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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful
Imaginaerum is quite simply one hell of an album, to the extent that I feel sure that in future years it will become an essential album for all those who claim to be fans of Symphonic Metal. Nightwish's seventh album, it is by far the most progressive of the lot, featuring everything from a full orchestra to folk instruments to even a mechanical music box in its wild and...
Published 13 months ago by William Axtell

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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Imagine Its a Decent Album...
Nightwish is my favourite band and had not done an album that I didnt rate very highly. Although I was initially attracted to the band by their use of Tarjas fantastic Operatic voice, the last album, Dark Passion Play, was such a triumph that any doubts about having a Rock/Pop vocalist were removed. So for me, this release was looked forward to with intense anticipation,...
Published on 8 Dec 2011 by A. P. Fergusson


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful, 7 Mar 2013
This review is from: Imaginaerum (Audio CD)
Imaginaerum is quite simply one hell of an album, to the extent that I feel sure that in future years it will become an essential album for all those who claim to be fans of Symphonic Metal. Nightwish's seventh album, it is by far the most progressive of the lot, featuring everything from a full orchestra to folk instruments to even a mechanical music box in its wild and powerful pursuit of something deep and beautiful. Annete Olzen's voice is perfect for this endeavor, powerful and well-controlled but with a touch of girlishness which adds just the right nuance to a lot of the songs. The album seems to be about stories and how they can take us to fantastic worlds, stimulate the inner child in us by provoking a sense of wonder and how they can help us cope with the many evils of the world. Bitterness, innocence and the loss thereof and beauty all loom large in the lyrics and are traditional Nightwish themes but are here taken to dizzying new heights. I think that this theme of the difficult juxtoposition of the ugly and the fantastic are shown in the album artwork, which has a beautiful moonlight night enveloping a stange and deserted-looking 19th century fair of wrough iron, and inside the band are all dressed a clowns and circus performers, fascinating and strange but with more than a little hint of sinister about them. O.K. I'll now take a look at the album track by track.

1. Taikatalvi is the intro, a beautiful intro which starts with the music box playing and features a mournful, yearning flute alongside male vocals, tipping you straight into the world of magic presented. Also, the lyrics are all in Finnish which adds another lovelly touch to the piece. 10/10
2. Storytime. Rushing, grunting, thumping, all excellent words to describe this little metal masterpiece. Words simply fail me as I listen to this amazing song, so sweeping, so epic and with Anette on full blast as she sings Holopainen's beautiful lyrics, with such phrases as "snowflake on his heart". 10/10
3. Ghost River. A real crucher of a song with Anette and Marco winding around one another is a song even wilder than the last. Turbulent hardly covers it! 9/10
4. Slow, Love, Slow, is a real, slow, jazzy-clubby number which, crawls and suduces the listener and finishes on the most mournful trumpet solo. 9/10
5. I Want My Tears Back Now is a belter which has Marco's fine voice in action again, going against some wonderful, straining Uilleann pipes which even have their own solo. Oh, this is wonderful and it is impossible not to be whipped up into a frenzy! 10/10
6. Scaretale. This is like the Grimm's fairytale song, dark and full of traditional imagery of horror but in a child-like manner, the dancing skeletons, the witches flying over farmsteads. Oh, and the violins and brass are so dramatic in this song. 9/10
7. Arabesque. Apparently only needed for the Imaginaerum movie, this would explain the lack of lyrics or real structure. Yet, it is awesome, and instantly in your mind you see a Middle Eastern market heavy with spices and entertainers and the exotic! 9/10
8. Turn Loose the Mermaids is pure beauty. Slow but not meandering due to the strength of emotion simmering under the surface, it is a very moving song which strangely but brilliantly has a old-school Western-style bridge, brassy and Mexican in sound, like when the good sheriff rides off into the sunset. 10/10
9. Rest Calm. Trying to catch a similar sentiment as the previous song but for me not doing so well, being much gruntier with the guitars and having a heavy and repeating fading outro. 8/10
10. The Crow, The Owl and The Dove. Another thoughtful song, and quite Country sounding, but none the less beautiful and with some lovelly flute riffing. 8/10
11. Last Ride of the Day is a great sweeping rush of a song with a chorus that just keeps on going so high you think that it'll never come down. A great and dramatic choir intro kick off this song and, by symphonic standard, a wild solo blasts off in the middle. Brilliant. 10/10
12. The Song of Myself really is a peom about Holopainen, himself and his music. A pumping, rushing and dramatic opening gradually, over the enourmous length of the song, slows and slows until it is just a poem, a poem of yearning, of the oft creulty and lonely foulness of existence, and of the warmth and hope which stories can bring and help shield the mind from depression and hopelessness, which anybody who knows anything about Nightwish will know Holopainen has been through a lot of. 9/10
13. Imaginaerum. Apparently designed to potentially run over the credits of the film, this is like an orchestral mash-up of the entire album, taking strains and themes from many of the songs and putting them together to fell like a great and rushing journey, and to round off the album and encourage one to feel as though one has just been through the most increadible musical experience. 9/10
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39 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Verging on perfection., 5 Dec 2011
By 
R. W. Dursley (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Imaginaerum (Audio CD)
As a long time Nightwish fan, I've long been of the opinion that their second and third albums (Oceanborn and Wishmaster), were their finest work. While I enjoyed all of their subsequent releases, none have ever compared to these two fantastic albums. Until now, that is!
This ambitious and incredible album has, in my opinion, outdone all of their previous works. Its scale and scope is incredible. No two songs sound alike and yet all work together to become their most ambitious, yet solid album to date.

