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album reviews and artist reflections
symphonic metal-edged rock
While many symphonic rock enthusiasts thought that all great music comes from the United Kingdom or America, an ever-expanding audience base in Finland has launched the symphonic metal band Nightwish to international acclaim. We were initially introduced to their music in March 2000.
Our feature incorporates an exclusive interview with the band's operatic lead vocalist Tarja Turunen, conducted in the midst of the band's hectic international touring schedule. This feature includes reviews of the four Nightwish albums, their mini-CD from 2001 and also incorpoates further comments on the band's development and live performances with contributions from two of our regular correspondents.
Angels Fall First
Over The Hills And Far Away
In addition to their stunning lead vocalist, Nightwish is Tuomas Holopainen (synthesizers and vocals), Erno "Emppu" Vuorinen (electric, acoustic and bass guitars), Jukka Nevalainen (drums) and Sami Vänskä (bass). A lineup change in 2002 introduced Marco Hietala on bass replacing Sami. The band's roots date back to July 1996 and a range of highly successful albums have emerged since then.
From their website, "The idea of Nightwish was "born" in July 1996 at midnight when Tuomas was spending a night with his friends around a campfire. The first three songs, which were acoustic mood music, were recorded between October and December 1996. At that time the band had three members; Tuomas, Tarja and Emppu. After that we wanted to try what the music would sound like if drums were added (Jukka came to the band) and an electric guitar was used instead of an acoustic one. After a couple of weeks of training we went to studio in April 1997. At that time we recorded seven songs which can be found on the limited edition of the album Angels Fall First.
"In May 1997 Nightwish signed a recording contract with Spinefarm for two records. In August Nightwish went to studio and recorded four new songs. Before the release of Angels Fall First, a single called "The Carpenter" was released and at its best it was number eight on the official singles chart in Finland. Angels Fall First was released in early November and it was at its best number 31 on the official album chart in Finland."
Nightwish's sound is unique in the way it blends the aggressive heavy metal sounds of electric guitars and lush sythesizer- based symphonic and orchestral arrangements with operatic soprano vocals. All lyrics are sung in English and the vocals are mixed way up, in your face, the way Musical Discoveries' readers seem to like them. Tarja's voice is stunning in range, power and overall energy. Certain to appeal to both traditional rock and progressive enthusiasts, the band's first album is a masterwork worthy of significant exploration—you'll be hooked. All three albums artwork include lyrics and band photos. Like the production of the music itself, each package accompanying the compact disc builds on those that precede it.
Tarja told us about her background. "I have worked with music, especially classical music, my whole life. I started with piano when I was six years old; at the time I studied in music school. When I was 17 years old, I started to sing classical music and opera fullfilled my life straight away. I applied to Sibelius Academin one year later and I was accepted. Nightwish came into my life at the same time. I haven't ever before even listened heavy metal, so the band changed my life quite a bit."
She continued, "I have been singing classical music for five years now. I have had three female opera singers as my teachers among these years. In classical singing it is very hard to say how my voice could develop in the future. I mean when I started to sing classical music I was very high lyrical soprano. My voice changed a lot when I started my studies in Sibelius Academin. I wasn't a soprano anymore, I became like mezzosoprano, a dramatic one. I have practiced a lot, so now I can say again: I am a soprano! I need to sing three hour per day anyway."
When asked about music she finds herself listening to frequently, she responded, "This a very funny thing, because I can not mention any special album or artist which I could like the most. It is very very hard. But I like to listen to composers like Vangelis, Kitaro, Brahms from lied music and Puccini from the opera music and movie soundtracks."
Angels Fall First. The debut album from Nightwish, Angels Fall First (Spinefarm (Finland) SPI47CD, 1997), features nine tracks concluding with the epic four part "Lappi" (Lapland). Our review is contributed by Musical Discoveries correspondent Mauri Osterholm (Finland).
Compared to the later ones, Angels Fall First is still on the way to the real Nightwish sound. Their first album shows the roots of the band's style. Actually it is amazing how all the different styles can be found on the album, but how these have migrated more towards one Oceanborn and Wishmaster that much. Nighwish's debut does not really bring you the idea of a pure heavy rock band; this album has much more melody and various instrument sounds than a rock band traditionally has. [Ed. Note. The band's first album is a blend of heavy metal, progressive and symphonic rock featuring soprano, operatic style vocals. Their style develops further in all three of these dimensions in the later albums.]
