Sound — 8
The only album where Tuomas did not write the majority of the music, it was a shared burden on this album. Musically, this album is interesting. If you are a new fan of nightwish, and only know recent material of albums like century child and once, then you can expect something very different here. Nightwish make use of the orchestral back drops as always, however, this doesn't sound so great, as at the time Nightwish didn't ave enough money to pay for an orchestra, so they use Tuomas's synthy keyboards instead, this leaves a sound which is missing that "epic" feel and feels a bit weak, like the bieginning of "Beauty And The Beast". Do not mistake me though, this is an excellent album, put together before Sami or Marco joined the band so Emppu plays all 6string and bass guitars, making this a bit of a boring album for those of you listening for killer bass lines. Originally, nightwish were a piano-guitar-vocal trio who later became a metal band. This is obvious on songs such as "Angels Fall First" where a small section of drums has been added and the 4 part song "Lappi". Apart from these few songs, which are still beautiful songs for those of us who are more open minded to others styles other than metal, the rest of the album shows the clear origins of the modern nightwish. "Know why the nightingale sings" has a killer guitar riff and drum line with a beautifl piano solo at the end. the album makes use of a lot of flutes, somewhat of an open for the appearence of John Two Hawks On The Once album. If you are looking for a stereotypical Nightwish album, this is not one for you, even though it was their first album and does show a lot of musical talent.
Lyrics — 6
As always, Tuomas wrote all the lyrics for this album. Mixed opinions on the lyrical and vocal side of this album; it is the only album to feature tuomas singing duets with tarja, and his singing at first seems cringe worthy, but after a while it starts to sink in a sound quite nice. Tarja's voice has yet to develop on this album, is sounds like any other soprano singer and has yet to show some charecter and unique sound. Lyrically, this album has highs and lows. ashamed to say, I deliberatley skip some tracks because the lyrics are either so cliche'd or cringe worthy. Songs like "Elvenpath", "The Carpenter" and parts of "Beauty And The Beast" are terribly cliche'd ("Forever shall the wolf in me desire the sheep in you" etc) and the singing on the Carpenter from both tarja and tuomas is terrible in the chorus but alright in the verses. On the bright side of things, songs like "Angels Fall First" feature some amazing vocal talent and lyrical genius. Some of the phrases are poetic master pieces and hold an epic quality to them.
Overall Impression — 7
Over all, this album was a fairly neautral buy, I could have bought better but it wasn't a bad buy and I certainly enjoyed the album. The main let down was the lower quality lyrics and singing. Musically, the album was lovely, featuring a broad range of styles from acoustic to folk to metal. The artwork for the album is interesting, fairly basic but with nice photography on the front (believe it or not that is a real photo and not a coputer graphic) and features a picture of all the band with short hair on the inside as well as Tarja without her make up (she must have had a face lift since then aswell, her cheeks are far higher and slender now). I would probably buy this album again, as it is cheap in most shops and is worth it for the tracks I enjoy.