In the enchanting forests of the dark and mysterious Finnish countryside, the greatest Symphonic Metal of all time forged a brand new album with a new enchanted front woman. The epic soundtrack composer that is Tuomas Holopainen breathed new life into a classic and legendary band, bringing in immensely talented Floor Jansen as the new lady at the helm. Tuomas is known for mixing Classical themes into modern Metal with legendary bassist and vocalist Marco Hietala and epic shredder Emppu Vuorinen. The writing that goes into Nightwish albums is some of the best, like with “Once” and “Dark Passion Play”. They write epics like no other band in the world. Nightwish have this very distinct sound that definitely sounds masterfully crafted over the years, some might argue that sound is gone with Tarja. This album dares to say differently. The Finnish Symphonic Metal Band is back in 2015 with new and old sounds.
“Endless Forms Most Beautiful” is possibly the most anticipated album of the year, as it is an album with a brand new vocalist in an absolutely classic band. The feelings about Floor Jansen, ex After Forever and current Revamp vocalist, are certainly mixed when it comes to Nightwish. Whether people agree with her being at the helm of this band, Nightwish will do what is best for the band and the fans who will be with them to the end. I believe the new album is enough proof that Nightwish is still the same old excellent band. Yes, the vocals are a bit different, but the power and passion and tone of Floor fit seamlessly into the music of Tuomas and Marco. “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” is only the beginning of what Floor and company has to offer.
“Endless Forms Most Beautiful” begins with a pounding jam with honest lyrics that kick off an emotional album from start to finish Shudder Before the Beautiful. The vocals come out solid but so smooth and then building. The instrumentation is electric and full with an orchestra bringing the whole jam to a new level. Weak Fantasy is even heavier than the opener, discounting the rumours of a completely softened album with excellent harmonies from Floor and Marco. The intensity is calmed with the beautiful and moving Elan with intricate mature melodies that is similar to Ever Dream and Amaranth’s build up. This is a very moving track and is certainly meant to be a song you’d cherish and take from. Yours is an Empty Hope, man this track is one of the heaviest I have heard from Nightwish yet. It’s angry and grungy, filled with gritty vocals and deepened growls. This song shows Floor’s more intimidating side and her ability to dramaticize a song into something more intense and epic. My Walden is one of the most beautiful tracks on the album. It’s complex with Celtic influences and absolutely incredible vocals. The vulnerability of the track is what makes it so great.
The title track is even more complex with orchestral work all throughout and a choir ringing into the chorus. Floor’s vocals are accurately jabbing in the pocket with differentiated volumes, ringing along with Marco’s perfect harmonizing. The song opens up into a heavy full jam band with exquisite guitar work from Emppu. Definitely some of the most unique riffing on this album is in this track. Edema Ruh has a more Traditional Metal themes in a ballad-esque form. The song is slower and contains well placed harmonies, transcending melodies to a foreign land. It sounds like a folk song straight out of Finland with a Metal theme. It’s absolutely brilliant. “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” continues to mesmerize with ebbing and flowing with epicness and softness. This is not the strongest track on the album and doesn’t contain the power or beauty the rest of the album. The Eyes of Sharabat Gula is just a gorgeous interlude that breaks up the intensity of the album and forces you to fully enjoy every intermittent note. It is truly a beautiful track. However, the next track on the album is even more beautiful and as meaningful as any track on the album.
There are not enough words to truly describe the essence or the beauty of The Greatest Show on Earth. In Classical Music, every composer has their epic masterpiece, dawning the highlight of their periodical reign. The Greatest Show on Earth is Nightwish’s greatest masterpiece. The diversity of styles, building from slow beautiful operatic into powerful grungy dark vocals and heavy instrumentation. The brilliance of Tuomas comes out so outright in this final track as he covers millions of years of evolution in a 23 minute track. The track even covers a musical evolution on the 13th minute. I have never heard a more meaningful track than this one, as it includes the words of Richard Dawkins. After the evolution of the track, it develops into a begging and merciful chorus crying out “We were here”, after that it silences and ebbs into an outro. It leaves you in an entire new intellectual state of mind, full of emotion and ambition. This isn’t just a track you enjoy, it is a track to survive to.
“Endless Forms Most Beautiful” is an album that is so beautiful and rare in its impact, I don’t think another album like it will ever come again. Yes, not every track was all out and hammers forward, but the ballads are even better than the heavy tracks in this album. Floor Jansen is absolutely stunning on this album. Her vocal technique and prowess, but also passion are evolved and matured. Tuomas brought even more flavors and approaches to her voice that accurately prove she is perfect for this band. This album will bring Nightwish to new heights as they reinvent themselves and stun the masses with perfect composition.
Album Rating 10/10
Endless Forms Most Beautiful is currently #34 on the Billboard 200 Chart