Sound — 10
I only recently got into Nightwish (somewhere mid last year I think). My friend leant me a copy of their "Best of" compilation, Highest Hopes, but that was enough to convince me that this band is awesome. I then proceeded to get every nightwish album in reverse order (not intentionally), starting from Once and heading back down to Angels Fall First. Although all of the albums are amazing and individual, their fourth studio Album "Century Child" has found itself on top of my list of favourite albums many times (which changes constantly). The first thing you notice about Nightwish is their (now ex) lead vocalist, Tarja Turunen. She has a beautiful voice, using powerful operatic lyrics. Tarja Turunen performs well in both fast paced heavy songs and slower ballads. In this album and on Once, the second thing that will probably jump out at you is the powerful male vocals that sometimes appear in some songs. This is their bassist/back vocalist, Marco Hietala, who is also in the band "Tarot". I don't think I've ever heard such a powerful male vocalist, least of all in a power metal band like Nightwish. This is his first studio album with Nightwish, and although he was the new kid, he was still amazing. Their guitarist, Emppu Vuorinen, is also quite amazing. Although his performance on Once was way more inspiring, he did have his moments on this album, such as the short coordinated solo on End of all Hope. Of course, like most metal guitarists, he does use a lot of powerchords, but at least that's not all he knows how to do, unlike many metal guitarists such as Brad Delson (of Linkin Park). Although I can't and won't say too much about Jukka Nevalainen, the drummer, I will say that he sounds a lot better than the majority of metal drummers I've heard. Not quite the best, but still very good nonetheless. And last but definitely not least, my hero and inspiration, Tuomas Holopainen, keyboardist, lyricist, composer and founder of the band. This guy is awesome with the keys. Of all the bands with keyboards that I have ever heard, Tuomas has to be the best. Also, he is definitely my favourite lyricist. The lyrics he writes are so amazing and inspirational. Also the music he composes is, as you can hear, just beautiful. Also, he founded one of my most favourite bands. This is truly a man of legend, if only nightwish were more well known. Which brings me to the point that 99% of all mainstream sucks.
Lyrics — 10
As I've said, the lyrics are the work of my favourite Lyricist, Tuomas Holopainen. To be quite honest, I was surprised that, for once, it wasn't the lead vocalist that wrote the lyrics, but the keyboardist. However, I'm sure that if Tarja or Marco did write the lyrics, they wouldn't be half as beautiful and inspirational as Tuomas's lyrics. On this album, because of Marco joining up, he has written songs that include both male and female singing, something which he has tried a few times before but it hasn't really worked out. As stated before, both Tarja and Marco have incredible voices, and Tuomas's lyrics and compositions complement the vocals very well.
Overall Impression — 10
In this section I'll break it down song by song for you. 01. Bless The Child - a nice first song. It has some "chanting" in the intro, with the keys fading in, creating a nice slow and soft mood. And then the guitars, bass and drums all coming in all of a sudden. It's a small impact but it's enough. That's followed by the "Dead Boy" (guest vocalist Sam Hardwick, who also sung the same part in "Dead Boy's Poem" on their previous album "Wishmaster"). Overall, this is a nice song, although the lyrics are a bit repetitive, the song itself I think is beautiful and adding the "Dead Boy" in is a nice effect. Overall, good song, though doesn't stand out much. 02. End Of All Hope - nice transition between Bless the Child and End of all Hope. It kinda builds up at the end of all hope and then a big impact for the beginning of the song. At the beggining it has a chorus singing the chorus, with the instruments playing in short quick bursts at first. Then it changes at the second half of the chorus to much faster playing, and then a riff before heading into the verse. The verse itself is powerful in the way that it's structured, the only instrument that plays continuously is the drums, the rest coming out in, once again, short sharp bursts. Then it changes so they all play continuously and quickly. Then, a couple of chorus's later, it goes into a nice keyboard riff, then the bridge which is more chorus and short, sharp bursts of instruments, then a nice short solo which in the end becomes coordinated between 2 guitars. Overall, this is a VERY strong song, and one of my favourites on this disc. Simply breathtakingly powerful. 03. Dead To The World - starts off with a choir, then a harpsichord solo which sounds awesome, with powerchords playing in the background. Then, it all goes crazy with every instrument doing their own thing, and the harpsichord is moved up a bit. At the verse, everything slows down a bit, and instead of using the overused powerchords, for the most part Emppu Vuorinen does a short and simple riff. Then, it goes into the "chorus", with Marco (at least I think it's Marco, he sounds a bit different) powerfully singing with the instruments backing him up. In the end, the things which mainly stand out in this song is the awesome harpsichord and the fact that it's mainly Marco that's singing. 04. Ever Dream - this really is not one of my most favourite songs on this disc, and it definitely did not deserve to be one of the singles for this album. Sure, it's nice, but it gets really old really fast. It starts with a piano solo backed up with some strings and Tarja's singing, and then going into the song where the keys stand out a lot, and the palm muted guitar in the background. Then, a slow, light verse, leading into a slightly heavier but still slow chorus. Back to a verse, chorus, then a short bridge followed by a simple yet effective solo. Really, this song isn't bad, but it just bores me a lot after I listen to it a few times, unlike most other songs on this album. 