Nightwish's Human. :II: Nature. - theatrical and captivating

Symphonic metal titans Nightwish return with grammar-flouting album Human. :II: Nature.

Nightwish: Human. :II: Nature.
(Image: © Nuclear Blast)

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You know a band feels pretty confident when they take liberties with the rules of the language of rock’n’roll. But however you pronounce the punctuation-incontinent title, Human. :II: Nature., Nightwish’s first studio album for five years, doesn’t try to confuse us any further. 

They rely on their own successful turbo-operatic formula for large sections of this 80-minute-plus double album, and from the moment five minutes in when Music gets over its overtures and bursts into anthemic flame, the blend of guttural riffing, machine-gun bass drum and Floor Jansen’s perennially startled soprano is always captivating. 

They also go off-piste: the schlock-horror vocals, chant and churn of Tribal offer extra touches of theatrical colour, and the Celtic folk decorations of Harvest and How’s The Heart suit them well. 

Then, when The Green and Quiet As The Snow soothe us with bucolic piano-led orchestral soundscapes redolent of a nature documentary, it’s a stark contrast they pull off with impressive melodic skill.

Johnny Sharp

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock