After being most unimpressed by "Oceanborn", I decided to give NIGHTWISH another chance. After all, I had downloaded a few other albums with "Oceanborn", and surely NIGHTWISH would get better at mixing Metal and classical stuff, as they went along, right?
Instead of a few good ideas and lots of bad ideas, we get some of the most overwrought, pretensious and cheesy music ever made. A good example would be "Dead To The World", which has some the most overwrought male vocals ever, some of the most overwrought female vocals ever, and some instrumentation and riffing which screams 'CHEESE' above anything else. Another example would be "Beauty Of The Beast". Now, I'm of the opinion that only Drone, Doom and Post-Rock bands should ever do songs over ten minutes. Lame-ass symphonic Power Metal bands should not, and this song is proof why. Oh well.
There's so many bad things about this album. The riffing, which was never the focal point of this band, is almost completely gone. With the exception of "Slaying The Dreamer", which is surprisingly riff heavy, most of the times the guitars follow the whole 'chug along with chord root notes', in effect, playing simple retarded bass lines up an octave. The keyboards have some of the most ridiculous synths ever heard, which is a shame, as "Oceanborn's" symphonic stuff actually sounded like it was played by real violins, cellos etc. (It might have been, I don't know.) Generally, the keys don't add anything useful. Oh well. I guess the rythym section is pretty decent. The drums and bass are both mixed fairly quiet, but they don't get annoying and they keep the beat going, which surely isn't a bad thing, right?
Despite these shortcomings, this album wouldn't be so terrible if it wasn't for the vocals. While I don't want to say "These are the worst vocals on any Metal record, ever", I will definitely say that these are the worst vocals on any mainstream Metal Record, ever. I would even listen to MACHINE HEAD's singer then these dudes. IT IS THAT BAD!!? To get a good impression of the male vocals, get the most cliched Power Metal vocals ever, make them a bit more cliched, and then add a vibrato. Proof is in "Phantom Of The Opera" mainly, but anywhere where there's male vocals you'll see. And the opera vocals? Well, they're even worse. I can imagine a lot of people getting real angry right now and going "TARJA (that is her name right?) IS AWESOME, YOU MUST BE A HOMOSEXUAL" or something along those lines. But her voice is completely devoid of emotion, has a really small range, and her pitch control and breath control are both terrible. And she's incredibly one dimensional, as the terrible performance on "Slaying The Dreamer" shows. I didn't think she sounded this bad on "Oceanborn"... what happened?
I don't really want to rag on NIGHTWISH this much. I'd love to give this album 100% and say it perfectly fuses Metal and classical/opera together. BUT IT LICKS BALLS. Possibly the cheesiest album ever. For dudes who want noisy classical stuff, I would recommend MONO. Not exactly Metal, but a mix better mix of Rock and classical composition. Avoid this like the plague.
(Online May 12, 2008)