Annette, who I was left somewhat unsure of following Dark Passion Play, has well and truly hit her mark here. Her vocal style and range is exactly what this album needed and it's clear that unlike Dark Passion Play, this album was written with her vocal style in mind.
She sounds confident and comfortable in her role here, and complements each song perfectly.
This is a fabulously broad, ambitious and epic album by one of the greatest writers of all time. I cannot recommend this album enough.

Welcome back Nightwish, you have been missed!
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46 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything you have imagin(a)ed and possibly more..., 5 Dec 2011
This review is from: Imaginaerum (Audio CD)
Imaginaerum is the highly anticipated seventh studio album from Nightwish and the second with singer Anette Olzon. So four years have passed since Dark Passion Play and of particular interest is the fact that this time the band returns with an album and a movie which will be released in 2012. The movie is based on the album and not the other way around. It sounds ambitious, doesn't it? But let's move on to the music part.

A first thing that can be noted is that this is definitely their most diverse effort to date. It feels like Tuomas tries to combine all his influences and link them in the best possible way. And without a doubt, he succeeds! Also, Anette sounds more confident and shows a lot of diversity herself. Of course every member is perfect in their role. No need to mention that, once again, the band works with the famous London Philharmonic Orchestra and the choir group Metro Voices. Both arranged and directed by Pip Williams, give the great extra element and lead to impressive results.

Nightwish never really had an intro in previous albums but the first song is exactly that. Completely sang by Marco in Finnish, `Taikatalvi' is a beautiful acoustic song which serves as a very good introduction to the journey that follows.

`Storytime' which follows is the first single of the album and this is an obvious choice. It is very uplifting, with a very catchy melody and chorus. However, it also includes a full orchestra and the symphonic element is not missing. A very good song indeed.

`Ghost river', is a very heavy and rhythmic song. It offers an intriguing duet between Anette and a powerful and darker Marco. The children's choir in the end blends perfectly and adds to the whole atmosphere.

`Slow, love, slow' is a very surprising song with a lounge-bar jazz feeling. It is different for Nightwish but has a unique atmosphere and builds up nicely allowing Anette to perform really well.

`I want my tears back' is a great song that will be stuck in your head. It is uplifting, with folk/Celtic influences (e.g., `Last of the wilds') and a fantastic duet between Marco and Anette. The Celtic pipe melodies are also fantastic. By the way, I liked her approach in the first verses: more towards an angelic Sharon den Adel type of vocals. And Marco is always the familiar loveable Marco!

`Scaretale' is a rollercoaster! The sound is very cinematic and blends the classic symphonic sound of Nightwish with a circus/rollercoaster atmosphere. Heavy riffing and a few crazy surprises are included.

`Arabesque' is a remarkable instrumental piece with Middle Eastern influences. This is a very soundtrack-like song, with the orchestra leading the way and blending perfectly with the choir and huge percussion parts.