The origin for the whole album was a group of young people who knew each other from their school days. Tuomas Holopainen, the song writer, had spent a lot of his time with writing for this project and was heavily influenced by the night and Finnish nature for the lyrics. Just have a look on them and you realize some of the thoughts he has at the camp fire. Still today Tuomas pays a lot of attention on lyrics and is listening audience feedback for that. As a composer, Tuomas clearly has an idea on Angels Fall First of which way to lead Nightwish. The arrangements are there, yet not as perfect as on the later albums. It is a typical first album from great talents still on search for their own sound.
We hear Tuomas also singing on this album, but the contrast between his and Tarja Turunen's vocal is far too clear. The later albums do not include his voice anymore, as he comments, " Think of yourself singing with Tarja. Challenge is just too much. Better not to spoil the atmosphere her soprano brings into our music."
"Know Why The Nightingale Sings" starts to be the Nightwish we know today. But perhapps the most touching song on the album is "Lappi" (Part I-Erämaajärvi)-wish you all could understand Finnish! This song has an exeptional combination of music and imagination. [Ed. Note. The tremendous Nightwish track "Tutankhamen" shares the melody with the main theme of the Crimes Of Passion original soundtrack, written by Rick Wakeman.]
Angels Fall First is a milestone in Finnish rock history and why not worldwide? Until that nobody realized what power is hidden in the combination of heavy guitar and soprano singing. Still, there are all those sentimental parts added, making this album allmost impossible to cathegorize in any way. It's not opera, but it's not heavy rock either - it's somehow otherworld-ish! Angels Fall First is a must listen before any other Nightwish album today or tomorrow. Have a nice time at your campfire!—Mauri Osterholm
We were further enlightened about details of Tarja's singing from Mauri's correspondence. "There is a great staccato-singing part on "Passion and The Opera" from Oceanborn. This idea came from the film The Fifth Element, where that alien-lady is singing on stage. It is a very suitable part for Tarja, allthough she says that she had not trained that kind enough that time."
He continued, "Generally speaking, classical singing is said to be quite difficult, but according to Tarja, Nightwish material is even more difficult. Additionally there are so many other elements to notice: lyrics must be heard clearly, smoke on stage, temperature and humidity at the concert place, movements, etc. Also, one beer before concert would take the voice down and that's it." He continued, "Opera singing divides the opinions of audience. Normally heavy rock is accepted with male voice only."
Tarja told us about her influences. "Because I am a classical singer, I don't have any particular influences when I am singing with Nightwish. You know that there aren't too many of us—enough crazy classical singers who are ready to sing heavy metal. I interpret as I like, I think I am quite lucky because of that." She continued, "Before releasing a new album, I work with our composer and lyricist, Tuomas Holopainen, in the studio for a few weeks. The feeling in the studio is different for every song. Before the tour with the new album, I practice with some tapes at home and then with the guys together for a couple couple of days."
Tarja also told us about the differences between Nightwish and her classical influences. "The other thing is when I am performing classical music. It depends on the song I am singing and my mood at the time. There are many sopranos in classical circles that I like to listen, because the listening process is itself some kind of learning process for me. Every time I learn something new. I can mention sopranos like arita Mattila from Finland and the mezzosoprano Cecilia Bartoli from Italy—they are great singers. I am used to working with classical musicians, a symphonic orchestra or a smaller chamber orchestra. And I work with my pianist every week."
Tarja told us about recording the albums, "The studios I have worked in are quite different. With Nightwish I have sung in Finnfox Studios in Helsinki and in Cave Rock Studio in Kitee. In Helsinki we have the best guy who is working with us. His name is Mikko Karmila. He knows how to work with my voice and that is very important, because it isn't obvious for everyone." How very true. We've heard similar comments from other vocalists. For example, Annie Haslam insists on working with Denny Bridges—he has spent years engineering her vocal work and does so like nobody else. Tarja continued, "In classical music the recordings have always done from the live performance. I have sung with Savonlinna Opera festival choir and as a solist in National Opera in Helsinki."
