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Nightwish - Decades album review

Finland’s symphonic metal behemoths take stock

Two decades and three frontwomenin, Nightwish’s latest and most visceral ‘best of’ has a lot of ground to cover, so dedicating the first 24 minutes to The Greatest Show On Earth does seem like a self-indulgent use of precious minutes. Yet it does illustrate how far the greatest symphonic band on Middle-Earth have come. Working in a reverse chronological order, this epic fest of grandiose, orchestra-laden thrills and spills highlights the superlative power of Nightwish, from the drum-machine smasher Wish I Had An Angel and the heroic Ghost Love Score to the gothic masterpiece The Poet And The Pendulum. It’s a shame that their anaemic eponymous demo closes the compilation when a tour de force like the omitted The Phantom Of The Opera would provide the ideal final punch, but otherwise Decades is a pitch-perfect portfolio of world-class symphonic metal.