I feel like doing another album review! Why not? Sometimes I just root through my collection either on the digital library or cupboard full of physicals and feel like doing another one for no real reason.
So how about this time, we go with something really classic.
The copy I have is a remastered version with bonus tracks but when I include those, I only do each once, for future reference I prefer to review the studio version and not the live version, this is just my personal choice, the same goes for demos.
The reason why I am typing this before I begin is that I know some people, some of them are Tarja purists, others are just really passionate Nightwish fans that I have known for at least a decade, and they’re gonna read this and ask:
“Emily why didn’t you include the live tracks and demos?”
The answer is because I don’t need to, there is no reason, so feel free to write your own review including them. There are no rules for writing reviews if you’re a hobby blogger. Kapeesh? Okay, let’s get started!
A beautiful intro with narration before it jumps into the riffs. I still can’t believe how young the band was when this album was first recorded when they were still trying to find their image, their hair was shorter and it seemed only Tarja had established a stage presence with her clothes and unique voice before she started wearing more elegant apparel.
Anyway, this is a lovely song from start to finish that makes you realize you shouldn’t underestimate this band in the beginning. It’s like I’m reading the novel once again about their earlier years.
Beauty And The Beast
I love the strings at the beginning of this song! I think it’s the one I’ve listened to the most from this album so it’s good to revisit it to give my thoughts here.
This is the first song that we hear Tuomas singing alongside Tarja. The book said that he tried to sing on the album but found that it wasn’t for him, that he felt his voice just didn’t suit the band’s overall sound they were aiming for or something like that. He doesn’t sound so bad, he’s got a deep and masculine voice which is one thing that makes me attracted to him. But I guess after that he would rather stay out of the spotlight!
Either way, this song has some great melodies at certain parts about one of my favourite fairy tales that was, of course, a Disney film as well. It’s definitely my favourite on this album.
This song originally started off as a demo before appearing on the full album and I still remember reading when Tuomas was touring with another band he was in, he was still forming Nightwish and got Ewo to listen to the demo containing this track.
There’s something unique with this album, not just the vocals when Tuomas was trying to give it a go, but it’s a sense of growth of what Nightwish became over the years.
The music video shows the time when only Tarja appeared in filming and her outfit, makeup, and wig make her actually look older than she really was! Pretty good song to introduce us to the band for the first time. Her voice does sound slightly different in this song, probably she was still trying to find an octave that worked for her.
I’m starting to feel like this album has some progressive elements to it, but it does sound pretty with its beat. Things are starting to come together, and at that time no one took Nightwish seriously because they were still trying to find themselves.
Damn Tuomas does more vocals on this than I thought. I think he also gave up on it because he felt like it was nothing compared to Tarja! I mean I don’t hate hearing it from him, it’s unique, albeit not powerful to go with the sound he wanted to create.
The interlude at the bridge is my favourite part with different keys, it’s what stands out the most.
Angels Fall First
Ah, we are at the titular track, nice acoustic intro there. It gets prettier as it progresses and then Tarja starts to sing.
This song is a beautiful ballad on this album and it makes me realize I never really got to enjoy it in full that time I first got it for Christmas. My friend gave me every Nightwish album I didn’t have at that time and I was trying to listen to them all during my holiday break. I first listened to this album during a blackout from a snowstorm and was trying to use the music to distract me from the fact that there was no power.
Now that I sit down and listen to this album again, I can appreciate it more, and this is a lovely song that allows Tarja’s unique talent to shine through. The beat towards the end is like a sign that we shall be returning to the faster songs.
This is where we start to explore the songs with Finnish names, and this song has a very tribal sound to it. When was the last time I heard it? Oh yeah, my first year of college back in 2013. Doesn’t it just make you think about dancing around a campfire in the wilderness as others play instruments crafted from the trees?
The chorus is very upbeat compared to the rest of the song and that’s what makes it stand out. Some people may not like that impromptu shift, just like what the song Saharah does from the Dark Passion Play album but I never had a problem with it, as long as it goes with the song’s theme. Pretty good song and I also like the flutes in it too.
Oh wow, another ballad? I must have underestimated this album, or I just don’t remember more than half of it! I think the second track is the only one that I remember from my first listen.
Scratch that, it starts as a ballad in the beginning, like the band was also aiming for a folk sound too in the beginning. Then it increases in beat a little, but still maintains somewhat of a folk element but with the electric guitar added. It has a strong melody which I like, enchanting in a way, like walking through a forest.
Know Why The Nightingale Sings
We’re halfway into this album, feels like that took some time because all of these tracks are nearly five minutes long each and I write these while listening to one song at a time! Helps keep the memory fresh and process it a little faster so I can transfer it onto the draft.
Very nice riff in this song, it’s beautiful, and the solo just makes it even more powerful. A gem I pretty much forgot about due to trying to listen to all those older albums on a whim and didn’t allow myself to really be absorbed. But that’s what I’m doing now!
Lappi Pt I Erämaajärvi
Now we’re into the progressive piece, many Nightwish songs feature this, they will either be divided into individual tracks like this, or it’ll be all one long track but with different chapters ranging from ten to twenty minutes long.
This one introduces acoustic guitar with some vocals as a warm-up before we get into the heart of things.
Lappi Pt II Witchdrums
Now we have focused on drumbeats as this gets more intense, it’s short and beautiful. I do like it quite a lot. It also has some other percussion in the background which makes me like it more.
Lappi Pt III This Moment is Eternity
Right where the last one left off, the vocals kick in here and they’re beautiful as usual. It sounds like Tarja did two different recordings to merge them together for this part.
The piano solo is my favourite part, surprise, surprise. It’s so beautiful that I get goosebumps. How do I not remember this? Oh yeah, I haven’t listened to this album fully in years, I’ve only done it one other time as I’ve said. Maybe this is my favourite part now.
Lappi Pt IV Etiainen
The last part, listening to this makes me somewhat understand why some fans prefer Tarja the most. That voice is difficult to replicate. Such beautiful sound, I wish I could sing like her sometimes, or like any of the female singers I like. I cannot even hold notes long when I sing, I sometimes even forget to breathe at the right moments.
A Return To The Sea
Last but not least, I would like to include this bonus track.
What lovely strings, I also hear waves in the background, this song sounds very soothing, like I could listen to it until I fall asleep, like a certain track in a game I’m currently playing, that is, until the drums kick in!
Another song with a spontaneous shift, this is where I don’t think it works. The starting key was much prettier, but hey that’s me.
Over all, this is our intro to Nightwish as a band when they were beginning and looking at them, you may not take them seriously, but listen to their music and you know they mean business and eventually grew into something huge.
I definitely did the right thing giving this album another go. Before that, I was only listening to one track, and a few ones off Oceanborn if we go back to the earliest years of this band. It’s powerful and stupendous, even if not every track won my heart over.
Beauty And The Beast
Angels Fall First
Know Why The Nightingale Sings
Lappi Part II and III
Nightwish is a band that I’ve been into since high school and has been dear to my heart ever since. In the first year and a half of the pandemic, I was going through some changes that were sending my anxiety through the roof, only their music seemed to calm at that time, and that made me realize there was still very little I knew about them. So, I dove deeper and now I love them even more, regardless of who the singer is.
Great album, not perfect, but still wonderful.