05. Slaying The Dreamer - this is where the awesomeness begins. Apparnently, this song was composed by both Holopainen and Vuorinen. It starts off with just a guitar, using palm mutes and slides, then the instruments come in and the guitar goes exactly one 4th lower where it does the same thing with a pinch harmonic in there. Then the verse starts. The guitar is doing almost the same thing without the slide, and just something about this bit... maybe it's the chord progression, but I just think it sounds awesome. The chorus has a big impact, with Tarja all of a sudden singing "Put a stake!", everything pausing, and then everything comes back at the same time with Tarja finishing her sentence "through me heart, and drag me into sunlight". Same thing happens again, except with a down slide on the guitar rather than silence, then after the chorus a modified version of the intro with many a pinch harmonic. Then, after the second chorus, another simple yet effective solo, then a bridge which has awesome lyrics, big impacts and nice keys work. Then, the song completely changes, with Marco singing the rest of it in a slow dragged out manner. This bit is amazing because, although they got this bit to sound quite different to the rest of the song in many ways, it still sounds like it's a part of the song somehow. The dragged out sound is an awesome effect which really complements the rest of the song well I think. It ends with some chanting. A must hear. 06. Forever Yours - I may be a metal fan, but that doesn't stop me from liking slow songs like this. Although a lot of slow songs I wouldn't touch, this is definitely a good one. This is song really does complement Tarja's vocals very well, probably better than any other song on this disc. It's mainly keys backing her up, with a bit of bass and drums, and guitars at the chorus, also a flute solo after the first chorus. I can't describe just how beautiful this voice is, you'd just have to hear it for yourself. 07. Ocean Soul - here's a term you see throughout nightwish's work. As far as I can remember, Ocean Soul is said a number of times in this album, and even once on Wishmaster, their previous album. What they're trying to say here that an "Ocean Soul" is like a lonely or an empty soul, like on Dead Boy's Poem (on Wishmaster), Tarja repeats the phrase "An Ocean Soul, A Lonely Soul" (maybe that's reversed? I can't remember) This song starts off with some guys chanting, with keys in the background. Tarja then joins in, and after a bit so does the guitars, bass and drums. After the verse there's a short pre-chorus. though it's very short, without the pre-chorus, the verse and chorus wouldn't connect nearly as well. Then there's a chorus, a bit heavier than the verse but still not heavy at all. After the second pre-chorus, instead of going into the chorus it goes straight into the third verse, where the guitars/bass/drums are cut out, then back into the chorus. A nice song, and it would stand out when compared to a lot of albums and songs, however when you compare it to the rest of this album, this isn't really that astounding. 08. Fell For You - this song is one of my favourites on this disc. It's in my top 3, and it constantly gets stuck in my head. It starts off with a bass, keys join in, then a coordinated guitar/keys riff. Then, a light verse, in which the bass is really going at it. Back to the coordinated riff, then another verse with guitar in the background this time. After the verse, it has the chorus, with Marco singing. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Marco has an incredible voice. Then it does the intro again, and has a nice keys riff, and then Tarja joins in singing "This one is for you, for you, only for you. Just give into it, never think again, I feel for you," which I feel is an awesome line. They repeat it and song ends. Very awesome song. Definitely one of the best. 09. Phantom Of The Opera - this is another one that's in my top 3. This is a cover, and it's a beautiful one at that. They took the song, added metal elements, replaced the original vocalists with Tarja and Marco and the product was definitely just awesome. This is one which makes me want to hit the "repeat" button. But then, I wouldn't be able to hear the next song. 10. Beauty Of The Beast - top 3 once again. One thing I don't like about the song is the title. I mean, on their first album, they have a song called "Beauty and the Beast", and now that have "Beauty of the Beast". Anyway, onto the song, this is a long 10+ minute song that's split into 3 parts, which are named (respectively), Long Lost Love, One More Night to Live and Christabel. It starts out with some keys backed up with some other instruments (can't be bothered naming them all), then going into the verse which is essentially Tarja, bass and light drums with light keys in the background. Then, in the chorus, guitar joins in, makes it slightly heavier, Marco sings a bit... back to the verse, chorus again, then does the intro again with guitar, bass and drums this time. Another chorus that's been shifted up a bit, then the next part starts. Whilst I view Long Lost Love as a long intro and Christabel as an Outro, I view One More Night to Live as the body of the song. It is, therefore, the best part. It starts off with a choir, going into some instrumental playing, which leads into the verse. This part is, while faster than Long Lost Love, still not that fast. Kinda light as well. Tarja comes in, and the keys dominates the other instruments. After the first section (I wouldn't call them verses), some more instrumental playing, crazy drums, onto the next section (which is basically the same). Short but sweet guitar riff, leading into the next section. This section is definitely more powerful. The way Tuomas arranged the vocals to be was awesome, and it gets even better when Tarja is then accompanied by the choir at the part where she says "All of my songs can only be composed of the greatest of pains!" Then, the song really starts to speed up, with a nice guitar riff, and Tarja singing powerfully. Then, the drums start going insane with the double bass kick, then there's guitar riff followed by a keyboard riff then another guitar riff and another keyboard riff. Then, back to the fast bit again, repeating the last line, "Sanest choice in this insane world, beware the beast but enjoy the feast he offers". It goes back to the awesome part ("All of my songs... ") Then after she sings "I wish I had one more night to live", the live is dragged out nice and long and Sam Hardwick once again joins as the "Dead Boy" (as he says, "I'm but a poet who failed his best play, a Dead Boy who failed to write an ending to each of his poems"). Then, there's chanting, which fades out. Overall, this album is very good. Whilst some of the songs may not even be worth mentioning, there are some very awesomely powerful songs on this album that I could listen to for hours on end and still not be bored. Awesome album, awesome band, awesome genre, kill mainstream.