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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 26 January 2005
Once upon a time in 1997, a Finnish group called 'Nightwish' emerged into the industry and were a gem that stood out amongst the piles upon of piles of useless rubbish. However, although this was the first album I listened to, it is undeniable that this album lacks the greatness of their later releases.
The element that stood out for Nightwish was of course their female vocals, performed by Tarja Turunen. But what could possibly be so unique about this? Well, although it is hard to believe, her lyrics are sung in an interesting opera style, and although I will be the first to admit that I cringe at the thought of most opera music, this somehow works. It's hard to really describe how it works, but it just does, resulting in a unique and wonderful style that only Nightwish can portray.
However, this being their debut album, things are not up to the standard they are in the present. This is still a good album, but lacks that power and epicness that plagues the majority of their releases.
In fact, every album Nightwish has produced so far has been unique to each other, all of them have a particular style about them - but Angels Fall First might as well be classified as a different genre. It is probably well known, but the majority of people would classify Nightwish as 'power metal' - you know all those fancy keyboards and effects in addition to guitar. Well this appears rather sparsely in Angels Fall First, and instead heavily relies on Tarja's vocals and the consistently strong guitars. And in my humble opinion, I think that the guitars sound best in the earlier albums, above the heavier and somewhat non-melodic guitars found in the most recent albums. Basically then, Angels Fall First is more of an honest to God Metal album, with a hint of Power Metal coupled with female vocals.
As far as tracks are concerned, there are a few classics on here, but as far as I am considered on a whole it is a bit of a mixed bag. Anyway, starting off with the best, my personal favourite is Know Why The Nightingale Sings, if only for its instantly appealing riff. It is hard not to like this track, the guitar riff is excellent, lyrics are pretty good and that 2 minute guitar solo at the end just has to be heard, it's almost jolly and uplifting. Another high point is Astral Romance, a track that is well known by fans. It is certainly an enjoyable song to listen to, and has, I think, one of the best solos that they have done, again towards the end. Other worth listening to tracks are Elevenpath for its memorable tune, Beauty and the Beast because I like it and Tutankhamen for its intriguing tone and Egyptian (?) origins.
After this selection of tracks, minus The Carpenter which I don't really care for, are a series of Nightwish ballads. And I simply dislike them. Although Nightwish can and work at a slower pace, this album doesn't have the best selection of them. In my opinion. It's not that they are hateful or anything, in fact they are respectful pieces of music. But the majority of them seem to lack power, and come off as rather uninteresting to me after hearing what Nightwish can really do. Still, some slower songs do work very well, the best of which can be found in some of their more recent efforts.
To end the album, Angels Fall First concludes with a song that comes in 4 parts - the Lappi series. And they are all rather strange to listen to. Number 1 is an acoustic track sung in the Finnish language, number 2 is what I see as the build up to number 3, and it's an instrumental with not much going for it to be honest. Number 3 is the best; it actually has lyrics, guitar and drums but still remains a tad uninteresting. Number 4 is similar to number 1, a simple acoustic track, which is fine if you are into that sort of thing.
Overall, Angels Fall First is a decent debut album, introducing us into the world of Nightwish. Back then they were fairly unknown outside Finland, and didn't become as huge as they are now until their follow-up, Oceanborn which is a fantastic album. However, it is easy to tell that the production is a little shoddy, and it just doesn't grab you as much as their later releases. However, if you must own every album then this is essential, otherwise this shouldn't really be at the top of your list. Having said that, this would still be a good place to start if you are not familiar with the Nightwish universe, if only to see how they first started out - and then progressed to produce some of the best music for your ears.
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on 10 June 2008
Nightwish are a band that was formed in the year of 1996 whilst Tuomas was sitting around a camp fire with his friends. At the time the band consisted of Tuomas, Emppu and Tarja. At the time they were supposed to be an acoustic band but because of Tarja's strong voice this idea had to be altered and metal elements were brought in to create music that would not be over powered by her strong operatic voice. Tuomas at the time said it sounded weird and the music couldn't exist in the acoustic form. Because of these needed changes and the metal elements that needed to be added Nightwish needed a drummer, this is when Jukka joined the band and the acoustic guitars were mainly changed to electric. It is also worth noting that at this point the band didn't have a bassist therefore guitarist Emppu played all the Bass parts. `Thank god' these changes were made otherwise the Nightwish of today may not exist and that would deprive the world of some of the greatest music ever written.

