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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 metalchicksrule.com

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.

Sharon den Adel

We all love Sharon den Adel, whether we call Within Temptation, the band she is lead vocalist of, Symphonic Metal or Pop Metal. But regardless of whatever their genre is, we all love Sharon den Adel.

Sharon den Adel, lead vocalist of Within Temptation www.metalchicksrule.com

Sharon den Adel

Sharon den Adel co-founds Within Temptation

From the Netherlands, Sharon den Adel and Robert Westerholt co-found the Symphonic Metal band Within Temptation in 1996. Den Adel is listed as having a Mezzo-Soprano range. However, if our ears are correct, she sounds like she can hit both Mezzo-Soprano and Soprano notes.

Their music is pompous and overblown, which to some can be a really good thing. No one will ever say it lacks melody. Personally, we all love them. Their music is catchy and fun. Sharon den Adel is one of the primary songwriters for the band.

We first heard of them around 2007 or so, when they started getting a good following in the States. Since then, we’ve been noticing a lot of copycats. Which isn’t such a bad thing.

They have a lot of similarities with Pop Metal from the 80s, except add keyboards and/or orchestration and instead of a pretty boy with long hair singing, replace him with Sharon den Adel. Which is a good thing. The guys here would much rather look at Sharon den Adel.

If you haven’t heard of Within Temptation yet, judge for yourself their genre. Here is A Shot in the Dark from their 2011 album The Unforgiving.

That album is more produced and catchy than normal and to purists, you might have been disappointed. It sold pretty well, cracking the Billboard 200 in the States and hitting #50.

Their latest album, released this year, is Hydra and is a little bit heavier than their previous effort. We like this one better as it’s more Metal. It even has Tarja Turunen on one of the songs, which is a good thing. We love Tarja.

Sharon den Adel Dour Festival www.metalchicksrule.com

Sharon den Adel Dour Festival

Sharon den Adel and Robert Westerholt have three children together.

Oh, and we forgot to mention (not that it needs to be said), Sharon den Adel is drop-dead gorgeous.


Photo credits – First photograph taken in France by Olarcadia for metal-ways.com and kindly put into Public Domain. Second photograph taken by Nacht and also put into Public Domain.

Liv Kristine

Liv Kristine has been a Metal singer for like forever. Born in 1976 in Norway, she started off singing for the band Theatre of Tragedy.

We found out about her from different ways. We unfortunately have to admit that none of us knew her from her Theatre of Tragedy days. One of us knew her as the backup singer in the Cradle of Filth song Nymphetamine, but the rest of us knew her as the singer for Leaves’ Eyes, for which she co-founded and it’s an amalgam for her name.

Liv Kristine is a Soprano singer and is now married to Leaves’ Eyes and Atrocity vocalist Alexander Krull, who she co-founded the band with.

Liv Kristine in Leaves’ Eyes

Leaves’ Eyes currently have five albums, with their most current album Symphonies of the Night late last year. Their style is Symphonic Metal and Liv Kristine adds her Soprano voice with occasional growling done by Krull. Krull also plays keyboards for the band.

We don’t really agree on our favorite album of the five, but we do agree that the highlight of the music is her voice. She has a beautiful voice that stands out and is distinctive.

Lyrically, they often have Viking themes. Lovelorn came out in 2004, followed by Vinland Saga in 2005. Their next album was Njord in 2009, then Meredead in 2011. Then of course their latest one released late last year.

Liv Kristine metalchicksrule.com

Liv Kristine

Musically, despite them being called Symphonic Metal, they have both strong Gothic Metal and Folk Metal elements and some of their songs even utilize folk instruments in addition to Metal instruments and traditional orchestration. Their lyrics tend to be inspired by Norse Mythology and are very folksy.

Liv Kristine is a vegetarian.


Photo credits – Image of Liv Kristine by Sebastian Breier and released under the Creative Commons 3.0 license.

Alissa White-Gluz

Well, since Angela Gossow has passed the torch to another singer, we decided to give this new singer a warm welcome. For the record, Angela Gossow stepped down on her own and still remains business manager of Arch Enemy. She just needed to spend more time with her family.

