that many.

I've just noticed that the Anette albums are rated on PA better than most albums with Tarja, except Oceanborn which just makes me have a wtf moment.


There is no right and wrong. What it means is that the band took a progressive turn on this album that appeals more to the progressive community than the metal community. Moreover, whether the ratings go up or down over time is unimportant. The point still remains the same. For me personally, I am a fan of both metal and progressive music, and from the progressive perspective, I like this album very much. If I wanted to headbang, this isn't the album that I would play.
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24.04.2020 - 13:29
Rating: 4
JoHn DoE

Written by NavyMetalMan on 24.04.2020 at 03:39

There is no right and wrong. What it means is that the band took a progressive turn on this album that appeals more to the progressive community than the metal community. Moreover, whether the ratings go up or down over time is unimportant. The point still remains the same. For me personally, I am a fan of both metal and progressive music, and from the progressive perspective, I like this album very much. If I wanted to headbang, this isn't the album that I would play.


I listen to a lot of prog, no matter from what decade and this album did not do much for me. Not all users here on MS listen exclusively to metal, so it's not low rated because there not enough metal on it, they just did not like the songwriting.

The rating here on MS so far it's like 3 stars on PA. It means it's still good.

The rating will go down a little bit on PA. But seeing the ratings for Nightwish in general on PA, made me roll my eyed and scratch my head, so what do I know...
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I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
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24.04.2020 - 20:42
Rating: 6
4look4rd
The Sasquatch
So I listened to this album a few times, and IMO it's Okay. I get the reviewer's point that Nightwish reached for the stars but fell flat on it, but I disagree with his assessment of 5.7. There is a lot to like about this, Pan is obviously the album's highlight, but I'm not going to pretend this is a masterpiece either.

Personally I enjoyed listening to Tarja's "In the Raw" a lot more than this, despite not being anywhere near as ambitious of an album. It is just a lot more fun to listen to.
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25.04.2020 - 00:14
Fulcrum

Written by justsaying on 18.04.2020 at 23:22


I'm just interested where you base your claim on Floor's limited vocal range? Octave-wise, it's wider than Tarja's was, Floor can sing lower. Her tone is different and she is the first one of the three to actually graduate from singing, university level.



On enough live songs I have heard from her. Listen to Ghost love score, its a more complex song to sing, on the official video she does exactly two errors. Tarja is one of Finland's most famous opera singers, besides her work with Nightwish she sung arias and etc. on medias and live events. Comparing her, or a singer like Manuella Kraller to Floor is like comparing a BMW to a Toyota - both can get you from point A to point B but the second one will struggle a lot and won't be as pleasant. And graduating in Germany, especially in music, has zero weight here, don't you agree?
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26.04.2020 - 19:52
Rating: 4
Vintage Metaller

Kudos to the reviewer for sticking to what is emanating from the speakers on this NW album and giving an appropriate score and not waxing poetic on the "spiritual side" and giving this album an undeserving high score.
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26.04.2020 - 20:01
nikarg
Mod
Written by Vintage Metaller on 26.04.2020 at 19:52

Kudos to the reviewer for sticking to what is emanating from the speakers on this NW album and giving an appropriate score and not waxing poetic on the "spiritual side" and giving this album an undeserving high score.

I edited your comment and kept the part that was relevant to the review because the rest was a word-for-word repetition of what you had already said in the album thread.
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26.04.2020 - 22:59
Rating: 5
ATG

Written by justsaying on 20.04.2020 at 18:50

...

It's not a good album whatsoever get over it
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27.04.2020 - 11:49
Rating: 4
JoHn DoE

Written by JoHn DoE on 23.04.2020 at 09:14

Written by NavyMetalMan on 23.04.2020 at 03:15

What Nightwish have done is to make this album more progressive than metal. I understand the poor ratings on a site like Metal Storm, which focuses, obviously, on metal... however, this album is very, very good taken as a progressive metal work. Certainly, it's not nearly as heavy as metal heads would like, but it is not nearly as bad as they instinctively suggest. Check out the ratings for this album on ProgArchives. It is rated as Nightwish's best album ever. Currently with 30+ reviews it is rated as 4.23 / 5. Pretty darn good. Musically, it is an excellent album. By metal standards, it is probably subpar as the ratings here imply.


On progarchives it's their best rating so far. There aren't 30+ reviews, but 2 reviews and 31 ratings, for now but it will go down over the next weeks. Also, the fact that it's rated better there does not mean they are right and users on MS are wrong.

6.93 here is not a bad rating and there are 214 ratings. I don't think it will have that many ratings on progarchives but I do wonder what the ratings would be if there were that many.

I've just noticed that the Anette albums are rated on PA better than most albums with Tarja, except Oceanborn which just makes me have a wtf moment.


rating on PA went down to 4.10, a couple (more) of 1 star ratings, goes to show some progheads don't find this album appealing either.
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I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
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27.04.2020 - 13:57
Ellrohir
Heaven Knight
Floor is said to be the best Nightwish vocalist ever (although I am not sure about thos), unfortunately the new stuff is but a shade of the former Nightwish. Although some songs aren't that bad, it is hardly enough for a band like this. And WTF is the Disc II?
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My rest seems now calm and deep
Finally I got my dead man sleep


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01.05.2020 - 05:28
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist
I can't believe the reviewer didn't listen to the album 20 times and score it a perfect 10. His band isn't even internationally acclaimed so I'm not sure why he thinks his opinion on music matters.

