Nightwish is a Finnish symphonic metal band formed in 1996 in the town of Kitee. Nightwish composes songs that are often classified as either symphonic metal or power metal, and sometimes as variants of the genre called opera metal and epic metal. Nightwish is considered one of the main developers of the symphonic metal genre, which encompasses similar bands such as Epica, After Forever, and Visions of Atlantis.
Although the band has been prominent in their home country since the release of their first single, "The Carpenter", they did not achieve worldwide fame until the release of the albums Oceanborn and Wishmaster, which were released in 1998 and 2000 respectively. Their 2004 album, Once, led to Nightwish video clips being shown on MTV in the United States and inclusion of their music in U.S. movie soundtracks. Their biggest U.S. hit single, "Wish I Had an Angel", made it onto two U.S. film soundtracks as a means to promote their North American tour. The band produced three more singles and two music videos for the album, as well as "Sleeping Sun", from the 2005 "best of" compilation album, Highest Hopes, prior to vocalist Tarja Turunen's departure.
The extensive search for Turunen's replacement, during the course of which anyone could have been considered by submitting a demo, ended in early 2007. Recently, the band declared that the new vocalist will be announced on May 30, 2007, together with the release of a new single called "Eva".
Angels Fall First (1996–1997)
Nightwish was the brainchild of Tuomas Holopainen, conceived after spending a night around a campfire with friends. The band formed shortly after, in July 1996. Holopainen invited guitarist Erno "Emppu" Vuorinen, who was a fairly new acquaintance, and vocalist Tarja Turunen to the project, as she was gaining renown around the school they attended for her excellent vocal skills.
Their style at the time was based on the experimentations of Holopainen with using keyboards, acoustic guitars and the operatic vocals of Tarja Turunen. The three musicians then recorded an acoustic demo album from October to December of 1996. There were three songs on this demo: "Nightwish" (of which the band derived its name), "The Forever Moments" and "Etiäinen". However, Holopainen decided that Turunen's voice was too powerful for an acoustic project and decided to add in metal elements.
In early 1997, drummer Jukka Nevalainen joined the band. At the same time the acoustic guitar was replaced by an electric guitar. In April the band went into the studio in order to record seven songs, including an improved version of the demo-song "Etiäinen". These songs can be found on the limited edition of the album Angels Fall First.
In May of the same year, they signed with the Finnish record label Spinefarm Records for two albums. Angels Fall First was released in November and reached number 31 on the Finnish album charts. A previously released single, "The Carpenter", reached number 3 on the Finnish singles chart.
The critical reception of Angels Fall First has been mixed. All Music Guide rated the album 2 out of 5 and sources like The Metal Observer stated that Nightwish's debut album paled drastically in comparison to their later work. However, on Encyclopaedia Metallum, which features listener reviews, the album scored an average rating of 91%.
December 1997 marked their first concert, which was played in their hometown. During the winter of 1997–98, the band performed only seven more times because Nevalainen and Vuorinen were fulfilling their obligatory military service and Turunen had not yet finished her studies.
Oceanborn / Wishmaster (1998–2000)
In 1998, bassist Sami Vänskä, an old friend of Holopainen, joined the band. After shooting a video clip for the song "The Carpenter", they released Oceanborn, the follow-up to Angels Fall First. This album was more technical and progressive than their first release in terms of songwriting and arrangements.The album also featured Tapio Wilska (ex-Finntroll) on two songs ("Devil and the Deep Dark Ocean" and "The Pharaoh Sails to Orion"). It reached number 5 on the Finnish album charts. The first single from that album Sacrament of Wilderness, went straight to number 1 on the Finnish single charts. (sample).
The second single to come out was "Walking in the Air", a cover of Howard Blake's piece, part of The Snowman soundtrack.
In 1999, they recorded the single "Sleeping Sun (Four Ballads of the Eclipse)", for the solar eclipse in Germany. This single sold 15,000 copies during the first month in Germany. Oceanborn was a certified gold in August.
In 2000, Nightwish participated in the Finnish qualification for the Eurovision song contest with the song "Sleepwalker". They finished the contest in second place. They won the public televoting, but the jury overruled (sample). In May they released the album Wishmaster which went straight to number 1 on the Finnish album charts, and remained there for three weeks. During those three weeks it was certified gold. Wishmaster was, despite long-awaited releases from Iron Maiden and Bon Jovi, which happened simultaneously, declared album of the month by the German magazine Rock Hard.
