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4.5 out of 5 stars137
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 5 December 2015
An absolutely wonderful collection of music that is - in my opinion - the best so far from Nightwish, (although I still have their very latest album to listen to).
A great mixture of poignantly melodic, hard rock, and an excellent combination in between. If you only ever get a chance to listen to one compilation from Nightwish, for goodness sake, make it this one.
A sign of even better things to come?
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on 13 January 2012
This is not ordinary Nightwish for sure. But I think it has never intended to be. Truely some songs are quite supprising. At first listening they might sound bizzare. I was thinking the same first time when I was listening to it. After several times however, the album became different. I started finding quite something in each and every song. I listened to it more and more and it became better and better. Now I can say it is really a masterpiece, different, but still a masterpiece. So my suggestion, give it a chance, listen to it several times and you won't regret.
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on 17 July 2013
In my youth, I was quite a head banger, but then sort of lost interest in it all. As metal splintered into its various factions through the 1990s and into the 2000s, I thought felt that it'd lost its way, plus I moved on with my life... Death metal anyone? Gone was the sheer musical "quality" I used to really enjoy - nothing will ever top Catch The Rainbow by Rainbow. Then last week, I was looking for something on You Tube and came across this Nightwish outfit. Absolutely blew me away. Not only that, I now find that's there's loads of other bands like this. After Forever. Epica. Within Temptation...

I've got a lot of catching up to do, but I cannot tell you how happy I am right now...
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on 7 March 2013
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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on 12 January 2012
There will be arguements galore over this one! At least it makes a change to the Annette/Tarja saga!

Nightwish have always tried to do something a little different with each album, as time, money and Record Companies allowed. This album is no different, and as such, it is either going to loved or hated. If you are a Nightwish fan, then we (should) have all known that is was going to be produced alongside the film of the same name, so a "soundtrack" album of sorts was always a destinct possibility.

Personally, I find it is not as "instant" as previous albums BUT, after a few spins, the feel and vibe of it does start to sink in. This has obviously been written to suit Annette's voice, which sometimes wasn't the case with Dark Passion Play. The upshot of this is a slightly darker sounding album, but you can't get away from the fact that it is very experimental in places. Other reviews deal with the album track by track, so I won't bother here but, it does need to be listened to, preferably several times, and all the way through to "get it"!

Throughout history you will find that if you try to do something a little different or groundbreaking, you quite often have to put up with a torrent of abuse and/or bad press. Nightwish will be used to that, and I take my hat off to them for not resting on their laurels and fobbing us off by making Once or DPP again. Genius or utter rubbish? Well, it's definitive Nightwish but, it all depends on how open minded you are to something a bit "off the wall". If you are unsure, there are plenty of places where you can listen to the full tracks before you buy.

It IS a very brave album and you may just find that, after a while you will find that you have to bang it on the CD player once more, sit back and just immerse yourself in the extraordinary brilliance and vision of Tuomas and Nightwish!
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on 28 December 2011
And here I thought that the group couldn't top "Once", especially after the departure of Tarja. How wrong I was. This new opus needs to be listened several times to be appreciated. First, one must understand that this is a concept-album centered around a story, with apparently a forthcoming movie in 2012. In any case, no need to wait for such movie but it is clear that you get such a soundtrack feeling, although the metal-symphony is still there and even more developped since "Once". The album contains 13 tracks and is 1h15 long (!).
1) Taikatavi - an intro sung in Finnish by Marco with a soft melody with a flute and backed up by violins and chorus. Soft but still full of menace.
2) Storytime - probably my favorite piece. Guitar, piano and Anette's voice makes this a sure hit.
3) Ghost River - Starts like classic Nightwish piece with guitar/keyboard intro but the song is full of surprises with a duo Marco/Annette and children chorus. We are indeed on the ghost river!
4) Slow, Love, Slow - And now for something competely different...a fantastic track (my second favourite), you can imagine yourself in a smokey jazz club. Again a winning song
5) I want my tears back - Back to a rytmic Nightwish track with clear celtic influences.
6) Scaretale - Kind of a follow up to Ghost River, in this track you imagine yourself in a Tim Burton movie, music by Dany Elfman (think Beetlejuice)
7) Arabesque - No singing on this mostly symphonic piece. Nice bridge to the next track
8) Turn Loose the Mermaids - Once again a song full of celtic influences
9) Rest Calm - Another favourite (although I only realised how much I liked it after listening to it a few times). Heavier song which puts into contrast Annette softer voice and Marco's angrier part, again with children chorus.
10) The Crow, The Owl and The Dove - A ballad to start with (but still with a nice rythm), followed by electric guitars and orchestra. A more mainstream track.
11) Last Ride of the Day - Back to classic Nightwish, again with a celtic touch. Reminds me of earlier albums, such as Wishmaster.
12) Song of Myself - A mammoth track (over 13 mins!) split in 4 (From a Dusty Bookshelf, All that Great Heart Lying Still, Piano Black and Love). This song will obviously draw comparison with "Ghost Love Score", although probably less epic, it is nonetheless as ambitious. The track ends with a poem over a soft musical background.
13) Imaginaerum - Orchestral score combining the main themes of the previous tracks (in particular Storytime and Scaretale) and a nice ending to this album.
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on 11 July 2012
First of all let me say that I think Imaginaerium is a fantastic album. It is very strong, full of excellent melodies and the musicianship is flawless. It is Nightwish at their best. Powerful, imaginative and inspirational.