Oceanborn. The second album from Nightwish is a significant development over the band's debut. Entitled Oceanborn (Spinefarm (Finland) SPI67SP), our version is the eleven-track edition with bonus track "Sleeping Sun" included. The Japanese special edition includes "Nightquest" instead. A notable departure from the debut album is the orchestral contribution from guest artists Esa Lehtinen (flute), Plamen Dimov (violin), Kaisli F. Kaivola (violin), Markku Palola (viola), Erki Hirvikangas (cello, wilska). The added strings create a marked difference in the band's sound. As with the debut, the songs are written by Nightwish with the exception of the tremendious cover track "Walking In The Air" (Theme from "The Snowman").
The evolution of Nightwish's sound is evident from the opening track "Stargazers." Here strings and flute are immediately featured in the instrumental arrangements, never buried within the electric guitar or keyboard excursions, but equally powerful in all respects. The power of Jukka's drums is also immediately noticable, but not overpowering. While the band rocks in "Gethsemane" and fast paced "Devil & The Deep Dark Ocean," orchestral arrangements perfectly accompany the sound with piano textures, strings and flute excursions complimenting effectively. "Sacrament of Wilderness" and "Passion And The Opera" while relatively short in running time, are epic in their orchestral synthesizer-based arrangements blending a lovely lead vocals with driving guitars and drums.
While some enthusiasts may find it difficult to accept the concept that operatic soprano vocals work well with agressive symphonic metal edged rock music, we can firmly attest that they do. Tarja's power, range and overall energy work quite well. Vocal effects in several of the thematic tracks provide further enhancement to the mood evoked in the listener. "Swanheart" is a significant departure from all Nightwish tracks that precede it. Accompanied primarily by strings and synthesizer, initially, this operatic ballad features Tarja's lovely lead vocal; multitracked harmonies in the chorus add to the texture and overall style of the song. Further instrumentals are added to Tarja's vocalise as the song builds to its conclusion.
"Moondance" is a lovely instrumental blending fast-paced Russian-style dancing music with a lighter Nordic string and flute bridge. A clear favourite is "The Riddler," which like "Stargazers" blends metal-edged guitar with orchestral synthesizer and strings to provide a well-balanced instrumental backup to Tarja's lovely lead vocal melody. The lush arrangements are also outstanding. Influenced by the male vocal part, "The Pharoh Sails To Orion," like "Devil & The Deep Dark Ocean" is a serious heavy metal-oriented track, yet it manages to effectively blend layers of operatic vocals with fast-paced keyboard work (similar to "Moondance").
The album concludes with the symphonic ballad "Sleeping Sun" which shares its melody with another piece of music that we've been unable to identify during the last six months we've been listening to it. We were most impressed with how the layers of vocals in the chorus and building electric guitars perfectly complimented the lead vocal without destroying the ballad texture of the track. The guitar solo during the instrumental bridge is well played and highly notable.
While the band's debut album provides a great introduction to their sound, the development in their follow-up album—writing, production and arrangement—is significant. Clearly a superb effort in all regards, the album is a must listen and will likely be one of our all time favourites—Russ Elliot.
Correspondent Mauri Osterholm reported, "The fantastic song "Sleeping Sun" is one of two Nightwish has made on video. Tarja is dressed with a long skirt walking and singing in the Finnish countryside. The video was made in four days in the forest, on hills, on the riverside, with thousands of mosquitos disturbing her all the time. No other people or instruments are on the video-just her." He continued, "Nightwish is not going to make any further videos at the moment, since Tuomas feels that it is just waste of money at this stage of the band's success." Another—and somewhat less well known—promo video was done for "The Carpenter." This video and the one for "Sleeping Sun" are both included on the band's 2001 DVD From Wishes To Eternity-Live.
The band has also thought about their image. Mauri told us, "They do not look like typical heavy-guys and they want to keep it that way. Main role is for Tarja on stage, others stand still. Tuomas admits that the whole thing would not work without Tarja." He continued, "Someone has called their production as 'hero-heavy.' Tuomas says they do not want to agree with that and are going more to symphonic direction anyway."
Wishmaster. The latest album from Nightwish charted number one in Finland for many weeks following its initial release in March 2000. Entitled Wishmaster (Spinefarm (Finland) SPI87CD, 2000), the album's eleven tracks demonstrate the significant development of the band's style in several dimensions. The lovely male choir parts on Wishmaster were arranged by composer and songwriter Ville Laaksonen, a regular contributor to discussion pages at both Miriam Stockley's Official and the Unofficial Adiemus websites. Flute is again provided by guest Esa Lehtinen but the actual strings used in Oceanborn have been replaced by additional synthesizer arrangements that work equally well here. Our review is contributed by correspondent Nate Couch (Texas USA).
