Sunday, May 26, 2024

Nightwish are back with dramatic ascending chord sequences & a tight rhythm section on HUMAN. :II: NATURE.

Following on from their 2019 live album, Decades: Live in Buenos Aires, Finnish symphonic power metallers Nightwish have come up with their first studio album since 2015’s classic Endless Forms Most Beautiful; a title adapted from Charles Darwin, the success of which helped elevate the band to bill topping gigs in stadia and vast indoor arena’s worldwide.


In typical Nightwish fashion, they don’t do anything by halves. This is a double CD which runs for over eighty minutes featuring seventeen tracks, containing everything their fans would want to hear from them: dramatic ascending chord sequences, manic drumming, a tight rhythm section, power riffing, choral orchestral backing, uilleann pipes and, of course, Ms Floor Janson, whose impassioned vocal delivery has been a key factor in Nightwish’s ascent to the top. With all the musical versatility Nightwish are known for, from folk to rock and from classical influences to metal. But, this is a Nightwish album with a difference. Of the seventeen tracks, the first CD has nine titles featuring vocals, with songs about ‘humans and humanity,’ where with songs like ‘Noise,’ ‘Pan’ and ‘Tribal, with its lapse into thrash, they demonstrate again why they’re far ahead of similar bands in the symphonic metal genre. But it isn’t all flat-out bombast. ‘Procession’ is a slower, quieter track with some fine vocals from Floor, ‘How’s the Heart’ suggests we have the potential to be such a great species, and ‘Harvest’ sees Marko Hietala singing rather than using his usual deep growling sonorous timbre.

Then the second CD, Nightwish as they’ve not been heard before: Eight songs with no singing, only the occasional spoken word interlude from Floor, songs about ‘all the works of nature which adorn the world,’ songs which, as band songwriter Tuomas Holopainen states, are “my love letter to the world”. After a spoken word intro about not loving man less, but loving nature more, there follows some quite exquisite pieces of music. ‘The Green’ is a particularly beautiful piece of music and, if you close your eyes, it’s easy to imagine dawn breaking and the sun rising, ‘Anthropocene’ features a section which could almost be from Swan Lake, and ‘Ad Astra’ ends the album with a dramatic flourish. Whilst not an epic like Endless FormsHuman. :II: Nature. is a worthy addition to the Nightwish canon and it’ll be interesting to see how they follow this up.

Laurence Todd
Laurence Todd
Took early retirement after many years as a teacher in order to write books as well as about music. A long-time music obsessive, has wide and eclectic tastes but particularly likes prog rock and rock in general. Enjoys going to gigs and discovering new acts.

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  1. Harvest’ sees Marko Hietala singing rather than using his usual deep growling sonorous timbre – actually Troy Donockley sings the lead on Harvest, not Marko..


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