Nightwish – From Wishes To Eternity

Released in 2000, this concert took place in the bands native Finland. The setting is intimate, the venue  – dark, the crowd obviously loves them some Nightwish.
The concert took place during the Wishmaster World Tour; a time when the band was gaining in popularity around the world (except in the U.S. where they remained virtually unheard of by many).
The show, filmed in Tampere, had two guest vocalists: Tappio Wilska of once Finntroll and now Sethian and Tony Kakko of Sonata Arctica.

The setlist is as follows:
01: The Kinslayer
02: She Is My Sin
03: Deep Silent Complete
04: The Pharoah Sails To Orion (w/ Tapio Wilska)
05: Come Cover Me
06: Wanderlust
07: Crimson Tide / Deep Blue Sea (instrumental performance)
08: Swanheart
09: Elvenpath
10: Fantasmic (pt. 3)
11: Dead Boys Poem
12: Sacrament Of Wilderness
13: Walking In The Air
14: Beauty And The Beast (w/ Tony Kakko)
15: Wishmaster

The band is tight onstage which led to speculation of lipsyncing. However, anyone who has heard the studio produced versions of the songs can easily tell that there are to many musical changes for live performance to warrant this.
Emppu Vuorinen (guitar) changes lead ins, adds personal touches and plays in parts he did not on some songs.
Tuomas Holopainen stops playing his keys to headbang with Tarja during FantasMic.
Tarja Turunen can be heard more clearly and hardly uses the falsetto she does on the recordings. She also adds vocals as instrument to Walking In The Air and yes, she can be heard cutting notes short and not hitting others.
Sami Vänskä adds in more technical bass playing in spots.
Jukka Nevalainen adds double bass kick to songs were there are none on the original recordings and plays much faster.
Too, there are the chnages to some songs themselves.
Crimson Tide/Deep Blue Sea is a live performace only. They have never recorded the song in the studio.
Swanheart removes the second chorus and acoustic guitar break beforehand and there is no sampling of the second vocals used in the studio version.
Elvenpath is more clear in all aspects, played a bit faster, and leads in, medley style, to FantasMic, which only the last part of the song is played.
Yeah, so, whoever believes that this is a prior concert recording being used, and/or lipsyncing – find the nearest 20 story building and jump!

Near the end of the Once Upon A Tour, I read in an interview with Tarja Turunen where she stated she would like to do a tour where there was more of the older songs performed. Watching this DVD I can see why, the band was having fun and the audience wasn’t fifteen feet away from the stage.
There were some pyrotechnics used, explosions… Taking a page from Trans-Siberian Orchestra, they made it snow inside while playing Walking In The Air.
This concert, just my opinion, had a magical quality to it. The only member who did not interact in some way with the audience was Sami Vänskä. One of the most endearing things that took place was Tarja’s use (or attempt) at utilizing American English – the slang was a little 70’s and the last bit was Austin Powers all the way. American English, as I like to say, the bastardized version of the Queen’s English, is extremely hard to get especially when using street slang; we don’t freak out anymore, we get fuckin’ sick. It added to the innocence that would be missing from the band after this tour.

To be honest, the first time I watched this DVD I damn near cried at the live performance of Swanheart, it is so much better live; the emotion comes across in a way that cannot be captured in a studio.

Hopefully one day soon, this DVD will be re-released in the U.S. as it is hard to find domestically and the import price is atrocious (trust me, I got the import! Also got a credit card solely to order stuff from Europe where, it seems, all the cool shit comes out, can you say What Lies Beneath box set?).

Nightwish – Century Child

Released in 2002, Century Child, the fourth full length studio album from Nightwish, was a return to a more personal theme than was apparent on Wishmaster.
Century Child has a major theme, that of the character Dead Boy/ Lonely Soul/ ocean soul, Tuomas Holopainen’s not alter-ego but the childlike innocence once inside him; although the charcter does not appear in every song.