From the very beginning of Wishmaster, you sense the limitless energy of Nightwish—from Tarja's stunning vocals to Jukka's percussion work. I have listened to each cut on this CD several times and find myself reveling in the strength and quality of the muscianship. I have several favorites of course, among which are "She is my Sin," "The Kinslayer," "Wishmaster" and most of all "Deep Silent Complete;" I love Tarja's vocal work on this one-beautiful and haunting at the same time.
Tarja's voice reaches in and pulls out emotion from me (not an easy task). There is sadness from "Bare Grace Misery" and "Dead Boy's Poem" to passion and fire from "She is My Sin" and "Deep Silent Complete." The operatic quality of her voice melds well with the band and comes at you full force. What I like most is the clarity of her voice. She holds nothing back so get ready. When I hear her sing I oftentimes think of Mary Fahl of October Project fame, though Tarja has a more haunting tone, which I like very much.
Then there is Jukka's drum work. This guy is simply awesome in my most humble of opinions. At times I get the impression he is nuclear powered and that he will never stop. He plays fast and hard, much like he is being pursued by a wild pack of hounds, but he works well with Tarja's vocal strength. The two complement each other exceptionally well, most notably on "She Is My Sin" and "Wishmaster."
As for Tuomas, Sami, and Empuu one can not forget their work for they are equally solid musicians. Tuomas is most notable on "FantasMic," "The Kinslayer," and "Crownless." Sami and Empuu are featured heavily on The "Kinslayer" and "Deep Silent Complete."
The album's one ballad is entitled "Two For Tragedy." The track builds on "Swanheart" from Oceanborne but is even more orchestral with layers of vocals providing a lovely texture in the chorus, deeply contrasting the soaring operatic lead in the verses.
I am not a big fan of goth rock, but try to keep an open mind on such things. I am glad I do, for if it I did not, I would have missed this extraordinary CD. Nightwish has a new fan here in the Lone Star State. I will be checking out more of their CD's. Next, Oceanborn...—Nate Couch
Mauri reported on the band's preparation for live performances and rehearsals in general. "The boys practice the band's songs together while Tarja uses a taped version for herself. Shortly before concerts when they get all together few times, Tarja arrives so to say 'when the table is served'."
He concluded his comments on Tarja, "She gets lots of e-mail all the time. Offers to meet, even marriage! Many of the contacts come from South America too. Men there are really interested in nordic female magic! So far this has been good, but still no remarkable cadidates; all concentration is for this year's international tour.
Nightwish In Concert! Nightwish tour extensively and their live performances are said to be among the best in symphonic rock music today. Our review of their live performance on 31 May 2000 is provided by correspondent Mauri Osterholm (Finland).
Nightwish on stage sound exactly same as on CD. The tuning of all instruments and Tarja's vocal was very well balanced. The Helsinki concert at "Nosturi"-club was sold out and the audience was everything between traditional heavy-metal lovers and more concervative music listeners. Amazing how wide the coverage can be with Nightwish! The place itself is truly the center of finnish rock-music.
This powerful opera-experience is definately more for stadium size concerts. But also here you felt the sky breaking and taking you up on a journey of your lifetime. "Nosturi"-club was really not giving Nightwish all the musical space they really can fill. Tarja's voice over all the instrumental work of colleagues left nobody cold. Tuomas seemed to be one single piece of music instrument with his synthesizer. All the band members show such a positive attitude before the audience, that you really feel a deep dedication from their performance. You were taken by them and you could do nothing.
The total 1.5 hour concert was mainly based on their newest album Wishmaster and the previous one Oceanborn. A couple of songs were taken from Angels Fall First."Nosturi"-club was one of the local Finnish concerts before Nightwish start their international tour in South America and Europe. The presence of international press made its own atmosphere here. Perhaps this was the most important show on Nightwish's career so far. I can warmly recommend this opera-heavy live experience for music listeners, who every now and then need to float on higher volumes, with a great soprano on lead vocal!—Mauri Osterholm
We asked Tarja what she thought of the band's live performances. She put it very succinctly, "With Nightwish we have very impressive shows. Our shows are full of energy and it is kicking." She also told us about her classical work, "In classical performances I am always very nervous. I want to sing as perfect as it is possible. I sing in churches, big halls etc."
