A Bard’s Eye View: Artist Profile – Nightwish Part Two: Post-Tarja

Artist Profile 7

Nightwish – Part Two: Post-Tarja

Country of origin: Finland
Genres: Symphonic metal, gothic metal, power metal, folk metal, heavy metal, symphonic power metal
Years active: 1996-current
Current members: Tuomas Holopainen (keyboards, piano, synthesizers), Jukka Nevaleinen (drums, percussion), Emppu Vuorinen (guitars), Marco Hietala (bass, vocals), Troy Donockley (uilleann pipes, tin whistle, low whistle, guitars, bouzouki, bodhran, backing vocals),
Number of albums: 8
Number of concerts attended: 4
Notable cameos on artist’s records: Kai Hahto

Nightwish is the number one selling artist ever to come out of Finland, selling 8 million copies worldwide. They appeal to a wide audience of people who ordinarily wouldn’t listen to any music in the metal genre because of their lyrical content (often containing fantasy references) as well as the female/male dynamic that has since dominated much of the scene.

There are obvious inspirations taken from Therion, who is said to be pioneers of the symphonic metal genre and also were early in working with female/male combinations (The Gathering are also very early). They have since inspired a number of bands including, most notably, Sonata Arctica whom they have a strong relationship with.

They are also well known for the departure of their original singer as well as their second singer. Nightwish has a long storied career and we will be splitting this article up into two phases to make it easier to digest. The second half will be looking at the last three albums by Nightwish, two feature Annette Olzon and the last one features Floor Jansen.

“Dark Passion Play” remains the most expensive album ever produced in Finland, topping out over a million Euros. It produced five singles and charted in over 20 countries including placing #84 in the Billboard 200. “The Poet and the Pendulum” is a very long song on the album and showcases a great introduction to Annette Olzon’s singing style.

In 2011, “Imaginaerum” followed and I feel like it is their most ambitious album to date. It uses Annette’s vocals in a way that I didn’t know she was capable of and I think the music fits her style a little better. “Slow Love Slow” is a great example of a different style from her and “Song of Myself” is a very long song dedicated to the works of Walt Whitman. The album again charted in over 20 countries and hit #27 on the Billboard 200.

After Annette’s departure, Floor Jansen became the new singer. Having a larger vocal range and the ability to also do operatic vocals, I feel like she was the singer that Nightwish may have needed to fill in. Annette had some great moments, but I don’t know if the fanbase truly ever supported her the way they do with Floor. “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” is inspired by theories of evolution and has two of my favorite Nightwish songs on this album. “Weak Fantasy” is pretty aggressive and showcases Kai Hahto’s drumming very well (see it live, you’ll be amazed) and “The Greatest Show on Earth” is a 24 minute opus that completely floored me. This album saw similar success as the previous two.

Thus completes our two-part segment. I wrote this forever ago, so I can’t tell you what’s coming next. But good stuff, I imagine. See you next week!


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