It’s been almost nine years since I got introduced to a genre of music that changed my entire life…metal. Throughout that time, I’ve lived and experienced almost 200 shows with many, many more to come. After nine years I finally managed to be less socially awkward and met a new friend in November 2014, Damian (aka The Maestro), who has invited me to do some reviews for A&GS about upcoming releases and shows, so here I am.
I heard of NIGHTWISH for the first time even before I decided to be part of the metal community, and for some reason, considering that there are hundreds of bands out there, I was never smart enough to fully experience any of their albums until today. I consider NIGHTWISH one of the most emblematic metal bands out there. Endless Forms Most Beautiful is their eighth full-length album, scheduled to be released in the U.S. on March 31 via Nuclear Blast Records. This is the first album of the band to feature 6 members, including their new vocalist Floor Jansen.
I had an idea of what to expect when I listened to the first song of and those first 20-30 seconds of “Shudder Before the Beautiful” were far beyond a good first impression…. Man, this band actually exceeded my expectations all around. “Élan” brought me peace and happiness as I was listening to it; I loved the wind instruments that build the main melody. Talking about the tracks “Weak Fantasy”, “Yours is an Empty Hope” and “My Walden”, these are consistently heavy songs that made me put my metal horns up right there in my apartment and enjoy as if I was living that moment live.
“Endless Forms Most Beautiful” is just another example of how dynamic this band is when it comes to writing songs, there’s just a huge variety of what they can achieve, and emotions are not out of the equation. There’s also of course, the options to calm down and walk through the land where the magic happens with “Our Decades in the Sun” and “The Eyes of Sharbat Gula”. The closer “The Greatest Show on Earth” is a lengthy 24-minute song that is full of surprises. The perfect ending for an album like this, at first there’s uncertainty about what’s going on with it: are these only nature sounds? Silence? Hidden tracks? A slow ballad? Just wait until you hear this one, it’s truly a beautiful number that actually made me close my eyes and use my imagination. Trust me this is worth the 24-minutes of relaxation time.
One thing that I kept in mind the whole time is that NIGHTWISH made me explore through my emotions. This album put a very welcomed smile on my face and made me appreciate the little things. Melodies, strong riffs, symphonic elements, and a female front woman leading the band… I’m sold. I definitely recommend picking this album up on March 31, get yourself your favorite drink, wait for the sunset in a place surrounded by trees and enjoy this journey, you won’t be disappointed. Also, do not miss their upcoming 27-day U.S. tour with support from SABATON and DELAIN. These bands play genres that are rarely seen in North America, and THEY DO NOT COME HERE EVERY YEAR.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Shudder Before the Beautiful”, “Weak Fantasy”, “Élan”, “The Greatest Show On Earth”, “My Walden”