Online since August 2002

Great songs anchor new album

From the Summer 2004 issue.

By Nightwish

Nuclear Blast Records: 2004

To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.

If Nightwish were ever going to go mainstream, this is the album that would be the catalyst. Nightwish's fifth album continues on the path of their last release, "Century Child"; it's also heavier and quite catchy.

The album also features vocalist Tarja Turunen using more of a "natural" voice than her past operatic stylings, though those are still abundant on the disc. Her "natural" voice is a new and effective weapon in her arsenal. Combined with the voice of bassist Marco Hietala, who is given a more prominent role in the singing department, there is no shortage of vocal talent.

The rest of the band is also in top form, so well-executed playing is not an issue here.

But it's the songs that really stand out on this disc, from the beautifully written epic "Ghost Love Score" the brutality of "Romanticide" and the ballad (sung in Finnish), "Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan." But it's the first two singles that stick out as the most immediately memorable: "Nemo" and "Wish I Had an Angel."

"Wish I Had an Angel" is the catchiest even though it contains the brief appearance of a techno drumbeat, a feat usually deserving of a hanging on a metal album, but it actually works on that song – and fortunately it's only on that one song.

"Once" is one of the best albums of the year so far in the underground metal scene, and is probably the best Nightwish album to start with if you've never heard any of their stuff.

You won't regret it.

Review by Gabriel Lopez. Gabriel is guitarist for Fractured Halo, and lives in Fallbrook, Calif.

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