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Nightwish – Endless Forms Most Beautiful

By Clayton

Nightwish - 2015 - EFMB

It has been two weeks since the release of Nightwish’s eight studio album “Endless Forms Most Beautiful”, and I have not been able to stop listening to it from the first moment I have heard the latest masterpiece by this Finnish band.

I took my time to listen to this fully, before writing about it, because usually I write with utter excitement and sometimes my opinion can be just in the moment, but I can assure you that my fondness of this album is still the same as two weeks ago.

First of all I will not spend too much time on how excited I am about Floor Jansen singing on it. I have been a fan of her since 2003 and am more than familiar with her outstanding vocal abilities. A fact that she has been proving year after year, no matter in / with which band she is singing with.

On EFMB she lets us hear all her vocal capabilities, from clear vocals to screaming, to growling to full high operatic. After all these years I am still in awe of her amazing talent.

Nightwish - Endless Forms Most BeautifulNow (finally) on to the record itself.
Tuomas Holopainen is one of the best composers to walks this earth. His songs / lyrics tell a story that you are able to decipher, but are able to enjoy with such pleasure. It’s poetry mixed with music, which creates magic. . Tuomas has described this album as a mixture between Oceanborn and Once, and I totally agree. Those are my two previous favorite NW albums and EFMB sounds exactly like that.

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Music My thoughts on...

Symphonic Metal recommendations

By Clayton

The last few weeks and month there have been a lot of new album releases by many of my favorite bands. They have all been amazing. So much good music, so little time to listen to them all. But I have a lifetime to enjoy it, so actually this isn’t a real struggle. 🙂

hydracoverFirst we have Within Temptation’s latest album Hydra. This album was released at the end of January, so I have been listening to it for a while now. The album is far better than I expected it to be. I was not all too thrilled about the previous record, The Unforgiving, but Hydra seemed to be an improvement. The album has many guest vocalists and I was quite worried when I read that the band would be working with Xzibit. Yes, the rapper from Pimp My Ride. But believe it or not… that IS my favorite track on the entire record.

It is a fact that Within Temptation has stepped away from their symphonic metal sound and is more of a rock band with some symphonic elements in their music, but Hydra is listenable nonetheless!

Delain - The Human ContradictionI have already written about Delain’s latest record The Human Contradiction. It is still a nice album that I enjoying singing along to in the car on my way to work. Still think it should have been a much longer album, but who cares, they have enough albums now to enjoy their music. I have been checking out some live videos of them and seems that the promotional tour for this album seems to be going great as well.

LACUNA-COIL-BROKEN-CROWN-HALOLacuna Coil has been a bit disappointing for me on their last few records and I barely even listen to them. Their new album also didn’t impress me that much. The band recently released a new album called Broken Crown Halo. It does sound better then the previous 2 records, but I think I need to give it some much more listening. Then again their music isn’t all that “symphonic” if you ask me.

Diabalus-In-MusicaDiabulus in Musica, a band that I took way too long to listen to, because they are amazing!! The band released a new record called Argia, and I love it as much as the first 2 albums. I don’t listen as much as I probably should be listening to them, but DIM is totally the type of band that I love: symphonic songs, operatic vocals, choirs, latin chorus; they have it all. You should certainly check them out if this is your kind of music. And while you’re add it check out their 2 previous records too. Note: Mark Jansen from Epica grunts on one of the older albums.

SOP-AWOOOStream of Passion also released a new album called A War of Our Own. This has been the first SOP album that I loved at the first listen. So many great songs that get stuck in your head as soon as you listen to them. All the trademark SOP elements are on this album: violin parts, high vocal notes by Marcela Bovio, Spanish lyrics and catchy guitar riffs. I am totally in love with this record.

tuomas-scroogeTuomas Holapainen, the mastermind behind Nightwish, has released a solo album recently called: The Life and Times of Scrooge… yes, Scrooge! As in: Scrooge McDuck! I had no idea what to expect, but since this is Tuomas Holopainen we’re talking about I was very confident that this was going to be a great record. Seriously, anything this guy composes turns to complete an utter epicness. This record is exactly THAT!

It’s mostly an instrumental album with some vocals here and there, but don’t worry, this album will have your attention from the first to the very last minute. I am totally in love with this record. If you love movie scores and epic long songs, go check this album out!!

Xandria-SacrificiumSo I am still eagerly awaiting the release of Xandria’s new record Sacrificium. I have already heard the 2 singles from this album and they are very promising. I have still to listen to the full album, but have been too busy with Epica’s new record, which got released on the same day as Xandria. About Epica I will be writing next!

Music

Floor Jansen IS the new singer of Nightwish

By Clayton

Floor Jansen live with NightwishWell, it’s official now!! BUT no shocker at all!!
HOWEVER…. still very pleasant and exciting news!!!

After having performed as the temporary lead-singer of Nightwish for a year (wait… it has been a year already?), the amazing Floor Jansen has been officially added to the Nightwish lineup.

Mr. Tuomas Holopainen, you musical genius, you have picked an awesome singer to carry on the legacy of your Tuomas Holopainen and Floor Jansenband. I seriously cannot wait for a future Nightwish album featuring Floor on vocals. And hopefully I get to see NW live with Floor one day.

The official announcement can be read on the band’s website. Be sure to also check out the news on the upcoming Nightwish Live/ Tour DVD, featuring Floor: Showtime, Storytime. This will keep us all patient until the band starts to write new music.

