Album Review: Nightwish – Human. :||: Nature.


Album Review: Nightwish - Human. :||: Nature.
Reviewed by Carl Black

Everyone has bumped into Nightwish at some point or another. They are arena regulars, festival closers and could be metal saviours. A new album is always going to cause a stir. They have a legion of fans who are willing to do their bidding, so what point are we at with the pioneers of symphonic metal? Are they going to be accepted by the masses of non-metal fans? Are they content with what they have? Are they flogging a dead horse?

The album opens in grand, biblical style. It makes you feel like a true warrior. As if you are about to go into battle against an army of lost souls, all hell bent in defeating you. Which is very apt as I found myself in that very position as I was listening to this album [queuing to get into my local supermarket]. But it eludes to the same thing. Plus, it’s a double album. When am I going to have time to listen to a double album? Lining up in a car park with hundreds of scared, surgical mask wearing, hungry people…. that gives me plenty of time.

The intro gives way to a slow burner with Floor Jansen vocals showcasing to full affect. I understand that Nightwish mastermind Tuomas Holopainen has a talent for writing film scores, and this is what this album came across as, a film score or musical along with all the ceremony of a full Nightwish experience. When 'Music' kicks in its all syth breaks and angelic vocals. You can see the flames shooting from the stage during a live performance in time with  the keyboard chords.

They cover all bases during this opus, metal tinged with operatic overtones, thrash (and even a few blast beats), folk (that would have Skyclad barn dancing across the stage) and more storytelling than a liar trying to impress a future mate. All the musicians get a turn in the spotlight. You can hear each of the individual inputs. But I can’t get away from the Broadway/West End musical influence. At one point, during a chorus I thought the Artful Dodger was going to pick a pocket or two.

The album meanders along and fades out with an instrumental or two. There is a good case that this could be an amazing fifty-minute affair, but is that not the case with all double albums? In the game of musical career poker, Nightwish have the option of raising the stakes, checking or folding. They have taken the safest option. They have checked and stayed where they are. The legions of fans will be happy but the Black album buying brigade will pass them up and say, “it’s just a little overblown”.


'Human. :||: Nature.' is out now via Nuclear Blast.

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