Sound — 9
Being an avid Nightwish fan since their release of Nemo and being becoming hugely influences and inspired by their earlier releases, hearing the release of Imaginaerum was both refreshing, quirky and wildly interesting. Imaginaerum is a concept album revolving around, as Toumas himself states, "Tom, a composer with a serious dementia. His illness wiped all his adult life memories, including those of his own child. He's only left with the imagination of a small boy and slowly drifts away into coma. There seems to be a little hope left, when the daughter tries to save him from a horrible fate." The quality of the music is nothing short of genius with the intricate tying in of orchestra, choir and other ethnic instruments. Knowing full well that this album is built for a movie and is a concept album, the quirky "Un-Nightwish" aspects of the album that at first seem awkward like the small blues section and the polka sounding section make the album a much more enjoyable listen and a refreshing work of art. Personally, I've always felt that the guitar tone could have been fuller, for there are many times where the guitar doesn't have the fullest sound. At the same time, when mixed with the other orchestral instruments, the guitars sound great. On their own is where I would say they could have used a bit of work.
Lyrics — 9
Anyone who is and was a Tarja enthusiast cannot deny Anette's credit on this work. Though her singing style will never be that of the operatic Tarja, Anette's vocal variance through Imaginaerum is impressive and vast. In many of the songs Anette implements harder styles of vocals, including a fiery bit in "Scaretale" and a great accompaniment to Marco's heated vocals in "Ghost Tale". The lyrical content can also seem a bit quirky at first, but the album's purpose and concept shine through the lyrics and reflect the story incredibly well.
Overall Impression — 9
Through using many styles, sounds, instruments and concepts, Imaginaerum is Nightwish's most outstanding work. Nightwish continues their dominance over their genre while expanding into something much bigger than themselves. With the variance that garners the track through vocal experimentation and even a polka section, "Scaretale" has been the standout track to me that exemplifies this album. The anticipation I had for this album was well worth the hype and wait and the movie sounds to not disappoint either. The only unfortunate part of this release is that the album does not drop in the US retail stores until January, so in order to get a copy early if you're in the US it needs to be purchased through their online store. Other than that, this album is Nightwish's finest and most inventive album to date.