At this early point of their career they were obviously not as powerful as they are now and as a result it would be unfair to compare the music directly to what they are producing now because it simply isn't in the same league. This is the first album of a band with huge potential who are all new to the music business and with no experience of the recording process and other such things their first album I think is a very good attempt and is overall a good debut. Therefore the ratings below are for the songs as individual songs on this album, with no comparisons between stuff later in their careers (otherwise most of these songs would only be worthy of about 4 or 5.

1) Elvenpath- This is quite possibly the first Nightwish song you heard as it is the 1st track on their 1st album. It isn't the most mature track they have ever produced and has references to Disney films and mythical creatures, which isn't necessarily a bad thing (e.g. Wishmaster and Wanderlust from later albums are Disney referenced and are great tracks), although some people may not like song of these subjects. The track has a good rhythm and nice synth sounds from Tuomas's Keyboards, also for the first time you hear Tarja's beautiful, powerful and epic operatic instrument that she fully utilizes. A good start to the album. 5.5/10

2) Beauty and the Beast- My favourite song from the album and one I wish they played on the End of an Era DVD as I would love to have seen Tarja perform this song with Marco Hietala (Their full Bassist and Male Vocals from 2002). The song itself starts with a strong violin intro and then you get a sudden thud from the guitars and the drums which get faster. Tarja is amazing on vocals; whereas the male vocals here are done by Tuomas which aren't very good in all honesty they lack power and depth however he is such an amazing song writer he's allowed to have a weak singing voice and this is effectively their practice album. The Lyrics are good and the music is powerful and represents the story really well. It also has a nice guitar solo from Emppu and a powerful end. The song is based on the Disney film. 9/10

3) The Carpenter- The Vocals here are led by Tuomas and are reasonably weak especially when compared to Tarja, who comes in during the chorus which was a bad decision because the voices don't actually compliment each other. It's a decent song with ok lyrics, although Tuomas will write much better stuff for every release since this one. This was also released as a single however I think there are stronger contenders for single release above this one. 4.5/10

4) Astral Romance- A good song with a really good guitar intro and strong riff throughout. This song is also for the last time on the album and for the last time ever that features Tuomas on vocals (except for growling on Master Passion Greed form DPP a full 11 years later) This is another song that like beauty and the beast they should have added to the End of an Era play list as I think Marco would sound amazing on vocals. 8/10

5) Angels Fall First- A really nice acoustic song where Tarja shines on vocals and the lyrics are good. 7/10

6) Tutankhamen- A good song where the instruments conjure up images in your mind of ancient Egypt and create a great atmosphere. Tarja is good on vocals and the musical arrangements are good. 7/10

7) Nymphomaniac Fantasia- A really good song that starts off slow but really starts to pick up the pace. Tuomas is fantastic on the keyboards to create the sounds of the flutes and the synths. 7.5/10

8) Know Why the Nightingale Sings- A really good song with powerful guitar riffs and a fantastic guitar solo. The lyrics are among the best on the album. This song has a good heavy metal feel to it. 8/10

9) Lapland- This song is split in to 4 separate tracks on some versions of this album although is one full track on others. This is effectively Nightwish first epic soundtrack as altogether is reaches 9:22 in length. It has a good acoustic feel to and changes melody throughout. It has an eerie 2nd part with some drums and part 1 is sung in Finnish. Part 3 is the most powerful. The song is very natural sounding which I like. 8/10

10) Return to the Sea- A good bonus track that has a great guitar solo. The lyrics I interpret as evolution going backwards and how the world would be better without humans although there may be some deeper meaning than that. The lyrics are natural and mention a variety of animals as well as Charles Darwin. 7.5/10

Overall it is an essential Album to die-hard Nightwish fans as it is their first album and although it is by no means their best is a good experience to be able to hear where they came from and how hey have evolved. For the casual listener you are probably better starting off with Oceanborn. Rating 7/10

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on 28 May 2008
This is the album that started it all, the understated arrival of Tarja et al. Whilst not as polished or heavy as some of their later offerings it is still a very listenable to album and is undeniably Nightwish, especially on stand out tracks such as `Tutankhamen' and `Astral Romance'.

