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Nightwish – Once

Label: Roadrunner Records
Format: CD
Released: 2004
Reviewed By: Rich Catino

With their last release “Century Child”, Nightwish utilized a stronger guitar sound which I was hoping would carry over to “Once”, along with the addition of the male vocals provided by bass player Marco.  He does not sing on every track though does take over leads from time to time.   Keeping the heavy guitars and punchy rhythms has taken Nightwish’s music to the next level in their career.   Continued writing within their Gothic influenced style and angelic female vocals, this harder direction definitely gives Nightwish more balls and benefits their sound.


Starting with the first two tracks “Dark Chest of Wonders”, ‘Wish I Had An Angel” will surely show you the bands intentions that Metal is a prominent word in their vocabulary.   “Nemo”, as does bonus track “White Night Fantasy”, has the most in common with some of their previous songs with Tarja using her operatic side along with the choice of keyboard sounds.  Tarja does utilize her crooning tone less this time around and uses more of her mid range, all around a nice contrast to the hard arrangements. 

The first half of the disc, minus “Creek Mary’s Blood” which features American Indian instrumentation and influence, rocks hard.   “Romanticide” is heavy, has changes which keep things moving, the inclusion of the male vocals, and some shredding guitars both in the solo and rhythms.  Even the drumming that drives each track has a tribal base to its attack pounding the listener with the sounds of thunder.  The rest of the songs are less aggressive and ends things a calmer note, one being sung in the band’s native Finnish language.   “Live to Tell the Tale” ends things on an upbeat note, reminds me a bit of “Come Cover Me” from “Wishmaster”.

The U.S. version includes two bonus tracks as well as the video for “Wish I Had An Angel” which is a great representation of the band.  It is just your basic performance video but it is shot well with nice camera angels and perspective shots of each member. 

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