Over the Hills and Far Away / Century Child (2001–2003)
In 2001 Nightwish recorded a cover of Gary Moore's "Over the Hills and Far Away" together with a few new songs and a remake of an old one. This was released as the EP Over the Hills and Far Away. The record counted with guest performances by Tony Kakko (from the power metal band Sonata Arctica) and Tapio Wilska. They also released a VHS, DVD and CD with live material recorded in a show in Tampere, on December 29 2000. All of these were entitled From Wishes to Eternity. Shortly afterwards, Sami Vänskä was asked to leave the band by Tuomas, and Marco Hietala (Tarot, ex-Sinergy) joined the band, effectively leaving Sinergy. The bassist would, apart from playing his instrument, also perform male vocals.
In 2002 Nightwish released Century Child, and the singles "Ever Dream" and "Bless the Child". The main difference from previous albums is the use of a live orchestra from Finland on "Bless the Child", "Ever Dream", "Feel For You" and "The Beauty of the Beast", to get a more present feeling of classical music. An enduring favorite of fans, though, is the band's version of "Phantom of the Opera", from the famous musical of the same name by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. Century Child was certified gold two hours after its release, and platinum two weeks afterwards. It set a record on the Finnish album charts as well; never before had the second been so distant from the first place. After the "Bless the Child" video, a second one was recorded, without any single support. The chosen track was "End of All Hope". The clip contains pieces from the Finnish movie, Kohtalon kirja (English: The Book of Fate).
In 2003, Nightwish released a second DVD, entitled End of Innocence that tells the story of the band in Holopainen and Nevalainen's words for two hours. The documentary also features bits of live concerts, exclusive footage, etc. Tarja also got married during the summer of 2003, and there were rumours that the band was about to be dissolved. These rumours were, at the time, proven to be false, as the band continued on to play concerts for another year and released another album.
A new album entitled Once was released on June 7, 2004, along with their first single, "Nemo" (Latin for "nobody"), from that album. The single topped the charts in Finland and Hungary, and reached the top ten in five additional countries. "Nemo" therefore remains their most successful single release to date.
Once utilizes a full orchestra in nine of the eleven songs on the album. Unlike Century Child, Nightwish decided to look for an orchestra outside of Finland this time, choosing the London Session Orchestra. It is also their second album to feature a full-length song in Finnish, "Kuolema tekee taiteilijan" (English: "Death Creates an Artist"). Once has sold triple platinum in Finland, platinum in Germany, gold in Sweden and reached #1 in the Greek, Norwegian and Hungarian album charts. The following singles were: "Wish I Had an Angel" (featured on the soundtrack of the Alone in the Dark film), "Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan" (released only in Finland and Japan) and "The Siren". Besides the commercial success, Once was also accepted by critics, with many positive reviewers (such as Metalfan.nl and RockReport.be) drawing comparisons with Oceanborn.
The success of the album allowed them to perform the Once World Tour, which enabled them to play in many countries the band had never visited before. Nightwish performed at the opening ceremony of the 2005 World Championships in Athletics, held in Helsinki, highlighting acclaim the band has recently gained.
A "best of" album was released in September 2005, containing songs from their whole discography. The compilation is entitled Highest Hopes, also featuring a live cover of Pink Floyd's song "High Hopes" (from the The Division Bell album).
This song was the first in which Hietala performs the vocals by himself (sample). Besides High Hopes, a remake of "Sleeping Sun" (from Oceanborn) was put on the album, which was also released as a single. A new video for "Sleeping Sun" was shot, featuring a medieval battle, and can be found on the German release of the single and as a separate DVD released by Spinefarm.
End of an Era (2005–2006)
After the recording in the Hartwall Areena (Helsinki) on the 21st of October, 2005, of the new live DVD End of an Era (released June 2006), the four other members of Nightwish decided that it was best to continue Nightwish without Tarja Turunen, a feeling they expressed through an open letter which was given to Turunen by Tuomas Holopainen after the concert, and afterwards posted on the band's website. The main justification of Turunen's dismissal given in the letter was that the band felt that her husband Marcelo Cabuli, an Argentinian businessman, and commercial interests had changed her attitude towards the band.
Turunen responded to the incident, saying that her dismissal came entirely as a shock to her, given that she had not been notified before the letter was given to her. She felt that the personal attacks on her husband were unwarranted, and that playing the issue out to the public was "senselessly cruel". She expressed these feelings through her own open letter, which was published on her personal website, and through various TV, magazine, and newspaper interviews.
To find a replacement for Turunen as the female vocalist of the band, on March 17, 2006 the band allowed vocalists interested for the position to send in demo tapes as an audition for the spot. The band stated that it was looking for a vocalist with the ability to sing with good dynamics and versatility. However, to the surprise of some fans, the band did not specifically ask for a classically trained singer, but were open to a variety of styles and backgrounds. By the time auditions were over on January 15, 2007, the band had received over 2000 demo tapes.
During this time, speculation began to emerge as to who would eventually succeed Turunen as the female vocalist for the band. On December 6, "Lady Angellyca" of the Spanish band Forever Slave issued a statement in which she said that she was one of the strong candidates to fill the vacant role. Simone Simons from the band Epica was also reported to have been chosen by Nightwish to be their new vocalist by Finnish gossip magazine Katso!, which Simons has denied.
