Nightwish are somehow the undisputed kings of Finnish metal (even though I personally prefer Lordi). Being in the business since the mid 1990’s, they more and more attracted a wide European audience with their symphonic metal. Songs like Wishmaster or The Carpenter gave the band wide commercial success. On 10th April 2020, the Scandinavians released their ninth album Human :||: Nature – which in fact contains two CDs.
Nightwish – About The Artist
Nightwish has been found in Kittee in East Finland (near Joensuu) in 1996. The founding members were Tuomas Holopainen, Emppu Vuorinen and Tarja Turunen, who soon added Jukka Nevalainen and Sami Vänskä, who has been quite soon replaced by Marco Hietala. They recorded their first demo, Angels Fall First. After they signed a record deal, the full length album went up to the 31st place in the charts. The single spin-off, The Carpenter, even peaked up to the third spot in the singles charts. After the 1998 album Oceanborn went up to the 5th spot in the album charts, the 2000 Wishmaster was the first one to make it to the top of the album charts. Any following Nightwish album repeated that chart placement in the home country. Germany more and more became a second base for the band, but they have also been successful in other markets, especially in Europe.
The band was also very successful in the singles’ charts in Finland, where they had 13 top placements. There were also number 1 hits in Hungary and Spain. The most well-known songs are Bless the Child and Nemo. The most prominent changes of Nightwish members have been on the vocal side: Tarja Turunen left the band on 2005, Anette Olzon took this duty over from 2007 to 2012. The current lead vocalist is the Dutch singer Floor Jansen. Human :||: Nature is the band’s ninth album.
Nightwish – Human :||: Nature – Track by Track
Human :II: Nature is a two disc album. The first disc contains nine songs and lasts 51 minutes. The second disc just contains one long track, All The Works of Nature Which Adorn The World, which has been split into eight parts. The playtime of the second CD is roughly half an hour (total album playtime: 1:21 hours)
If the first track of your album is 7:23 minutes, you can easily spent three minutes for the intro to Music. After these three minutes, the vocals are incepting and the track, which shall reflect a wide range of musical elements turns into a typical Nightwish Symphonic Metal track.
Noise has been released before the album and received quite some good reviews among critics and fans. It is a combination of guitar sound and orchestral tunes. While I am a huge fan of Tarja Turunen, I have to say that Floor Jansen, does an excellent and very present job during these 5:40 minutes.
In Shoemaker, Troy Donockley, wh is typically doing the Uileann Pipes at Nightwish, has a more present role in the vocals as well.I like that Shoemaker is more lyric, also more narrative than the first tracks. Again, Marco Hietala creates a catching plot with very different elements and sequences of the song – there is even a spoken word section in it. The Shoemaker finishes with a blasting finale.
In Harvest, there is again a strong vocal part of Donockly. The song at the beginning does not feel like a Nightwish song at all, it could easily be a folk or a country rock track. After more than 2:30 minutes, the pipes, guitars and strings lead the song back to the symphonic metal road.
Join the harvest of hundred fields
Hearty and tame
All going back to one single grain
Offer light to the coming day
Inspire a child
Water the field, surrender to the earth
Slower and more quiet passages as well as choir sections – Pan feels like a very classic Nightwish track. However, it is none of the band’s best ones – not bad as well. One of the most average encounters of Human :||: Nature.
6. How’s The Heart?
How’s The Heart is another track, which feels to be quite close to the folk and folk-pop sound. Sometimes the pipes give me a bit of a Mike Oldfield touch. May sound a bit negative – but overall, this song is maybe a bit of kitsch, but one of my favorites.
Nightwish is able to surprise in thiis album. Procession has very strong piano elements and feels much more than a melodic pop track than symphonic metal. There are some rock elements towards the end of track. Another musical proof that fans of the Finnish band may miss the power of opera-background Tarja Turunen, but therefore should be happy with the wider range of sounds, which Floor Jansen adds to the band.
With 3:56 minutes, Tribal is the shortest track on the album and in fact the only track with a playtime less than five minutes. Tribal got a lot of metal sounds, but it feels a bit too much to me – and definitely does not remind me too much about tribal music. Not my favorite track, definitely.
In the last track, Hietala is taking over the leading role on the vocal side. The 7:11 minute epic track is one of the highlights of the album to me and features a great symphonic metal sound. I love Hietala’s vocals in here as well.
All The Works Of Nature Which Adorn The World
2. The Blue
3. The Green
6. Quiet As The Snow
8. Ad Astra
I finally decided to review the second disc and All The Works Of Nature Which Adorn The World the way it is produced: as one track, divided into eight subsections. Tuomas Holopainen, who is doing most of the songwriting for the band, called this suite a “Love Letter to the World”. The first two sections even feature narrative parts, but are apart from that quite orchestral compositions with strong choral elements.
The Green starts with piano sounds and thus feels like the introduction to a new chapter. The beauty of sounds created here just feels a bit to much, there are fairy-alike elements int his track. There is no clear separation to Moors, which then comes with more brass elements – first lighter ones, then deeper and heavier tunes. With Moors, it feels like the whole orchestra is more intensively involved. Aurorae then even introduces powerful choral elements again, before Quiet As The Snow is really a quiet section of this song, even though it introduces strings and the choir towards the end. With Anthropocene, the track finitely looses it soupy character a bit. Ad Astra comes with a strong narrative part again. This part has been pre-released before the album.
Nightwish – Human :||: Nature – Spotify
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Nightwish – Human :||: Nature – My View
Let’s start at the end of the album: to me, All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World is too much. It is too far away from Nightwish music – maybe some die-hard fans feel joy listening to it. To me, this orchestral track just has too much of a self-adulation touch. If I treat it as part of the album, I have to admit that it is a nice composition, but it is just too much of a break to the first disc, too sloppy and too much kitsch. Nightwish do not need that. If I treat is as some sort of half hour bonus track, the downgrade in rating might become a bit smaller. If you go for the physical copy, you at least can ignore it if you feel so.
The main part of the album is a good collection of songs, sometimes maybe a bit long, but still a bearable. One or two songs fall below the average line, but there are some other really good ones. The versatility of Nightwish has improved a lot, so that Human :||: Nature is a surprisingly multi-faceted album. Fans will love it, I am sure!
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