Those who know me, know I love NIGHTWISH. If I were to describe this masterpiece it would be FLAWLESS. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say this is likely to be THE \m/etal album of the year. Of course everyone has different tastes, but it is without question very visionary and innovative. They are certainly one of the most creative ensembles on the planet. Human :II: Nature. (out now, Nuclear Blast Records) has had an incredible response from fans. I’ve seen a few criticisms but that is to be expected, however, most fans absolutely love this production. Human. :II: Nature. is divided into essentially two parts. The first addresses the human aspect of life and consists of nine songs. The second part is composed of eight instrumental tracks and represents nature. This work of technical brilliance could be discussed for days.
The previous album, Endless Forms Most Beautiful ended with the song “The Greatest Show On Earth” which was about the evolution of life. It transitions brilliantly into the first song on the new album. “Music” begins with primitive sounds, thus representing the beginning of melody. “Noise”, which constantly bombards all of society, is expertly presented. The accompanying video is a tongue-in-cheek message about some all consuming ways we call attention to things using technology. NIGHTWISH has a self proclaimed perturbance with cell phones at concerts, not in general, but when overused, people rely on them to the point they don’t actually experience a live show. Point taken.
“Shoemaker”, an inspired song about Eugene Shoemaker, a planetary Geologist, is an exterrestrial, musical adventure which challenges Floor Jansen’s vocal abilities. After his death, even some of Shoemaker’s ashes were scattered on the Moon. Even his memorial capsule is engraved with Shakespeare’s words, and is incorporated into the song lyrics and spoken by Tuomas Holopainen’s wife, Johanna. Just massive content in a five minute song. “Harvest”, sung by Troy Donockley is a bit more subdued, with extremely tasteful bagpipe sections, It’s just a feel good tune that transcends into an almost Irish folklorical, \m/etal ambiance.
About human imagination, with its potential power, “Pan” is next. With the constant lyrical orchestral overtones and melodic changes from Jansen, the song is utterly enchanting. Total and complete nerd \m/etal. “How’s the Heart” was created next. I love this tune and Jansen’s vocals just bring me to tears. I have no words to adequately describe how much I love this effort. Of course with albums like this, you will find the references to endangered species and “Procession” does this, particularly with the lyric video which was released the same day as the album.
Ever wonder why it is so important for us to feel accepted? It may go back to our primitive “Tribal” days. With a deliberate drum track and primitive overtones they pound home this visualization. Human concludes with “Endlessness” and finds Marco Hietala on lead vocals with a bit more deliberate \m/etal flare. I think the weakest song on the album, but a nice harmony between he, Jansen and Donockley.
The nature portion of the album consists of eight primarily instrumental tunes and this is NIGHTWISH’s dedication to it. Being almost completely instrumental, and written by Holopainen, he, Donockley and Jansen actually perform minor roles. Most of the instrumental credit goes to THE PALE BLUE ORCHESTRA and numerous choir members. All songs are titled “All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World” and then individually identified as “-Vista, “-The Blue”, “-The Green”, “-Moors”, “-Aurorae”, “-Quiet As the Snow”, “-Anthropocene” and “-Ad Astra”.
Holopainen’s inspiration is that humans are specks of dust with all the other species on this pale blue rock, viewing people as primarily good. Some fans might see this album as dark, a criticism of human vanity or selfishness and others might see it as a symbolic connection, one with all things, an overall positive experience. While the album is not nearly as heavy as others in the past, creatively, it is probably their best, an adventure within each composition. I find it to be exceptional and a successful artistic stretch, much different from any of the predecessors. Salude’.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM
-MARK “\M/ETAL \M/ESSIAH” EHRLICH