`Turn loose the mermaids' is an amazing and beautiful acoustic (Celtic influenced) ballad. In this inspirational song Anette really shines. The violin solo in the end is also astonishing!

`Rest calm' is a mid-tempo, very heavy and atmospheric song. Once again there is great orchestration, choir and...Marco! Anette sounds very good also. The heavy couplet/soft refrain structure works well. I got hooked to the ending as well!

`The Crow, the Owl, and the Dove' is another beautiful ballad (written mainly by Marco) with great melody and one of the most successful duets between Marco and Anette.

And now let's talk about `Last ride of the day'...Wow! This is Nightwish in 4:32 min! One word: Epic! This is one of my favourites so far. Huge choirs, orchestra, heavy guitars and an amazing and uplifting chorus (Gary Moore's `Over the hills and far away' style). Both singers excel in this one!

And after this excitement, there is the `big' song of the album: The 13:37 min epic called `Song of Myself' inspired by the poet Walt Whitman. What can I say? An epic, symphonic and heavy masterpiece! Massive orchestra and choirs blend with very heavy guitars and double bass drums. Anette sounds great and very confident in this one. The band overall sounds very tight in this great song. The song concludes with about 6 minutes of spoken words (a heartfelt poem written by Tuomas) from various actors I guess. Sweet piano and a poignant atmosphere...

The album closes with `Imaginaerum' which is purely an orchestral piece comprised of parts from all songs.

There is no doubt that Nightwish is one of the best bands of our time and in this new era of their history they managed to maintain the old quality and produce another masterpiece. Thank you Mr Holopainen (&co). You are truly one of a kind!

P.S. The double digipack edition includes the instrumental versions of all songs and a poster.
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute belter of an album, 13 Jan 2012
This review is from: Imaginaerum (Audio CD)
During the long build-up to the release of this album, where fans were kept savvy by studio reports from the band and the occasional YouTube upload, I admit that a small part of me was unsure whether Nightwish were going to be able to make an album that would top (or at least match) predecessor Dark Passion Play, and where Anette Olzon would be able to pull off another amazing vocal performance that would hopefully help to lay the ever-present and nagging comparisons to sacked ex-vocalist Tarja Turunen to rest. But I had every confidence in Tuomas Holopainen's songwriting and imagination, in Anette's brilliance as a vocalist and frontwoman, and in the incredible musicianship and chemistry of the band in general to believe that the group were about to release another defining metal album.

I got the album, listened to it, and knew I was right.

This album is a record that delivers one great track after another, where there isn't a single dud on the whole album, and you can't ask for more than that. Whether it be the awe-inspiring and multi-faceted ideas that Tuomas pours into every album, the perfect dual vocal harmonies of Anette and bassist Marco Hietala, the slick guitar work of Emppu Vuorinen or the romantic wail of guest musician Troy Donockley's uilleann pipes, every song on here has something great and exciting to offer, regardless of whether it is soft or loud. The album also fits together very well on the whole, proof again that the band managed to think this record out without losing sight of its overall purpose.

To list the standout tracks from the album would be to list at least half the album, but a couple of my personal favourites are "Turn Loose The Mermaids", "Ghost River" and, above all, the pagan dancefest that is "I Want My Tears Back". "Mermaids" is a pleasant little number that slowly rises to a climax that will ideally have the listener's heart soaring to Anette's passionate vocals. "Ghost River" sounds like it would fit perfectly as the theme to a white-water ride at an adventure theme park (again echoing an underlying theme of the whole album), and from the first lick of Emppu's driving riff, you know you're in for an awesome ride. As for "I Want My Tears Back", just be blown away by the combination of Donockley's pipes and a metal rhythm section that of course enhances them rather than holding them back, and during the fast-paced mid-section, just get up and dance!