If you are familiar with Nightwish, then you will certainly want to own this one, it is a different style to their later offerings, especially post-Marco. If you are new to Nightwish then you would be better off going for one of their later albums such as `Highest Hopes' (their greatest hits) or `Once'.
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on 3 May 2005
im a man who loves Metal eg ozzy, maiden etc but when i heard nightwish i was speechless. The first ever nightwish song i heard was nemo.
I was inspired by it so much i got two of their albums Once and Angels Fall First.
I am in 'love' with angels fall first as i am relaxed by it. the songs you should listen to are..............all of the them, also get this album cause it has a extra track called a return to the sea which is aslo excellent. good for anyone under stress lol.
it is soooo good im gonna let you decide what you wanna do buy it, sell it etc but listen to it. then you'll why its excellent album.
overall a good album good price worth getting. ideal for a maiden fan as it provides something a bit different
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on 18 January 2005
Nightwish are one of those bands you can never get bored of. Angels Fall First is a mind blowing album, especially the songs Beauty And The Beast and Know Why The Nightingale Sings.
I strongly suggest you buy it. Tarja's voice sounds quite different on this CD since her oparetic talents were limited then, but in a way it sounds even more beautiful. The instruments are perfect and in my opinion, this is as good as you get with Nightwish. You will fall in love with it, I assure you. This is one CD you will never regret buying!
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on 1 September 2003
Wow is about all that can be said about this band.
They sound great, look superb and are even better live.
Pay special attention to Elven Path and Nymphomaniac Fantasia.
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on 21 February 2016
This is the re-release of Angels Fall First, which has 4 extra tracks on it, including 3 demo versions of "Nightwish"" The Forever Moments" and "Etiainen" all of which are worth having.
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on 15 April 2002
My first reaction to this CD was "am I listening to pretentious rubbish", but in fact Nightwish manage to carry it off pretty well. The writing here is excellant, and the songs are well structured, with some real emotion in those operatic vocals.
So, why only 3 stars? Because the writer and keyboard player (sorry, forgot his name) insists on singing! Fact is he simply can't do it - he'd be concidered a very poor rock singer at the best of times, but compared so directly to those fantastic vocals from the femail lead singer he is just plain embarrasing. Thus the songs without his voice warrant 5 stars, while those with get a big fat zero = average score 3!!!
I'm off to listen to samples from their other albums to see if any of those lose his noise. If they do they will be great.
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on 9 December 2013
I love it. I'm a new Nightwish fan and bought their albums in more-or-less reverse order, so this was the last one I got. Nightwish are a symphonic metal band and their earlier albums have operatic style female vocals. Their skill as musicians is awesome, the songs beautiful & lyrics powerful. This would be a great introduction to the band, it's a great album I reckon, even if symphonic (or any) metal is not your usual thing. I also think it's an essential part of the collection, now I have them all, it's great hearing the growth of the band over the years.
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on 30 January 2010
"Angels Fall First" is the debut album by the current trend-setters in Symphonic Metal, Nightwish. It is nowhere near the standard of the rest of their output and is best left to the totally committed fan. The disc tends to highlight the weaker aspects of the band - Tarja's poor English and questionable handling of rock material, self conscious and sometimes silly lyrics, and songs that try to be too clever. Their excellent bassist, Marco, with the amazing vocals hadn't yet joined and keyboard sounds are not as attractive or effective as on subsequent releases.

"Elvenpath" is a strong number and is the only one that made it to their best of compilation (for good reason!) Nothing else stands out, though a few of the other tracks have their moments. "Beauty and the Beast" was to be rerecorded on a later album but none of the other tracks ever went on to become staples of their live gigs. Nightwish have such a great back catalog (all remastered and with bonus tracks) that you can well afford to give this rather lame effort a miss !
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