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Nightwish’s Once

A review of Nightwish Once

If you haven’t heard this album yet, you need to. This was the last album by Nightwish featuring Tarja Turunen. And we all agree, this was Nightwish’s best effort. One of us hear says that this was the best album of the 2000s, hands down.

nightwish once

Nightwish Once

Released in 2004, this album changed everything. It made Symphonic Metal a force to be reckoned with. You had to take Symphonic Metal seriously now. It was on a higher level of music.

Opening up with “Dark Chest of Wonders” then going right into “Wish I had an Angel,” the album starts off heavy, which is a good thing. Tarja Turunen sounds better than ever. It sounds like this music was specifically made to showcase her vocal style.

Then it goes into their first single, “Nemo,” a slower but still heavy piece. “Planet Hell” is a heavier piece that comes next, then “Creek Mary’s Blood” with John Two Hawks contributing. It doesn’t sound cheesy at all. It fits. And it fits perfectly.

Next, Nightwish goes exotic with “The Siren.” Holy mermaids! Tarja can really sing! She does amazing things with her voice in “The Siren.” Well, she does amazing things all album long, but this one really stands out for exotic vocal technique.

Then comes two really heavy songs with “Dead Gardens” and “Romanticide.” Tuomas, who wrote most of the music, shows you how to write good Metal. “Ghost Love Score” follows those two heavy pieces and “Ghost Love Score” is the showcase song of the album. Clocking in over 10 minutes long, you still feel the song isn’t long enough. You long for more. It’s that good.

“Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan” comes next, a lighter and very beautiful piece in their native language. Since we’re all from the States, we have no idea what she’s singing, but we do know it’s beautiful and sad from the way she delivers it.

“Higher than Hope” finishes the regular album unless you got the special edition. It’s a pretty good moderately heavy piece.

We got the special edition so we got two bonus songs. “White Night Fantasy” comes next and it’s exactly that, a fantasy that sounds like it’s snowing. It’s so beautiful. Finishing up the special edition album is “Live to Tell the Tale,” a moderate Metal piece.

This album has no bad parts. None. No filler, nothing we cringe at. It’s perfect. We all agree it’s an amazing album and the blueprint for how a Symphonic Metal album should sound. Some of us straight up say it’s the best Symphonic Metal album ever recorded. Everything is perfect on it, from the vocals to the guitar and bass parts to the drumming to the keyboard playing to the orchestration, and to the other guest musicians.

Marco, the bass player, contributes male vocals on several of the songs and he sounds heavy. He has an excellent voice and it’s a good juxtaposition versus Tarja’s gorgeous female operatic vocals.

Emmpu is the guitarist. One criticism one of us has is we wish he played more solos on the album. He’s amazing. He’s awesome. He can shred. He can also wail. But he only solos on a few of the songs.

And of course Jukka sounds tight on the drums. He’s a standard Metal drummer, which is not an insult. He compliments the music perfectly.

Of course, you all know the rest. Tarja got fired after the tour and this led to Annette taking over, so of course we did a comparison of the two singers. We love them both as we’ve seen both of them live, but we all agree that Tarja fit the music better.

So if you don’t have this album already, buy it! It is a perfect example of why WE NEED MORE WOMEN IN METAL!!!

Photo credit – This is the Nightwish Once album cover, used under Fair Use. We are using it for an album review.


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