The deepest solace lies in understanding
This ancient unseen stream
A shudder before the beautiful.
Nightwish released their new album – and eighth studio album – on March 27th and, as a fan, I had to get my hands on it. I’ve been a fan of this Symphonic Metal band since 2004 and I simply love how Tuomas Holopainen creates such amazing melodies. He is a genius and if you haven’t figured that out yet then you’re missing something quite overwhelming in your life. I recommend you to sit down and listen to their albums – you might not enjoy the genre or not enjoy every single song since the band formation but there will be at least one song/lyric that will move you.
Endless Forms Most Beautiful seems to be quite the opposite of Imaginaerum (2011), this latter focusing more on fantasy, imagination and inspiration whereas this new one centres around life and its evolution. I mean, the title itself is a direct quote from Charles Darwin (On the Origins of Species):
“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”
Since Tarja Turunen was – basically – sacked from the band, I’ve been slightly sceptic about how Tuomas would manage to bring that vibration that made the band so special. Of course that when the lead singer leaves a band, it get really hard for fans to accept the new singer with the same open arms (and mind) but I admit that Anette Olzon surprised me in Imaginaerum. And when I was getting used to her voice and her different style – she sounds totally different from Tarja – she left the band and now we have After Forever and ReVamp lead singer Floor Jansen as the lead female vocals.
I already knew that Floor knew how to sing. Even though I’m not a hardcore fan of After Forever or even have their albums, I heard some of their songs and they made me slightly relief with her being a member of Nightwish. And this album kind of proves that she can really sing from soft melodies to hardcore and heavy tunes. However, there are a few tracks that I wish she could sing them with a little bit more passion. But, overall, she was amazing.
Then you have a new member – Troy Donockley – who plays the uillean pipes. I LOVE the sound of those pipes and having them as a permanent instrument in Nightwish’s melodies makes me extremely happy. The celtic vibe accompanying the heavy guitars and Floor’s voice just makes it so emotional and unique.
But what I want to talk about it’s the album itself. I thought that after Imaginaerum – which is one of my favourite albums by Nightwish (the favourite being Once) – the band wouldn’t be able to create something so unique and magnificent but, as always, Tuomas proves me wrong and dwarves his previous work with a bombastic album.
When you first listen to it you kind of feel this is a raw, cold album, very straightfoward and loud. Definitely one of their heavier projects so far. However, what I found on this album is a mixture of that same heaviness laced with a more orchestral soft melodies that only Tuomas can create.
There’s the Nightwish signature that the fans can recognise in each track – whether it’s the guitars or the same melodies I mentioned – but there’s something else I can’t quite put my finger on. There’s a new soul in this album, something that made this album simply amazing! It’s like the band tried to break boundaries without really astray from their original style… I can’t really explain. I guess it’s a feeling certain fans will feel (I hope, at least) and that it’s a good feeling.
This is me trying to review the album without any actual success. Since music is something personal and each and every single one of us feel something entirely different when we listen to something, I simply have this to say: listen to this album, digest it and then let me know what you think about it. Maybe the first and second time it will sound different and somewhat weird but then it will grow on you and you will love it.
Tuomas did it again – he created an album that is amazing and beautiful.
1. Shudder Before the Beautiful (6:29)
2. Weak Fantasy (5:23)
3. Élan (4:45)
4. Yours Is an Empty Hope (5:34)
5. Our Decades in the Sun (6:37)
6. My Walden (4:38)
7. Endless Forms Most Beautiful (5:07)
8. Edema Ruh (5:15)
9. Alpenglow (4:45)
10. The Eyes of Sharbat Gula [Instrumental] (6:03)
11. The Greatest Show on Earth (24:00)
I. Four Point Six
III. The Toolmaker
IV. The Understanding
V. Sea-Worn Driftwood
- Track #10 (The Eyes of Sharbat Gula) was based on a reproduction of the famous photo published on National Geographic:
- Track #5 (Our Decades in the Sun) is dedicated to the band’s parents. I’ve read somewhere that the band was left in tears after recording this song. I understand them because it’s beautiful and the lyrics quite emotional;
- Tuomas Holopainen was also writing and recording his solo album, Music Inspired By the Life and Times of Scrooge (amazing album, by the way), while working on Endless Forms Most Beautiful;
- The Greatest Show on Earth is based on a book with the same title by Richard Dawkins and it’s Nightwish longest track to date;
- Richard Dawkins is actually the narrator of this album;
- Edema Ruh appear in Patrick Rothfuss book The Name of the Wind and are a group of travellers.
This is something that in a way is connected to my writings since Imaginaerum, both the movie and the album, were and are big inspirations for me to write my story Deephaven.
The movie is breathtaking, visually beautiful and with an emotional and deep story. The score, filled with all those themes we are already used from the album with the same name, just makes the world of Imaginaerum real and a dream at the same time.
I’ve mentioned that Imaginaerum is the main source of inspiration for my story so, therefore, every album that Tuomas Holopainen composes and creates – almost gives birth though he’s a man – is an inspiration on its own way.
I’m leaving here the trailer of the movie, the video of Storytime and my favourite track from the soundtrack so you can get an idea of how much of a genius Tuomas really is.
Is like I always say, let me marry you!!!