However the real reason I wanted to write a review is that I want to settle the difference between Tarja based Nightwish and Anette based Nightwish. Tarja had a beautiful voice. There is no doubt about it. She has a classical beautiful voice which complemented the Gothic Metal music perfectly. Anette is a different creature all together. Her voice is not classically beautiful in my opinion.

Anettes voice is coarser than Tarjas. However what Anettes voice lacks in classical beauty it makes up in character. Her voice has great personality and strength. To give an analogy; it is like Tarjas voice is a classy beautiful woman, whereas Anettes voice is a fiesty wench....hehehe. When Nightwish switched from Tarja to Anette they lost the classically beautiful edge to their Gothic Metal, but they gained something unusual in Gothic Metal - a romantic and fiery character.

Most female Gothic Metal vocals border on the classical beauty - which complements the coarse music. But Anettes vocals swing away from classical beauty and enter the realm of romantic character and personal touch. Her voice has a charisma and charm all of its own. Which do I prefer? I almost prefer Anettes voice to be honest. I have always loved music which has a distinctive personality all of its own, which is what I believe Anette gives to Nightwish.

I'm not saying Tarjas voice has no personality and is cold. But the shift in emphasis between beauty (Tarja) to personality (Anette) is evident in my opinion.
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on 13 December 2011
After much anticipation, Imaginaerum, the new album by my favourite band Nightwish, is finally in my possession. It has been a long wait (4 years since the brilliant Dark Passion Play) but it was worth it for this is truly a remarkable album. What pure joy I felt as I slipped the CD into the player before the journey of the imagination began. Each song leads onto the next with great ease, and the usual Nightwish sound remains. But there are so many other great elements all rolling and blending together making it probably their most epic album to date. But then I remember feeling the same when I first heard the Century Child and Once albums. In fact, almost all Nightwish songs leave me in awe and light a fire in my soul.

Here are my thoughts on each track (without ratings, because I don't really agree with ratings. You either like something or you don't.)

1. Taikatalvi
This short intro track starts off with a music box playing gently, leading into a fine lullaby-style vocal by Marco Hietala which is sung in Finnish. A simple but beautiful melody, with a fairytale winter wonderland feel, preparing us for the roller coaster ride ahead.

2. Storytime
This is the first single from the album and when I first heard this a few weeks ago I was simply blown away by its sheer power and energy. It put me in a good mood and I couldn't wait for the album. Love the choir melody and can't stop myself singing along. Very catchy and symphonic, what Nightwish does best.

3. Ghost River
Great guitar intro by Emppu Vuorinen. Nice vocals from both Marco and Anette Olzon, with the hauntingly beautiful voices of the children's choir in the background from the middle onwards. Great orchestral arrangements accompanying the guitars.

4. Slow, Love, Slow
Jazz isn't really my thing so I thought I wouldn't like this one, but to my surprise I like it a lot. Anette's vocal here is great, and proves that she can be a really versatile vocalist. This also shows Tuomas' amazing talent as a composer of various musical styles. I think I'm going to have fun singing along to this one.

5. I Want My Tears Back
I think this is my fave track (though it's very hard to decide at the moment). I love the Celtic parts a lot, and the sweet high vocal from Anette in the verse sounds great, complimenting the heavier parts with Marco. The Celtic instrumental break reminds me of Riverdance and made me start dancing around the living room as soon as I heard it. My 7 month old kitten Athena stared at me as if I'd gone mad. Great playing from both Troy Donockley and Emppu.

6. Scaretale
I love this scary, freaky song! Childhood nightmares abound here and I can hear many influences merging to create lots of creepy fun. It starts with children singing the sinister nursery rhyme "Ring a Ring o' Roses", setting the scene for the scary ride ahead. Then comes in a great heavy riff, followed by Anette with a witchy-sounding voice, which is a nice surprise and very theatrical. She is very good here, probably one of her best vocal performances. I also love the twisted circus feel in the middle with Marco, which reminds me of the The Who's rock musical Tommy (the holiday camp scene with Keith Moon for those that have seen it). There is also a 70s musical vibe going on in the choir and orchestral arrangements. The amazing thing is how it all blends together so well to create yet another epic Nightwish track.

