17.3.15

Nightwish - Endless Forms Most Beautiful (2015)

Nightwish - Endless Forms Most Beautiful (2015) album review

The wait is over. Four years since Imaginaerum in 2011, and two years since the acquisition of Floor Jansen from the power metal world. Endless Forms Most Beautiful is the Nightwish's new album, marking the new era, well, the third era. Not only Floor Jansen is the obvious attraction here, but the band also swift deeply now into new musical direction. The theme of Endless Forms Most Beautiful itself is  Evolution and Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species". On band formation, drummer Jukka Nevalainen is not in the recording, instead Kai Hato from Wintersun is recording all of the parts. Troy Donockley is official member now, the first and may be the only uileann piper in metal band. The album has massive energy to be unleashed just by facts on paper.

If memory served us well, long ago Nightwish was known by its female operatic voices, who sing under neo-classical power metal genre. When Tarja no longer around, Nightwish altered the style and resulted in heavier, symphonical metal. The vocal style itself, by Annette,  no longer an exclusive signature to Nightwish. In E.F.M.B. where Floor Jansen debut, Nightwish also did not returned to the operatic voice character. Floor Jansen sing in her own style, but mainly "need" to fit into Nightwish newly, ambitious heavy orchestration metal invention.

Just like Imaginaerum, where the orchestration is begin to get large portion of the music, E.F.M.B. is even more ambitious. The first opening is "Shudder Before The Beautiful". After a spoken introductory, we got the very first new Nightwish riff after four years. It is still intact with old 'classic', it's very Dark Chess of Wonders in sibling, so old fans should feel connected. The different is, this opening start with calm singing line, something that indicated the song is only beginning part of the whole E.F.M.B. concept album. Middle solos are awesome, all three melodic player takes turn, the pipers, guitars and keyboardist. The orchestration of course on its different level now, it is real arrangements with real composer in charge. The song first impression is, kind of too generic for Nightwish and general female symphonic metal, though it is really kicking ass.

"Weak Fantasy" is where we need to face with many more orchestration. The song has  more character development of Nightwish and Floor Jansen style. Very strong reply to the first song. "√Član" itself is already known as a single release prior to the album. It is very radio friendly, easy listening one from the band. "Yours Is An Empty Hope" is full orchestrated heavy piece, where we got to listen Floor Jansen in her full metal mode. "Our Decades In The Sun" is the middle break ballad, arrangement of piano and backing orchestration are great. "My Walden" is the movie score like song. Troy's piper come in force in this song.  "Endless Forms Most Beautiful" is the peak of three elements, Nightwish guitar signature riffing, Floor Jansen singing explorations and backing symphonic arrangements. "Edema Ruh" is another easy and simple track with strong folk elements. "Alpenglow" is recollection of some old Nightwish string riff, though I hardly can remember the exact song they are "adapting". "The Eyes Of Sharbat Gula" is the usual Nightwish's instrumental break, choirs and strong string layer in this one. Finally, "The Greatest Show On Earth" is their most serious composition, extended to 24 minutes. Nightwish has finally joined Dream Theater and Rhapsody of Fire in giving the last for the best. I suggested everyone to take time, listened to the hard work of the band on this ambitious piece.

One loophole the album need to avoid is to not to bore the listener with too many repetition. Endless Forms Most Beautiful is very close in getting this trouble, with many orchestration parts, kind of repeated in other forms and songs. Especially with the last lengthy lengthy finale. But, all those problem can be meet by repeated listening and the quality will show up. Floor Jansen is kind of getting her different form of performance. Good maneuver, as she herself already has ReVamp for other creative outlet. In short, we satisfied with creative ideas compiled in this album, certainly the waiting time is worth.

Favorite songs: Weak Fantasy, Shudder Before The Beautiful, Elan, My Walden
Metal Harem class: ********* nine stars out of ten

Buy it Here - Amazon

Nightwish - Endless Forms Most Beautiful (2015)

1. Shudder Before The Beautiful
2. Weak Fantasy
3. √Član
4. Yours Is An Empty Hope
5. Our Decades In The Sun
6. My Walden
7. Endless Forms Most Beautiful
8. Edema Ruh
9. Alpenglow
10. The Eyes Of Sharbat Gula
11. The Greatest Show On Earth

    I. "Four Point Six"
    II. "Life"
    III. "The Toolmaker"
    IV. "The Understanding"
    V. "Sea-Worn Driftwood"


Nightwish
    Floor Jansen - lead vocals
    Marco Hietala - lead vocals, growls, bass guitar
    Emppu Vuorinen - lead guitars
    Tuomas Holopainen – keyboards, piano
    Troy Donockley – uilleann pipes, tin whistle, backing vocals

Additional musicians
    Kai Hahto - drums (Wintersun)
    Richard Dawkins - narration
    Pip Williams - orchestral arrangements
    James Shearman - Conductor
    Metro Voices - choir

Production
    Tuomas Holopainen - production, mixing
    Mikko Karmilla, Tero Kinnunen - mixing
    Mika Jussila - mastering
    Toxic Angel - cover art

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