Over The Hills And Far Away. (Mini-CD) In mid-2001, Nightwish released a four-track studio recording on Spinefarm Records (SP118CD) with new material for their Finnish audiences. The tracks are released with selected material from Wishes to Eternity-Live (review) in other territories. Two new Nightwish tracks are surrounded by a cover tune and a remake of a track from the band's debut album.
Our review of Over The Hills And Far Away is a joint project with Scandanavian correspondent Mauri Osterholm. The CD opens with the Gary Moore cover and title track "Over The Hills and Far Away." We both thought it was a clean track without special surprises other than Tarja singing in a lower key than usual. Mauri thought Emppu's solos were somewhat restrained, perhaps to retain a closer similarity to Moore's original material.
"10th Man Down" is an all new track with a new melody but is typically Nightwish in its construction, especially the introduction, reminscent of "Dead Boy's Poem" from Wishmaster. Other Nightwish sounds are clearly evident including choir sounds. Mauri noticed Jukka's perfect arrangement of the driving percussion and the changing rhythms. Tarja's vocals are especially crystalline and textures achieved through layering contribute to the stunning arrangement. Guitar solos and Wilska's grunting-style male vocals remind the listener that Nightwish is a symphonic metal band.
Tarja sings in a lower key once again in "Away." Surely to be included in the next Nightwish ballad collection, guitars in this slow moving metal-edged tune blend perfectly with Tarja's vocalise and soaring vocal lead. Mauri added, "Overall the track is very easy and even 'floating'. The melody goes in several directions. There could have been alternative ideas as the song was written, but we hear how it was finally decided for this song."
A new version of "Astral Romance" (originally released on Angels Fall First) concludes the mini-CD. Dedicated listeners will want to compare the new arrangement with the original. We especially liked the way Tarja's vocals were mixed. Mauri adds, "The opening is built very tightly and it's different than the first version; bass is not that loose for example. Overall I find this is more the sound we hear on Oceanborn and Wishmaster and the studio has played a remarkable role here." He continued, "I like Emppu's guitar play on this track, one of the smoothest solos he has done, very enjoyable. Personally I prefer this sound of Tuomas' keyboards, but some may value the original version higher." Mauri added, "Including Tony Kakko from Sonata Arctica was a wise decision by Nightwish. He is one of the best male finnish metal-edged vocalists today-not a typical screamer or a grunt servant."
The mini-CD's artwork is a foldout of a map. "The style," Mauri says, "is similiar to a famous finnish game African Star. Sami must have been playing a lot of it since the influence is to see here too. Ten points for Sami for the idea! There are many details on the map that one will recognize either to be familiar from some other connections or just to be related to the band. Hmmm...see Germany, do you think we should be worried about Nightwish's european tours?" Certainly worth a trans-Atlantic journey, this mini-CD is a must for all Nightwish enthusiasts and an excellent introduction to the band—a must listen!
Century Child.When I first read the introduction letter accompanying our copy of Century Child (Spinefarm (Finland) SPCD047, 2002) I did not pay lot of attention to the text saying "Nightwish has taken a notable step forward with their new album." It sounded like the usual promotional text we are used to seeing widely just as interest stimulator.
The first listens did not open the album as easily as the previous ones, but as we all know, this is usually a good sign. But the letter was right and we have a very welcome album here. Especially the two albums before Century Child have presented us Nightwish as they are and that sound has made the heavenly feeling of flying high "Over The Hlls" and so on--Century Child is obviously born under high pressure and expectations. The band survived change of one of their members; composer Tuomas Holopainen says "a lot of personal anxiety was involved when writing the new songs."
Century Child includes new sounds and elements. You can hear the participation of Joensuu City Orchestra, Tuomaschoir and for the first time a male vocalist together with the stunning Tarja Turunen. The new band member Marco Hietala (bass) sings the male vocal parts.
All the new elements compliment the original Nightwish-style composing we are familiar with, but overall listening brings you the feeling of an album slightly harder rocking than the previous ones, despite the balancing of classical elements. One tiny detail supporting the heavy line is the somewhat distorted bass sound. The album remains well arranged and sounds great!