Alissa White-Gluz metalchicksrule.com

Alissa White-Gluz, the new singer of Arch Enemy

The good news is the new singer is Alissa White-Gluz. Alissa White-Gluz, like her predecessor, has a pretty sick growl. We wish her the best of luck and hope she can match Angela’s strong stage presence.

A short bio on Alissa White-Gluz

Alissa White-Gluz is a Canadian singer. She was the founding member of the Canadian Melodic Death Metal band The Agonist, from Montreal, Canada. Like Angela Gossow before White-Gluz before her in Arch Enemy, White-Gluz has a very strong growl. We’re not clear whether White-Gluz left The Agonist on good terms or not, but like we’ve said and want to make very clear, White-Gluz joined Arch Enemy with Angela Gossow’s blessing and Gossow still is their business manager.

This is a video from Arch Enemy’s latest album War Eternal. It is called “You Will Know My Name.” And yes Alissa White-Gluz, we will know your name.

We are looking forward to seeing the band with their new singer when they come out to the States later on this year. They’re currently touring in Europe.


Photo credit – Mark Scott, Austin TX Creative Commons license 2.0

Chibi from The Birthday Massacre

Chibi, lead singer of the Canadian sort of Metal band “The Birthday Massacre.”

You might be thinking, “is The Birthday Massacre a Metal band?” Well, sort of. They have Metal elements but they also have elements from other genres. We’re going to write about Chibi anyways because she’s a cool chick and the band puts on a good show.

Hailing from Ontario, Canada, we really hate to say this, but three of us saw them live back before we had decent cameras on our phones and to be perfectly honest, despite two of us getting right under Chibi and taking pictures zooming in on her, the pictures are simply not good enough to post on this site. This was either 2005 or early 2006 during their tour for their Violet EP, which the same three of us agree was their strongest release.

We apologize for having shitty phones back then. None of us had any idea years later, for one, we’d all still be friends. And for another, we’d be working on a website together that promotes Women in Metal. Hey, you probably don’t know the future either, so pbbbtttth.

We will say however that The Birthday Massacre never did get really big, so if you get the chance to see them live, they’ll be more than likely playing in smaller venues. After the show, the band members were very approachable. We got a chance to talk to some of them. The dudes kind of look the same, so not sure who we talked to. Chibi’s the one girl, the lead singer, and was also really cool. We got high fives from them during their performance and shook their hands after the show.

Some of us don’t like the more pop direction they headed with their more recent stuff, but we all will say that you at least need to hear their Violet EP, the one that had “Blue” on it. It’s a good song, and there were several other good songs on the EP.

Since we failed to deliver some pictures for you, at least you can watch the “Blue” video. Listen to their lyrics too. They’re pretty dark. They don’t call themselves The Birthday Massacre for nothing.

Angela Gossow

Angela Gossow is a German Mezzo-Soprano singer/growler best known for her work with Arch Enemy. Earlier this year, she passed the torch to Alissa White-Gluz, although she remains the business manager of the band. Reports say that Angela Gossow wanted to spend more time with her family.

Angela Gossow Arch Enemy metalchicksrule.com

Angela Gossow is best known for her work with Arch Enemy although she had previously sung with a few other bands. She has a voice that is quite rare in the Metal world. She’s one of the few female singers in a band that actually sells albums who also has a sick growl. We’re all hoping she opens doors for other female growlers.

Although there is still some debate over here at Metal Chicks Rule for which is the Melodic Death Metal band Arch Enemy’s best album, we actually voted and decided to say Rise of the Tyrant just to list one. Note that this wasn’t a sweep. We all agree on one thing though – we all love Angela Gossow as a vocalist and it’s a shame she stepped down from Arch Enemy. Although it was good to know that she stepped down on good terms and continues to work with the band in a business capacity.

She’s pretty good at leading the band live. She has a pretty awesome stage presence. And she moves and thrashes around and headbangs a lot. They were pretty good live with Angela Gossow and there’s no way you can come out of a show without remembering it fondly years later. We all sincerely hope she inspires a lot more women to follow in her footsteps.

Angela Gossow 2009 metalchicksrule.com

Besides her work with Arch Enemy, Angela Gossow also voiced Lavona Succuboso on the show Metalocalypse.