The new NightwishI think 2014 promises a lot of greatness for the female fronted metal bands. Lots of new albums are currently being written/recorded and they will all be released next year. I’m already totally excited as I am thinking about it. Which I lived closer to where all the epic concerts take place though. But I’m sure my time will come. For now I always have Youtube and from time to time I have the ability to fly over, which makes such a concert even more special. 🙂

Music My thoughts on...

Nightwish gets a new (temporary?) singer: Floor Jansen

By Clayton

Floor JansenThe metal world got shocked a few days ago when Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish announced that they have decided to part ways with their singer Anette Olzon. All of this came as a shock to the world, at least it was to me, and even more shocking was that they already had replacement and no one other than the beloved, Dutch power-house Floor Jansen.

So hold on one minute… I need to process this!

Not only did Anette get fired after being hired in 2007, after Tarja Turunen got fired in 2005, but they also have a new singer in a matter of days (maybe even hours?)

According to the official Nightwish statement, the band and Anette have decided to part ways on a mutual understanding, but after what happened to Tarja I am almost certain that this split did not happen as peaceful as they make it appear.

So I’ve never been a real fan of Anette. I have been able to get used to her on the last record Imaginaerum, but I totally hated her when she sang the old songs (originally recorded by Tarja) live. She butchered the songs. The songs on Imaginaerum worked with her voice and vocal range, but other than that she cracked all the time, from what I’ve seen from Youtube videos.

I was more than happy to read the news that Floor, who is also a soprano singer just like Tarja, has stepped as the lead vocalist to help finish the Imaginaerum tour. I hope that this will open Tuomas’ eyes and he will notice that his songs/music NEEDS to be sung by a strong singer. Floor will fulfill that role perfectly. I have seen the videos and she is doing great.

I have loved Floor since her days in After Forever. And I’ve followed her career through all her side-projects like MaYan and love het own band Revamp too. They say that this is only temporary, but I wouldn’t mind if Floor joined the band permanently. Then again, she does have her own band Revamp to front, which is busy recording their second album. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

But I am very grateful that Floor has brought back memories of the “old Nightwish”.
THANK YOU FLOOR JANSEN!

Click here to read the official press statement!

Music My thoughts on...

Imaginaerum – Nightwish’s new album

By Clayton

Nightwish ImaginaerumIt has been a little over a week, since the new Nightwish album “Imaginareum” has been released. And ever since I’ve heard it, I can’t stop listening to it. The album sounds AMAZING!
I seriously didn’t explain it to be this good, but it actually is.
But before you jump to any conclusions, first let me explain a few things.

I’ve been a huge Nightwish fan for years. They were even in the top 5 of my favorite bands list. But that was all when Tarja Turunen was still there singer. That’s when I really started listening to metal music and also fell in love with opera.
I was very disappointed when they picked Anette Olzen as their new singer. They totally destroyed their image as a unique band, with great music, amazing lyrics and an angelical operatic voice. It was the perfect combination. They went from an elegant, dressed in theatrical robes frontwoman, with a powerful voice to a frontwoman who is dressed in clothes that are not-her-age-appropriate, has an eyebrow piercing and a huge tattoo on her left arm.

The thing is, her appearance wouldn’t bother me so much, if she could actually sing. Which she sort of can, but NOT the powerful songs that the band had composed and that Tarja had previously made epic. Instead, she butchered some of the greatest songs ever composed like Wishmaster for example. To this day I have no idea what Tuomas was thinking when picking her as the singer, but who am I to judge? I am simply stating my own opinion.

With the released of Dark Passion Play, the first album Anette appeared on, I wasn’t really satisfied either. I had to force myself to listen to the album and after many, many, many, many, many… okay, I think you know where this is going…. Many times of trying to listen I started to like a few songs, but none had the effect the previous Nightwish albums had on me. I tried to think of “Nightwish” as if is now, as a complete different band. This was the only way I was able to listen to DPP.

BUT…

Here’s is where the good part comes 🙂

With the release of Imaginaerum I was blown away and enthralled once again, by the amazing songs Tuomas has composed. This new album is A LOT better than the previous on and Anette doesn’t sound bad on it. Her voice actually sounds good with the music.
I think the thing is that the songs for Dark Passion Play were written BEFORE a new singer was picked. For almost 10 years Tuomas has been writing music with Tarja’s voice in his head. He knew what vocal abilities she possessed. With Dark Passion Play he had no singer in mind and I do think the songs were a bit too big for Anette to sing, which is why she sounds weak and maybe a bit insecure.
With Imaginaeum, Toumas had been able to take Anette’s strengths, and more importantly her weaknesses, into consideration. I could be totally wrong about this, but I do feel that this was the case.

The theme of the album is also fantasy, dreams, nightmares, fears, the circus, clowns etc. Anette’s sometimes sounds very high-pitched and witch-like and THAT IS WHAT WORKED FOR THE ALBUM. Take the song Scaretale for example, this is an amazing song, because she needed to sound high-pitch and scary for the effect. I honestly couldn’t imagine Tarja singing any of these songs. However I could imagine her singing songs on Dark Passion Play like: The Poet and the Pendulum, Meadows of Heaven and Eva, I personally think, she would have owned those songs.

But enough with the comparisons. I’ve already explained why this new album works: the music was written to suite Anette. Now I’m going to write about the songs one by one.

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