7. Arabesque
Majestic instrumental track with a middle eastern influence. Conjures up movie images of desert sands, camels, harem girls, etc. Nice piece of music.

8. Turn Loose The Mermaids
I love this so much. The beautiful melody caught me at once, and Anette's angelic vocal suits it very well. An atmospheric medieval-style folk song which at first conjures up images of serene forests, fairy tale lakes and meadows, but soon throws in some nice surprises with an Ennio Morricone type instrumental break, spaghetti western style, as if Clint Eastwood just rode onto the scene. But it works. It really does, plus I really like Anette's lower range here.

9. Rest Calm
Such a catchy chorus that stayed in my mind for hours. Once again, I love the children's choir as it conveys the beauty of innocence. Plus it sits well with the heavy pounding Nightwish riffs which fans are familiar with.

10. The Crow, The Owl and The Dove
A nice, catchy rock ballad with a beautiful calming melody. One that I can't stop singing along to already. Nice vocal work from both Anette and Marco.

11. The Last Ride of The Day
Roller coaster rock! This is another one with a catchy chorus that I can't get out of my head. It's so energetic, heavy guitars and drums pounding along with gorgeous symphonic choir voices in background and a guitar solo from Emppu.

12. Song of Myself
This is wonderful. Divided into four parts: "From The Dusty Bookshelf", "All That Great Heart Lying Still", "Piano Black" and "Love", it is, at almost 14 mins long, the longest track on the album. It includes amazing orchestral music and several minutes of a heartfelt poem at the end, recited by people close to Tuomas I believe. After a few listens this one really drew me in deeply, and as a poetry lover, I thought the poem was great.

13. Imaginaerum
Time to roll the credits. This is what will no doubt be used for the end credits of the Imaginaerum movie, which will be released next year. This orchestral score features a medley of songs from the Imaginaerum album.

This album is absolutely brilliant, and once again, like other Nightwish albums that have gone before, gave me shivers as soon as I heard it. It is clearly a majestic masterpiece and will be the soundtrack of my winter and probably most of 2012. I will no doubt play the instrumental CD (which came with the Limited Edition Double Digi-Book version), non-stop as I write my next novel. To me, the reason Nightwish are my favourite band is because all my influences, all my musical tastes, are so easily and brilliantly combined. It's the kind of music I wish I could write, had I been blessed with Tuomas Holopainen's talent.

Thank you Nightwish for another amazing album which will inspire me to no end and make my days a little better.
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on 2 January 2012
This is the long anticipated new cd from Nightwish and I'm sure I wasn't alone in wondering of Thomas and Co. could come up with the goods again. I have now listened to this three times and am now listening to it again as I write this and I am stuck of words. In my humble opinion it's a work of pure genius. Whilst it is pure Nightwish they have set the bar even highter. I was blown away with DPP and still get the shivers when I listen to it. This cd however goes from one style to another, there's a real dreamy jazz/blues interludes on 'Slow, Love, Slow' then swings straight to pure Nightwish in 'I want my tears back'. Then on to pure circus in Scaretale, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!!
I saw them on the DPP tour and now I'm gonna have to dust the passport down and get over the waters to watch them again. One thing that is really pleasing is that Marco gets some serious air time with his brilliant vocals. Anette's voice has come on leaps and bounds and her performance is brilliant.
All in all this is for me the best thing Nightwish have ever done. This will be occupying the Ipod and cd player for a long time to come.
One tip though, don't just dip in and listen to the odd track. If you want it try and listen to it all the way though, it's the only way to get what Thomas was trying to and succeding to achieve. Easily 5 stars.
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on 8 December 2011
As I listened to this album I cried. I cried tears of joy. This album sings to me of a time long ago as a child when imagination ruled the day. The lyrics to the songs spoke to me again of the magic I once knew. This album is so magical and beautiful. This album is me.

I have been a Nightwish fan for many years since the days of Tarja. It is different from past albums I suppose it is more of a concept album. Annette's magnificent voice is just one part of symphony of excellent orchestral and metal music also complimented by the powerful vocals of Marco. Upon writing the music and lyrics Tuomas has excelled himself. What a beautiful creative mind he has. He is the Imaginaerum!

Anyone who doesn't give this album 5 stars just doesn't understand the concept of this album. This album is just simply exquisite!

NIGHTWISH you have outdone yourself. Well worth the wait. BRAVO!
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