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-Great production quality
-Great compositions
-Good lyrics
-Nice album art
-Nightwish proves they are able to take on a monumental album filled with many genre's of music and influences


-The last song, "Reach (Amaranth Demo Version" is disturbing to hear. Marco's voice is just frightening on this song. It actually ruined the song. I know it is a demo, but its unnecessary to scare your fans.
-Some individuals may find a few songs to be filler like, including: "For the Heart I Once Had", "Sahara", and "Cadence of Her Last Breath." I personally do not think so, but to each their own.
-The "orchestrated" disc is just unnecessary and a waste of money.

Full Review

Let me start by saying that this is Nightwish's first album with new singer Anette Olzon. For long time Nightwish fans this may have been a disappointment. I know from reading around about this band that many fans became enraged by this outing. It is very fair to say that Nighwish's original fan base split in half, but they gained many more fans from this release to make up for it. Comparing "new" Nightwish with the old is not really a fair way to determine how good this music is, as the style is significantly different. Tarja's operaic vocals were what really defined their music of old. Since they are non-existant on this album, comparing this record to past ones is not appropriate. In all honesty from my listenings I have grown accostomed to Tarja's vocal style, however that is not to say the new material with Annette is bad by any means.

Nightwish is one of the most well known bands in the genre of symphonic metal, so to list influences would really be pointless; because so many bands are influenced by them. This band is not overly unique in their creation of music, however in the genre of metal itself they are easily a standout. I have met people who despise metal music, who enjoy Nightwish. I could, laughably, subtitle this module with "Pop Metal" and that genre title could likely describe this band, almost perfectly.

Besides the first song, "The Poet and the Pendulum" all of the songs on the album are prime picks for becoming singles. They are just that catchy and enjoyable. The aforementioned song, however it the epitome of this album. It clocks in at over 11 minutes and is just an amazing piece of music.

Musically speaking, this album excels with flying colors. The synths and piano, violins, choirs, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, solos, male and female vocals, all contribute to the complexity and intricacies of the compositions. Some songs, such as "Amaranth" and "Bye Bye Beautiful" are catchy and simple, standard-style (verse, chorus, verse, bridge, chorus) songs; but none the less catchy. "Eva" is a beautiful ballad thrown amidst the pop-mayhem. "The Islander" is a real folk song, filled primarily with acoustic guitars, wind instruments, and the male voice of bassist/backing vocalist Marco Hietala, and vocal harmonies from Anette. I will be honest, it is one of my favorite slow, acoustic songs ever. While there are some less complex compositions, there are also some other more complex ones. "The Poet and the Pendulum", "Meadows of Heaven", and "Seven Days to the Wolves" are perhaps the most prime examples.

As I am reviewing the collector's edition, I may as well make mention to the second disc, which contains all of the songs in an "orchestrated" variation. I specifically bought the collectors edition thinking I would get some great classical pieces as well as some good symphonic metal. This is the biggest let down for me. The "orchestrated versions" sound like they just took the song cuts without vocals and through them on another disc as a "special edition." Unless you are obsessed with Nightwish, don't waste your money here.

Lyrically speaking, Nightwish is great. They are not my favorite lyricists by any means, but the lyrics certainly add to the music's atmosphere; which is important.

In Closing

Overall this is an enjoyable album. What makes it so unique is that it is accessible by nearly any one. A metal head can enjoy this, as well as a soccer mom, or maybe even someones grandparent! It is a generally light album, filled with piano melodies and symphonic elements; that occasionally throws in some more aggressive moments.