Thursday, April 2, 2015

Nightwish - Endless Forms Most Beautiful

Well here we have the return of Nightwish with their newest vocalist, Floor Jansen, best known for her vocals in the symphonic power metal band After Forever. Now I know that this band is basically under the dictatorship of eye liner wearing Tuomas Holopainen; who I will henceforward call Uncle Scrooge since he made a symphonic rock album called The Life and Times of Scrooge that had a picture of Scrooge McDuck on it; so I did not have high hopes for this album. I mean, Uncle Scrooge? Seriously? But I did have higher hopes for the performance of Floor Jansen. Her work with After Forever was nothing short of brilliant so maybe we would have the return of operatic vocals in Nightwish....

....or not! Now, this album is actually not as bad as I thought it would be. I truly thought that Uncle Scrooge would continue on the road of lifeless, riffless goth metal. It's no Oceanborn but it really is not as bad as the two last turds produced under the Nightwish banner. Is it worth the circle-jerk it's receiving? Absolutely not and I'll tell you why. Because Scrooge McFuck and his dictatorship decided on Floor Jansen's sound instead of allowing her to use her full potential. Do we see a pattern forming here? He did the same thing to Tarja staring with Century Child. She's a thousand times better than Anette Olson, who I just recently found out could sing better than Scrooge "allowed" her to. This reminds me of Gene Simmons humming lead guitar solos to Vinnie Vincent because they did not want anyone to take the spotlight off of Gene and Paul. Floor is better than this, much better than this. "Shudder Before the Beautiful" is the opener and a rather good epic metal song. It's got good hooks, a nice chorus, and a bad ass solo. But Floor sounds like she's holding back. Again, where's the operatic vocals that she is capable of? That would have sent this song over the top to make this a true return to form. I'm sorta pissed by this point.

Like I said, a few of the the songs appear to have much more meat to them than anything on the two previous albums. "Weak Fantasy" is another good song with some crunchy guitars and a nice acoustic section during the verse but Floor is sounding like a fucking rock singer you'd hear on the radio rather than being part of a band that once had the voice of Tarja Turunen. Hel, she sounds more like Lita Ford in places than herself on this song. It does not make sense to me. She hits some cool notes here and there but other than that, it's nothing special. Then you have the single, "Elan" which is a snoozefest from beginning to end.  It's not one of their better songs and Floor sounds like she is phoning it in. Again, I heard this voice do much better. If you have a voice like this in your band, why the fuck would you hold her back? Ahhhh, that's right, the keyboard player is the leader. Who pays attention to the keyboard player, unless he wears eyeliner? I could be drawing conclusions here but anyone that dictatorial in a band down to the point where he actually dictates the vocalist's sound must be seriously questioning their own importance in this band.

I must mention the song "Alpenglow" since it could be one of the best songs Nightwish has made in over a decade. It's riffy and catchy with some serious hooks. Uncle McFuck is almost making her whisper on this one but that only takes a little from this song. I can only imagine how powerful this song would have been if Floor were allowed to...well allowed to actually be Floor! To listen to this you would almost not recognize her as the same person who sang "Monoliths of Doubt." I just don't understand it. Musically this is the best album Nightwish has written in years but with the lackluster vocal performance, by an artist I know can do better, just makes it obvious that she was reigned in by design and that just lets out all the air I had in my tires for this album. What a shame because this could actually have been the comeback of the year. Nice going Uncle Scrooge. Which leaves us with the elephant in the room, the twenty four minute closer, "The Greatest Show on Earth." There's maybe nine to ten minutes of this song that is actually worth anything and Floor actually gets to belt some shit out. Nine minutes out of twenty four minutes that actually do anything. It actually does almost nothing for the first six and the last seven fucking minutes of the song!

Wow, just wow. If only the person dictating what goes on in this band had an actual clue. This album could have been so good if Toumas would have just stuck with the songwriting that made them great. He almost did it in some places here but you do not put the brakes on the best vocalist you've had in this band in over a decade. If you have Floor Jansen singing in your band don't fucking hold her back! What the fuck was he thinking? And you do not put a twenty four minute song on your album that has less than ten minutes of anything remotely musical. I don't want to hear five minutes of narration. I'll get an audio book for that. This is the best they've done since they booted Tarja, but unfortunately that's not saying much. Don't be fooled by the hype, it's nowhere near as good as it could have been.


1 comment:

Unknown said...

You are very generous mate. To me it is a lifeless turd and another proof that dictatorship rarely works (even in music). But do you know what the most annoying thing is? That very often they try to sound like a Celtic band. Kind of Finnish caricature of annoying Celtic prog bands like Mostly Autumn or twisted version of Mike Oldfield circa 1980. Metal it is not:(