I loved this album when I heard it, and a month or two on still listen to bits and pieces from it nearly every day. Undoubtedly one of the top metal releases of 2011, I hope this album will encourage any older Nightwish fans to let go of Tarja Turunen and give Anette Olzon a chance. For all her unique vocal talent and stage persona, Tarja was a disrespectful band member. Hence the band's decision to continue without her. Tuomas has claimed that Anette brought a much-needed air of optimism and good humour to Nightwish, and I would agree with him on that one. She works better as a band member than Tarja did towards the end, and as a frontwoman is a lot more "bohemian" than Tarja was, who in 2004-5 just became too assured of her own apparent irreplaceability. Listen to Imaginaerum with an open mind, then have another listen to Dark Passion Play as well. Hopefully you'll realise that this is Anette's era now. You can have respect for Nightwish's past, but you need not live in it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magical journey!, 7 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Imaginaerum (Audio CD)
When I heard this album for the first time, it was a bit of a let down. More mellow, a bit too long at times and not so accessible. In fact, my favourite song in the beginning was - I want my tears back. But alas, as great as it was, the main riff reminded too much of Iron Maiden's Dance of Death.

Then something magical happened... I began to thoroughly and fully enjoy the magic and theatrical vistas of Last ride of the day, Rest calm, Arabesque, The Crow, Storytime, Song of myself and others. The chorus of the Last ride of the day is so powerful, sometimes my eyes are full of tears... I feel like a child, flying on a roller-coaster in a fantasy world, enjoying every second of the ride.

Then the WHOLE album settled as a one piece! Nightwish never produced anything like this. Theatrical brilliance.

I discover something new every time. Slow, love, slow, was a very strange tune for NW, but sounded promising. Mellow and jazzy. A lounge in a fantasy world - or - in an Enterprise or Voyager. My imagination runs wild there... It's raining outside... or we are cruising somewhere deep in the space. Anette is singing beautifully here in a cozy and warm environment. We are drinking hot teas with apple and cinnamon. And oh *that* lonely trumpet at the end of the song! Masterpiece. It's now one of my favourite songs of NW.

Good music produce emotions you can visualize and feel. The only other Nightwish album that gave me the same burst of emotions from start to finish was Once. Once was a masterpiece, the pinnacle of their career and I thought no way anything else could even touch it.
Luckily and totally unexpected - I was proved SO wrong. This album is on the same height as Once, yet totally different level. They managed not to repeat themselves after everything they have been through! Wow!

When Imaginaerum song begins, I already miss the entire album. I'm reminded of the beautiful journey I just had. Time to start Taikatalvi again!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great Nightwish album, 3 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Imaginaerum (Audio CD)
I love this album,having discovered Nightwish late via Youtube I have no issues about their different singers.Annette is excellent on this opus as is the whole band,if you like symphonic rock you will love this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best yet, 12 Oct 2013
By 
mc jones "mc jones" (devon) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Imaginaerum (Audio CD)
as a 54 year old metal nut I love this album, it has to be close to being worn out now, its in the car and played a lot. if your a fan - go buy it
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pure Nightwish, 1 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Imaginaerum (Audio CD)
A very powerful album, bearing the characteristic sound of Nightwish. It is a "must" for the fans of the band and of the genre.

Tip: combine it with the movie.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff!, 19 Aug 2013
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I'm not going to give a track listing or evaluate every track, fans of the band will already know all about this album. For those who don't - If you enjoy quality, theater visits, orchestral sound tracks, and above all powerful rock then you ought to give this a spin.
I saw Nightwish at the Download festival in 2012 and was very impressed. They had great presence on stage and their show far outshone some of the offerings on the main stage. On the strength of this I bought tickets to see them in Brixton last November - Brilliant! I am now a solid fan!
This set is very well presented and if you are a fan already is well worth paying a few extra pounds for. 3 discs, the album, the orchestral version and a DVD which contained some interesting stuff including some clips from the Imaginaerium film.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I know what you must be thinking: "Not Another 5-Star Review?!" Yes, well, but...!, 6 Dec 2011
By 
Michael Smith ""SAY HELLO TO GOOD TIMES"" (Norfolk, UK, in a little village named Crimplesham...) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Imaginaerum (Audio CD)
Something dawned on me recently: Nightwish's "Dark Passion Play" is one of My. Favourite. Albums. Ever.

I never really thought about it, but I regularly play certain songs, often on repeat (particularly "The Poet And The Pendulum", possibly my favourite Nightwish song of all time), and of late, its rate of play has increased: the weeks leading up to "Imaginaerum"'s release, I have been playing it non-stop!

Why?

Great song-writing. Not that I dismiss Tarja-era Nightwish, but for me, Tuomos Holopainen wrote his best music to date on this particular album! First listen in 2007, I wasn't sure. The umteemph listen in 2011, I'm a dedicated follower!