In response to these and other rumors, the band stated on their website that fans should not believe any source other than the band itself for information regarding the new vocalist.
The new vocalist will be revealed on May 30, 2007 along with the release of a new single, Eva, in which she is featured.
The band entered the studio on September 15, 2006 to record their sixth full-length studio album. The process began with drum recordings, with guitar, bass and demo keyboards, followed by orchestral/choir recordings. After those, the final synthesizers and vocals will be recorded.
A single from the new album, Eva, which features the band's new female vocalist, is slated to be released on May 30, 2007.
The planned release date for the new album is September 26, 2007.
Faster Harder Nightwish
In 1 April 2007 the band announced on their official website that the new title of the album was Faster Harder Nightwish, and that they are changing style totally, becoming "faster and harder than ever". They also showed the new cover, the band members standing in front of a burning fire. It is thought that this was an April joke due to the date and the abrubt changes of the band.
Tuomas Holopainen, writer of most of the band's lyrics and musical scores, says that he gets most of the inspiration for Nightwish's songs from film music. Songs like "Beauty of the Beast" (from Century Child) and "Ghost Love Score" (from Once) are examples of this influence. Other songs, such as "Romanticide" and "Wish I Had an Angel" (both from Once) have elements reminiscent of techno music.
On the other hand, Nightwish has also been noted as a source of inspiration for other bands. Simone Simons, lead singer of Epica, stated that she began singing due to Nightwish. Ex-singer of Visions of Atlantis Nicole Bogner also acknowledged that Nightwish had greatly inspired them for their first album. Sander Gommans of After Forever said that Nightwish "will certainly influence us in creating new songs".
A precise definition for Nightwish's musical style is disputed. The band has been suggested as being part of the genres gothic metal, symphonic metal, and power metal.
Some fans of Nightwish have argued that the band belongs to the "gothic metal" genre due to the fact that all of their albums have female vocals in them with a dark sound and gothic subjects. Examples are "Wish I Had an Angel" and "Planet Hell". Other fans have argued otherwise, saying that they should rather be labeled "power metal", based on the argument that they play more to that style and lack core elements of "gothic metal". The Metal Crypt also proclaim the band to be "power metal", or even symphonic power metal, a sub-genre similar to the style developed by Italian bands such as Rhapsody of Fire.
Tuomas Holopainen once described their music as "melodic heavy metal with a female vocalist".
* Tuomas Holopainen — Keyboards (since 1996), vocals on Angels Fall First
* Erno "Emppu" Vuorinen — Guitars (since 1996), bass on Angels Fall First
* Marco Hietala — Bass/Vocals (since 2001)
* Jukka Nevalainen — Drums (since 1997)
* Tarja Turunen — Vocals (1996–2005)
* Sami Vänskä — Bass (1998–2001)
* Samppa Hirvonen — Bass (1997) (only live)
* Marjaana Pellinen — Backing vocals and second keyboard (1997) (only live)
* Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica) — From Wishes to Eternity and Over the Hills and Far Away
* Tapio "Tonquemada" Wilska (ex-Finntroll, Sethian) — Oceanborn, Over the Hills and Far Away and From Wishes to Eternity
* Ike Vil (Babylon Whores) — Kinslayer voice on Wishmaster
* John Two-Hawks — Once and End of an Era
* Sam Hardwick — Dead Boy's voice on Wishmaster and Century Child
Main article: Nightwish discography
Albums and EPs
* Angels Fall First (1997)
* Oceanborn (1998)
* Wishmaster (2000)
* Over the Hills and Far Away (2001)
* Century Child (2002)
* Once (2004)
* Wishmastour 2000 (2000)
* Tales from the Elvenpath (2004)
* Bestwishes (2005)
* Highest Hopes (2005)
* From Wishes to Eternity (2001)
* End of Innocence (2003)
* End of an Era (2006)
* "The Carpenter" (1997)
(split with Children of Bodom and Thy Serpent)
* "Sacrament of Wilderness" (1998)
(split with Darkwoods My Betrothed and Eternal Tears of Sorrow)
* "Passion and the Opera" (1998)
* "Walking in the Air" (1999)
* "Sleeping Sun (Four Ballads of the Eclipse)" (1999)
* "The Kinslayer" (2000)
* "Deep Silent Complete" (2000)
* "Ever Dream" (2002)
* "Bless the Child" (2002)
* "Nemo" (2004)
* "Wish I Had an Angel" (2004)
* "Kuolema tekee taiteilijan" (2004)
* "The Siren" (2005)
* "Sleeping Sun" (2005)
* "Eva" (2007)
Nikos Deja Vu