Photo credits:
Alexandre Cardoso in Brazil, licensed CC 2.0
Roman Horník ml at Masters of Rock 2009 in Vizovice, licensed CC 3.0

Lita Ford

Let’s go back to the 1980s. We all know Lita Ford, vocalist and guitarist. Long blonde hair. BC Rich guitars. Lita Ford rocked!

Lita Ford metalchicksrule.com

We can go back all the way to the 1970s with The Runaways. Lita Ford joined the band at the age of 16 and co-wrote some rocking tunes. Unfortunately, a conflict of direction emerged between Joan Jett, who wanted the band to be more punk, and Lita Ford and Sandy West, who wanted the band to be more hard rock. So they split up in 1979.

Lita Ford’s solo career

Which is a good thing, because Lita Ford had a pretty good solo career that got a lot of chicks in the 80s into Metal. She released an album in 1983 and one in 1984, but the one that really stands out is the one that had “Kiss Me Deadly” and “Close My Eyes Forever” on it. That was released in 1988 and simply called Lita. And that album rocked.

Lita, the 1988 album, went on to reach Platinum status. As some of our staff are geezers, they remember the hits from that album and how big they were. Everyone knew Lita Ford. Everyone. If anyone asked “who is the #1 chick in Metal?,” everyone would say Lita Ford.

Lita Ford was the precursor of something we see commonly today – a woman who can both belt out vocals and play a mean guitar at the same time. She played lead guitars pretty well. We all remember seeing her with her familiar BC Rich guitars.

So we all owe her gratitude. Thank you for paving the way. We all owe you.

For the younger folks who haven’t heard her music, we’ll leave a video. This one is a duet with Ozzy Osbourne from the 1988 album Lita. As mentioned above, this album went Platinum. Any teenager who was cool back then loved this song.


Photo credit – Zoran Veselinovic. Licensed CC 2.0

Cristina Scabbia

We’ve seen Lacuna Coil open up for Type O Negative years ago. We eventually moved up about ten or fifteen feet from Cristina Scabbia and all of us agree on two things:
1. Pictures don’t do her justice. She’s even more beautiful in real life.
2. Cristina Scabbia can sing.

We do disagree on something though. Several of us here at Metal Chicks Rule think that she should be the only singer of the band and one of us thinks they’re better off with two. But nonetheless, we all agree that she’s both beautiful in real life and can really, really, really sing.

Cristina Scabbia Lacuna Coil for metalchicksrule.com

Live, she’s so amazing. She totally thrashes and head-bangs on stage. She lets loose and doesn’t hold back. She’s so into the music. If you get the chance to see Lacuna Coil live, whether you like their music or not, Cristina Scabbia alone is worth the price of admission.

Cristina Scabbia from Lacuna Coil metalchicksrule.com

Two of us here first heard them all the way back from their EP. The very first song we heard from them was “Falling.” In this song, Andrea doesn’t do any of the vocals. It’s just Cristina. It’s a slow song with not that much instrumentation. But it works.

After hearing that song, I went out and bought the EP even though I think it was an import. I liked it, but didn’t love the whole EP. But everyone here loved the song “Falling.”

Lacuna Coil's female vocalist - Cristina Scabbia.  metalchicksrule.com

Since then, they’ve released seven full-length CDs and one EP. And she’s also done vocal work for Apocalyptica, and she’s awesome for them.

For Lacuna Coil, she’s a pretty amazing singer. Not everyone will like their style though. They have two vocalists – a guy named Andrea Ferro and of course her. They’re from Milan, Italy.

Their music has always been Metal, but recently, it’s gotten a little bit heavier than their older stuff. I think it was “Heaven’s a Lie” where a lot of people from the States started noticing them.


Photo credits – in order of appearance: Joey O’Rourke, licensed CC 2.0; Thargol, licensed CC 1.0; Dylan Madeley, licensed CC 2.0

Simone Simons

After writing about Nightwish’s first two singers, Simone Simons of Epica immediately came to mind. Simone Simons admitted to becoming a Metal vocalist after listening to Tarja Turunen. See, we told you Tarja Turunen was influential.