To say I became mega excited for this new album is an understatement!

Lacuna Coil is very likely my favourite band of all time. But their new album, which is set for release in January, hasn't as yet got me excited. This did, in a way I haven't felt about a new release for years!

Was it worth it?

Well, first time I listened, I was enthralled, and entertained, but slightly overwhelmed.

"Storytime", already my favourite single of 2011, is sublime. I knew I was gonna love this album because of this song. I also expected "Dark Passion Play Pt. II". Well, I didn't get it.

But what I did get instead is an absolutely bonkers masterpiece! Right now, I am on my second full listen. So for this reason I cannot claim to completely love every moment of it, but I will say this: its going to be a grower.

"Dark Passion Play" took me four years to become such a big favourite, and for this reason, I welcome a new challenge. Songs like "Ghost River", "I Want My Tears Back" and "Scaretale" offer me just that! First listen, I felt these tracks were a bit too unhinged. After months of listening to pretty much nothing else but Bruce Springsteen and Jimmy Eat World, I felt these were a little to much for me to take in!

So I played these tracks again separately. They grew on me. And I can pick out the bits I like, and can hear the other parts that I am sure will grow on me. "Scaretale" in particular. I was giggling the first time I heard it, but listening to the bonus disc Instrumental got me to sit up and pay attention: the music is fantastic!

The 13-minute "Song Of Myself" is that odd kinda song that I know I am going to end up loving completely. Its a novel idea, and the way the poetry is read aloud by various voices really makes me feel that a wonderful story is being read aloud! For some reason, it reminds me of the lengthy title track from The Doors 1969 classic "The Soft Parade".

"Arabesque" is an animatedly produced instrumental that I feel surpasses the previous albums attempt at middle-eastern sound textures, "Sahara". Its simply spellbinding!

"Slow, Love, Slow" is the much discussed, unexpected slow jazz number. It works because the atmosphere is sinister, whilst the songwriting is strong. Something about the way Annette Olzon sings these lyrics on this track sends shivers down my spine! A highlight.

Now I'm thinking about it, it is worth noting that her vocal performance on this album is stupendous! I grew to adore her voice on "Dark Passion Play", and can safely say I am in the minority: I prefer her voice to Sharon Den Adel's of Within Temptation. Aside from Anneke (The Gathering) and Cristina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil), she is without a doubt my favourite female singer in metal. Tarja, although a tremendous talent, somehow always leaves me cold (her wonderful vocals throughout "Century Child" and "Once" aside). I just love how Annete keeps the pace of the music afloat. Tarja combined with this songriting would have been simply too much. (Before I get bashed, I do really admire Tarja, her album "My Winter Storm" being one of the finest symphonic albums I have ever heard).

I want to comment here as well my admiration for Pip William's orchestration with the London Philharmonic Orchestra (the title-track is an instrumental beauty!), the beefier bass/guitars, the avante garde melodic arrangements, the awesome energy of the whole entire sound...but I can't. Not yet anyway. There is so much to say, and I simply cannot put it all down in writing. One day, maybe soon, I will.

So, I will end this review by saying that this album, at this point in time, is growing on me with every listen, in part or as a whole. I will also say that if you aren't entirely sure this album is for you, try downloading (legally, of course!) "Last Ride Of The Day". I feel that this is the most representative song of the album. If you like this, then I reckon "Imaginaerum" will be right up your street!

Sooo...First listen, 5 stars. Second listen, 5 stars. Why? Its just so wonderfully, endearingly madcap! Any album that features lyrics dealing with Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, and Mary Costa gets full marks from me!*

Right now, "Dark Passion Play" is my top choice for a Nightwish album, with "Century Child" some way behind. I reckon, and a future edit may be needed to confirm this, that "Imaginaerum" will top both of these completely in my mind. Listening to "The Crow, The Owl and The Dove" right now firmly convinces me of this fact!

------

*Mary Costa was the singer/actress who supplied the voice for Briar Rose/Aurora/Sleeping Beauty in Disney's 1959 animated gem "Sleeping Beauty". Her name is quoted at the end of "I Want My Tears Back". Tuomos Holopainen is a self-confessed Disney geek, and this one particular reference makes me love this album so much more! Now you have an interesting piece of trivia!
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