Nightwish: First Impressions

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Last Friday, various members of Team Prog ventured into central London to be played the new Nightwish album…

If we wanted to hear the new Nightwish album, Endless Forms Most Beautiful, which is released through Nuclear Blast on March 27, then for security reasons (seems_ Imaginaerum_, the last Nightwish album, was leaked all over the Internet) we had to go to the new Gibson Guitars HQ just off of Oxford Street for a series of playbacks. Most of us settled for just one, the more diehard Nightwish fans on the team went to all four (Hi Natasha) and Hannah just said “Meh” and stayed in the office (she’s not a fan). But these are the first impressions of the Prog writers who did go down for a listen…

**JERRY EWING (EDITOR) **Certainly not as immediate as Imaginaerum, and it didn’t seem as bombastic either. Much more prog than metal, with some nice Celtic flourishes from Troy Donockley. Floor Jansen sounds most impressive too. The addition of Richard Dawkins will annoy some as much as it will impress others. The closing 24-minute epic, the aptly titled The Greatest Show On Earth, will delight most prog fans of the band. I suspect it’ll be a grower!

**RUSSELL FAIRBROTHER (ART EDITOR) **Less Abba-like histrionics and more Celtic pipery than you can throw a kitchen sink at, Nightwish continue hurtling headlong into the meaning of life, the universe and everything else. Striking a fine balance between voice of an angel and amazonian goddess, Floor Jansen more than holds her own against Tuomas’s tidal wave of sound and symphonic deluge

NATASHA SCHARF (NEWS EDITOR) It feels like Nightwish have decided to revisit their pre-Imaginaerum sound and bring it right up to date with slicker production and tighter composition. Heavier yet even proggier than their previous albums, Endless Forms… builds on their trademark symphonic-meets-celtic sound with maturity and greater confidence. And new singer Floor Jansen’s vocals are absolutely spot-on.

MALCOLM DOME (WRITER) An album which will doubtless make a very positive impression after a few listens. First impression is that it’s cold, remote and lacking immediacy. It references the band’s past, while also moving things forward. And it makes you want to live with it.