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Nightwish: Endless Forms Most Beautiful

The Dawkins-approved symphonic rockers return to their celtic roots.

Creating the follow-up to the hugely ambitious Imaginaerum was always going to be a challenge, but Nightwish have taken it their stride and come up with something completely different.

Endless Forms Most Beautiful carefully captures their massive live sound and nods towards their earlier material. Although first single Élan is packed with all their stylistic trademarks, it’s a gentle introduction that doesn’t really reflect this impressive album’s depth. Things start off heavy, reaching a peak on the explosive Yours Is An Empty Hope before the celtic kicks in. The graceful ballad Our Decades In The Sun and the jig My Walden are enhanced by Troy Donockley’s meticulous pipe playing. New vocalist Floor Jansen (After Forever, Revamp) alternates between soprano and rock vocals with ease, with co-vocalist/bassist Marco Hietala’s growls are less prevalent than before. Closing 24-minute, five-part epic The Greatest Show On Earth features spoken contributions from biologist Richard Dawkins, and shows just how much Nightwish have evolved. Celtic flourishes, caressing vocals, symphonic rock – this album has everything their fans could want, and more.

Natasha Scharf
Natasha Scharf

Contributing to Prog since the very first issue, writer and broadcaster Natasha Scharf was the magazine’s News Editor before she took up her current role of Deputy Editor, and has interviewed some of the best-known acts in the progressive music world from ELP, Yes and Marillion to Nightwish, Dream Theater and TesseracT. Starting young, she set up her first music fanzine in the late 80s and became a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines over the next decade. The 00s would see her running the dark music magazine, Meltdown, as well as contributing to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Terrorizer and Artrocker. Author of music subculture books The Art Of Gothic and Worldwide Gothic, she’s since written album sleeve notes for Cherry Red, and also co-wrote Tarja Turunen’s memoirs, Singing In My Blood. Beyond the written word, Natasha has spent several decades as a club DJ, spinning tunes at aftershow parties for Metallica, Motörhead and Nine Inch Nails. She’s currently the only member of the Prog team to have appeared on the magazine’s cover.