Customer Review

2 of 3 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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