Skip to main content

Nightwish’s Tuomas Holopainen: 10 albums that changed my life

Tuomas Holopainen formed Nightwish in Kitee, Finland in 1996. Since then the keyboard player has steered them to become arguably the most successful symphonic metal band on the planet. Here he looks back on the albums that shaped his musical tastes and made him the musician he is.

The First Record I Bought Was…

Kiss – Asylum (1985)

“I got Asylum on cassette. I bought it in the mid-80s around the time it was released. My big brother was listening to Kiss and I just wanted to follow in his footsteps. I remember I didn’t really like the album back then! I wasn’t the metal guy or rock guy at all; I just bought it because my big brother was listening to it.”


The Best Album Artwork Is…

Tiamat – Wildhoney (1994)

“It’s in the top five of my all-time favourite metal albums, and the photography and the artwork – not only the cover, but also inside the booklet – is really fitting to the trippy mood of the album. It’s fantastic in every sense of the word.”


The Album I Break The Speed Limit To Is…

Pantera – Vulgar Display Of Power (1992)

“It has to be a Pantera album. It’s between Cowboys From Hell and Vulgar Display…, but Vulgar’s my number one Pantera album, and it has the song Mouth For War, which has the best guitar riff ever written by anybody.”

The Album I Wish I’d Made Is…

Vangelis – 1492: Conquest Of Paradise OST (1992)

“It’d probably be my desert island album. There isn’t a dull moment on it. I was just talking with [author and scientist] Richard Dawkins about that, because it’s his desert island disc, too. It’s funny that we have that in common.”


The Album I’d Want Played At My Funeral Is…

Howard Blake – The Snowman (1982)

Walking In The Air is still my all-time favourite piece of music. It had a big influence on my musical awakening. It was the first piece that made a big impact on me musically, when I saw The Snowman for the first time on TV in 1983.”


The Album That Should Not Be Is…

Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells III (1998)

“I’m a huge Mike Oldfield fan, and the best stuff that he does is just fab; it’s the best music there is. But the bad stuff he’s done is equally bad at the other end of the spectrum! You can never trust what he’ll do next. Music Of The Spheres a few years ago was fantastic, and then he does an album like Tubular Bells III, which is like, ‘What was he thinking?’ You really have the extremes of doing the best music in the world and crap.”


No One Will Believe I Own A Copy Of…

Aqua – Aquarium (1997)

“In the 90s I was a sucker for 90s disco. I still find it enjoyable, like DJ BoBo and Mr President. I bought this CD for €1 at some gas station.”

The Album I’d Want To Be Remembered For Is…

Nightwish – Endless Forms Most Beautiful (2015)

“I will maybe give you another answer in five years, but at the moment that’d definitely be it.”


The Album That Broke My Heart Is…

My Dying Bride – The Angel And The Dark River (1995)

“I’d just discovered the beautiful world of metal in ’92, ’93, and I was into bands like Metallica, Pantera, Ozzy and Megadeth, and then I found the darker side of metal and started to listen to bands like Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride. I loved my metal served dark and melancholic for a long time. That album – and any album by MDB – broke my heart. In a positive sense!”


The Album That Reminds Me Of School Is…

Metallica – Metallica (1991)

“It was the first metal album I bought. I was kind of a late bloomer finding metal. I was 15, living as an exchange student in Kansas for a year. I saw Metallica and Guns N’ Roses there and that was the turning point. I wasn’t keen on going to that show because I had a lot of prejudice towards those bands, but that one night pretty much changed my view on music. I became an instant Metallica – and metal – fan.”