Musical Discoveries focus on Tarja Turunen as female lead vocalist of the band has been a continuous enjoyment ever since we learned to know their music. Her classical background and ongoing studies in Germany show her again as professional soprano loaning her voice for metal edged rock, although this was originally not to be at all her area of music as she publicly admits.
Tarja will continue her classical studies a couple more years and sadly this puts a break in Nightwish's tour plans. We first noticed Tarja to sing a wider scale and lower tones when she co-operated with Beto Vazquez Infinity album last year (feature). We find the same on Century Child. The duets that Tarja and Marco sing are one of the highlights of this album and a good example of perfect success is the cover of "Phantom of the Opera."
Century Child went immediately to platinum in Nightwish's home country of Finland. This is the ultimate local record of any artist making it in only two weeks. The album is at the top of our ratings for bands of similar style with a female lead vocalist. Nightwish has continuously shown their capability to create new elements out of surrounding dimensions and they certainly do it here again for our pleasure.
In "Bless The Child," the choir at opening is very nice, and it is generally a well arranged piece. A mixed rock beat, not typical for Nightwish underscores "End of Hope" which follows. Marco makes his debut on vocals in "Dead To The World" one of my favourite songs. The harder speed metal track "Slaying The Dreamer" is a huge departure.
"Ever Dream" is the first single from the album (review) that has had a lot of play time at our local radio; rich percussion is added to the typical Nightwish sound. We also enjoyed "Forever Yours." Another favourite is "Ocean Soul," a nice ballad backed with a rock beat. Tarja told us "this is one of the most enjoyable to sing." A nice duet and equally enjoyable is "Feel For You." But it is "Phantom Of The Opera" that generates a real wow!--the duet works fine.
"Bless The Child" is the second single from the album. The original (Spinefarm (Finland) spi60cd, 2002) version has a radio-edit and album version of the title and a previouisly unreleased track entitled "Lagoon." We especially enjoyed the unreleased track. It is somewhat lighter than the heavier style found on Century Child, Tarja's voice soars above symphonic arrangements and layers of vocals compliment the rhythmic textures. It is indeed a great track.
Two other versions of the single were pressed. A limited edition DVD version includes the title, "The Wayfarer" and "Lagoon" as well as music videos of "Over The Hills And Far Away," "Bless The Child" and a 24-minute interview. The French version (Drakkar (France) 640298 2, 2002) contains the same three audio tracks as the original plus "The Wayfarer" and the two music videos from the limited Spinefarm DVD edition. The well-produced music videos can be enjoyed in Windows Media Player at full screen resolution.
The album concludes with the multi-part "Beauty of the Beast." Emppu's great guitar work is featured here and at five minutes running the track has a very powerful sound and really breaks the skies. There are two editions of the album available. The limited edition includes two CDs with the second having bonus material essential to serious Nightwish fans.
Read further reviews, listen to soundbites and order the album from amazon.com here. I rate the album third against the earlier Nightwish albums with Oceanborn and Wishmaster above it. This is primarily because I personally prefer and enjoy the less hard sound of those albums and secondly after so much Nightwish listening the criticism hits hard on every part you think you have heard from them already before.--Mauri Osterholm, Scandinavian Bureau Chief
In closing we asked Tarja about the web and its influence on Nightwish's development. She told us, "The internet has been very helpful. I need to answer many fan mails and interviews every day, so without the internet, it could be impossible. I love my job anyway, so I can not complain about it!" She concluded, "Our website is great and for sure it helps us to reach new fans. I have noticed that almost every day thousands of people are visiting there."
Our Nightwish recordings are anything but a flash in the CD player
at Musical Discoveries' headquarters. They have been played extensively
all are—considered amongst our best
finds—actually remain in heavy rotation here. Visitors will find
lots of further information, loads of photos, other reviews, and
mp3 soundbites at the band's official
Angels Fall First from amazon.com
here. Order Oceanborn from amazon.com
The full length Nightwish albums and their mini-CD are each symphonic rock
masterpieces. Tarja's stunning vocal talent is perfectly complimented by
orchestral arrangements. Currently available as imports to territories outside
Finland and now as domestic product in America on Century Media, Nighwish's
CDs are worth a cross-country or even a trans-atlantic journey. Among the best
material we've heard, these albums are all a—must listen!
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