It has been four years since Nightwish released Dark Passion Play, and the beginning of a new chapter on the band’s history. With opinions divided between fans and press about the new singer Annete Olzon and the new direction of the band. Nightwish continued their evolution quietly until now, the release of their 7th studio album Imaginaerum. But is this what everyone expected from a band like Nightwish? the answer is yes and no. The band evolved in a different direction keeping the epic and bombastic elements that made their music so rich and unique, yes. Now the no will belong to those that expected the band to come back to a more operatic vocal sound, and got stuck on what the band used to be. Sorry, but the band moved on towards a different direction, and that is what Imaginaerum is, if many of us thought that Dark Passion Play was Nightwish‘s new beginning we were wrong. Imaginaerum is the new beginning.
Imaginaerum opens with Taikatalvi a Finnish song that is adorned by flutes and music box melodies that is the perfect opening for the album’s story, a great semi instrumental track narrated by Marco. The album continues with Storytime the first single of the album, a quite bombastic song, but in my opinion no strong enough to be the first single of the album, the song is catchy enough that could be part of a Tim Burton movie. Ghost River is the next stop on this trip, a very rich song that begins with a killer guitar riff courtesy of Emppu. This track is strong and steady, the kids chorus on the background works well with the voices of Marco and Anette.
Following is Slow, Love, Slow a very bluesy song that possesses a 1920’s aura all over it, indeed a great guitar work that goes from blues to distortion without damage the context of the song. The album continues with what I think is the best song of the album I Want My Tears Back, a really melodic and atmospheric song that will make you head bang really hard for sure. Continuing with Scaretale a very theatrical track that is perhaps the most dark song on the album, also Anette’s voice sounds quite different on this track particularly.
The following track is Arabesque, and how its name indicates, is a very middle eastern influenced song, the orchestration and production is just mesmerizing on this instrumental track. the album continues with Turn Loose The Mermaids, a ballad that has some folk influence that is really appealing to the ear, again Anette’s voice sounds great and more strong than ever. Rest Calm is the next stop on the album a very strong and symphonic track, full of great guitar riffs and bass lines that goes from soft to bombastic in matter of seconds.
The turn now is for The Crow The Owl And The Dove, which is a very calm track, quite overrated and simple on my opinion, is a contra balance to the rest of the album, I can rescue some of the melodic and background orchestration. Following is Last Ride Of The Day a heart racing track that is one of my favorites of the album, very fast and melodic with an amazing chorus work that gives a magical treatment to the song. Song Of Myself is the longest track on the album 13 minutes and half of pure awesomeness, a well produced track on which after the 7 minute mark becomes this kind of recited poem that just add a full level of epicness to the track. The album closes with Imaginaerum the title track is a whole new level of orchestration for an instrumental song that at times sounds like produced by John Williams in association with Carl Orff on a Tim Burton movie, an excellent way to close the album indeed.
Nightwish reinvented themselves on this album, and took symphonic metal to a different level. Tuomas Holopainen and company did it again a great album full of amazing music that would take you to from the most relaxing state to the most brutal head banging state, This is the beginning of a new era for Nightwish. Dark Passion Play was just the introduction where Imaginaerum is the first chapter. Personally can’t wait for the next chapter.