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Everything you have imagin(a)ed and possibly more...,
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.