Simone Simons of Epica

Simone Simons of Epica for metalchicksrule.com

Born in January 15, 1985 in the Netherlands, Simone Simons started singing in her early teens. It was after listening to Nightwish though that she decided to sing Metal. By her late teens, she joined the Symphonic Metal band Epica.

We first heard of Epica after their 2007 album, the Divine Conspiracy. It’s a pretty epic album, very long, and very bombastic. I know if you live in Europe, you probably think that was late for us to hear of Epica. But for the States, we’re a little bit behind when it comes to good music. A little bit? Try a lot.

Several of us didn’t even know about Nightwish until “Once.” That’s how bad it is out here. Shitty music is in.

Like when we saw Epica live, you wouldn’t believe how small the venues were. We wonder if they even make money doing American tours. They’re really good live. You have to see them. And Simone Simons is absolutely beautiful in real life. These pictures don’t do her justice.

Simone Simons for metalchicksrule.com

Yeah, the downside of living in the States is that these bands don’t tour here that often. It is nice though to see them in small venues. We didn’t get to meet the band members, but know that some people did.

We are though starting to get some people listening to good music. Both of Epica’s latest albums, Requiem for the Indifferent, and The Quantum Enigma both charted on the American Billboard charts. They’re both really good albums.

We feel that there’s no way Epica would be where they are without Simone Simons. Whereas Tuomas was really the catalyst in Nightwish, Epica shares more writing and Simone Simons writes the majority of the lyrics. So she’s not just a beautiful singer with a beautiful voice. She’s also very smart as well.


Photo credits – Mushroom for the first picture. The second picture Rey Brujo. Both licensed under GNU licenses.

Tarja vs Anette

We all love Nightwish.  And this article might sound outdated today.  However, there are currently zero CDs out with Floor right now.  And we’ve seen both Tarja and Anette live, but we haven’t seen Floor live yet.  Well, maybe you have, but we missed the last tour.

So maybe in the near future, we’ll have a Tarja vs Anette vs Floor article. Right now though, it’s Tarja vs Anette.

Tarja vs Anette – Tarja first

Tarja Turunen metalchicksrule.com tarja vs anette

Tarja Turunen was the original singer for Nightwish. She’s an operatic Mezzo-Soprano, who pretty much set the stage for how singers for what would become Symphonic Metal would sound. She influenced pretty much everyone.

Strengths – her voice is unique. It is strong. And she is charismatic. People loved her. She was fun to see live with Nightwish.

Weaknesses – depends who you believe. The other members of Nightwish fired her in an open letter for being a diva. She defended herself by saying that they needed to communicate better and it wasn’t her fault. She doesn’t move much on stage, but that’s not such a bad thing because she’s more like an Opera singer. Their movements are more their expressions on their faces and what they do with their hands and arms. We thought it worked live.

Overall – Nightwish’s best album was Once. That was with Tarja singing. It’s a shame that people just can’t get along. But we’re hoping Floor turns out to be awesome as well.

Tarja vs Anette – Anette next

Anette Olson metalchicksrule.com tarja vs anette

Anette Olson replaced Tarja for two albums and was fired mid-tour. We didn’t expect it to happen. It was a shock to us.

Anette was a singer in a cover band and landed the job because she was very persistent with the members of Nightwish that she wanted the gig. She’s actually a pop singer, not an opera singer. At first, we thought it was weird. Then we thought that the reason they picked a pop singer is to go a different direction.

She only lasted two albums though. Although Dark Passion Play was good, it’s far from Once. We’d like to forget the next album even happened.

Strengths – Anette is great on stage. She has an awesome presence. She moves well, and dances well, and is great at leading the crowd. Her voice is good for what it is. And there’s something about her, after seeing her live, you just have to like her.

Weaknesses – it’s a mismatch though. We are still baffled at why the guys picked a pop singer to replace Tarja. Nothing against Anette. Apples and oranges. We thought it was more a bad choice by the band. She’d be great for most other forms of music. For Nightwish, she’s good enough, but not outstanding. Everyone was expecting to hear someone more like Tarja.


Photo credits – Tarja by Rey Brujo. Anette by David Orlović. Both pictures licensed CC 3.0.