Sorry, just adding a little more cancer to the thread since I missed the first round.

The irony is that there was more time spent creating the content of these pages of comments than there was in writing this album...
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"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something."
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01.05.2020 - 14:29
Apothecary
Drone Strike
Written by RaduP on 18.04.2020 at 16:22

Crazy how this thread just keeps going and going

IT GOES IT GOES IT GOES IT GOES
IT GOES IT GOES IT GOES IT GOES

COMMENT SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAM
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Check out Apothecary's Favorite Bands Playlist, brotendo. One track per band.
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01.05.2020 - 16:30
Rating: 5
musclassia

Written by Apothecary on 01.05.2020 at 14:29

Written by RaduP on 18.04.2020 at 16:22

Crazy how this thread just keeps going and going

IT GOES IT GOES IT GOES IT GOES
IT GOES IT GOES IT GOES IT GOES

COMMENT SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAM


Dio was right, it goes on, and on, and on... more hell than heaven though
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07.05.2020 - 17:41
Rating: 8
MétalNoir
Fils du Lys
I just don't get why people dislike this album. I read your review before even listening to Human and expected very little but it's actually a great Nightwish - and music at large - album. Tuomas did try a lot of new stuff in here, there's a progressive, avantgarde feel to most songs. And Floor does an incredible job, I enjoyed her performance much more than on Endless Forms. It may not be what everyone hoped for/expected but isn't that what good art is all about ?
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Notre destinée n'est pas encore tracée....
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07.05.2020 - 17:51
Rating: 4
JoHn DoE

Written by MétalNoir on 07.05.2020 at 17:41

I just don't get why people dislike this album. I read your review before even listening to Human and expected very little but it's actually a great Nightwish - and music at large - album. Tuomas did try a lot of new stuff in here, there's a progressive, avantgarde feel to most songs. And Floor does an incredible job, I enjoyed her performance much more than on Endless Forms. It may not be what everyone hoped for/expected but isn't that what good art is all about ?


I do not get why people like this album. There is nothing avantgarde about this, i don't know what you mean.
Yes, Floor can sing but in no way she can save the album.
It is not that they tried new things, for me at least, the result is not interesting, not entertaining.
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I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
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07.05.2020 - 18:28
Cynic Metalhead
Paisa Vich Nasha
Written by JoHn DoE on 07.05.2020 at 17:51

Written by MétalNoir on 07.05.2020 at 17:41

I just don't get why people dislike this album. I read your review before even listening to Human and expected very little but it's actually a great Nightwish - and music at large - album. Tuomas did try a lot of new stuff in here, there's a progressive, avantgarde feel to most songs. And Floor does an incredible job, I enjoyed her performance much more than on Endless Forms. It may not be what everyone hoped for/expected but isn't that what good art is all about ?


There is nothing avantgarde about this.


lmfao at its best.

The least Wintersun 2.0 can ever experiment with its stale sound is to be avant-garde.
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07.05.2020 - 20:35
Rating: 8
MétalNoir
Fils du Lys
Ok, maybe I overdid it by calling this avantgarde, but my point is, to me it really feels like Tuomas wanted to try new stuff. There are surprises in many of the songs and the album is diverse. I don't know, it kinf of reminds me of Dimmu Borgir's last one : I know there are some issues, yet I do enjoy it (or at least the bigger part of it).
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Notre destinée n'est pas encore tracée....
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07.05.2020 - 20:43
Rating: 6
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by MétalNoir on 07.05.2020 at 20:35

I don't know, it kinf of reminds me of Dimmu Borgir's last one

That's not very high praise
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Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
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07.05.2020 - 20:48
Rating: 5
musclassia

Written by MétalNoir on 07.05.2020 at 20:35

Ok, maybe I overdid it by calling this avantgarde, but my point is, to me it really feels like Tuomas wanted to try new stuff. There are surprises in many of the songs and the album is diverse. I don't know, it kinf of reminds me of Dimmu Borgir's last one : I know there are some issues, yet I do enjoy it (or at least the bigger part of it).


I can't say I have much appetite to discuss this album any further, but for what it's worth I do think that the band did quite a few things here that are new for them (which to be fair I did highlight in paragraph 3 of the review in particular), I just didn't think they did any of them in an interesting way. If you enjoyed them, I'm happy for you - it's not like I want people to dislike this album, it's just that I did dislike it
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19.07.2020 - 14:46
Rating: 3
Duck Dodgers

I love how people write these looooong reviews trying to convince everyone that this is a decent album. If it is so good, why would you have to explain why it is so good?
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17.03.2021 - 17:53
Rating: 6
4look4rd
The Sasquatch
Written by Duck Dodgers on 19.07.2020 at 14:46

I love how people write these looooong reviews trying to convince everyone that this is a decent album. If it is so good, why would you have to explain why it is so good?


It's hard to enjoy this album. Feels like complexity for complexity sake. Personally I like that the band is exploring new sounds rather than sticking to the Once formula for another decade. I enjoyed Endless Forms, I think it's their best album without Tarja (although Imaginareum is also quite good).

With that being said, Human Nature is my least favorite album. Sure its complex, but so what?! It's not fun, and misses the mark on a lot of aspects. It has good moments (Pan, Noise, parts of Music, intro of Endlessness).

So while its not dog shit, there very little reason to revisit it 6.5/10.
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