Century Child is also the first album (but not song) recorded entirely with bassist  Marco Hietala, who also sings lead and co-lead vocals on a couple songs and backup vocals throughout the album.

It is hard to describe the album as anything but very focused and well produced. The band seem to have calmed down from youthful exuberance to seasoned musician (it’s no wonder why the DVD released after the ensuing tour was aptly titled End Of Innocence).

There are many stand-outs on this album both vocally and musically. Slaying The Dreamer has Tarja Turunen singing in lower tones with a hint of coming malice that crescendos to Marco Hietala’s angry demonic scream/growling tirade against the business end of music, be what it may.
Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Phantom Of The Opera is suprisingly excellent and even better live. Again, it is the malicelike quality, this time in the male vocals of Hietala, that bring a depth to the song not heard in the play or the movie version. After all, there is a reason people are afraid of the phantom and Nightwish touched upon that reason better than anyone has.

Tracklisting for Century Child:
01: Bless The Child*
02: End Of All Hope*
03: Dead To The World*
04: Ever Dream
05: Slaying The Dreamer
06: Forever Yours*
07: Ocean Soul*
08: Feel For You
09: The Phantom Of The Opera
10: Beauty Of The Beast

Released with the the single of Bless The Child were two extra songs not on the album, Lagoon and The Wayfarer. Lagoon, to me, is almost another Ocean Soul and has a sound reminiscent of Sleepwalker.

(The astrix [*] at the end of a title denotes that the Dead Boy/ Lonely Soul/ Ocean Soul is mentioned and/or explained within the lyrics)

Tuomas Holopainen has said that the song Ocean Soul, for personal reasons, has never and will never be performed during a live performance.

Within Temptation – The Heart Of Everything

You know what’s funny? Almost three years after its release this album took off in the U.S. because of one small use of the song All I Need in the television show The Vampire Diaries.
What is even more strange is that the CD store that I frequent had to ask me why Within Temptation CD’s began flying off the shelves. Stranger than that even is I knew why and I have never watched an episode of The vampire Diaries because I do not watch television and had never heard of the show until WT‘s song was featured on it. Weird? I know.

The Heart Of Everything is Within Temptation‘s 5th studio release (counting the E.P. The Dance); the bands 4th full length album.
I have listened to WT since Mother Earth (2nd) and the band has been moving towards a less symphonic sound and to a more guitar oriented sound with each release. They do claim that they wanted to achieve a balancing, if you will, between the symphony and the band and that they did that with this release.
All critiquing aside, out of the 11 songs presented (I am not counting a certain song actually released on The Silent Force. And, I am counting What Have You Done only once) there are nine songs that I never tire of listening to.
This is/was a major breakthrough release for the band as it saw them chart in the U.S., achieving #103 on Billboard 200, #16 on Billboard Hard Rock, and #1 on Billboard Heatseekers. Although they have not broken the 100 yet, there next release, from what I have heard of it, might break this band in a big way in the U.S. and that is hard to do unless you started on Disney or Idol/esque type shows.

My only gripe about THoE is the lack of lead guitar playing. What there is of it is buried under rhythym or doesn’t climax. But, Robert Westerholt (guitar) and Sharon Den Adel (vocals) are very good at songwriting and their vision, to borrow a lyric from Jon Bon Jovi, is so big any blind man could see.

Sharon Den Adel is a self trained vocalist and her style is fearless (see the DVD Black Symphony. Seriously, one concert and she sang over 20 songs). In my opinion, this lady has no problem being touted with the likes of Tarja Turunen, Floor Jansen, Simone Simons, and Liv Kristine Espenæs Krull; all extremely talented metal vocalists.

The Heart Of Everything track listing (Roadrunner Records release):

01: The Howling
02: What Have You Done (featuring Keith Caputo) (U.S. single edit)
03: Frozen
04: Our Solemn Hour
05: The Heart Of Everything
06: Hand Of Sorrow
07: The Cross
08: Final Destination
09: All I Need
10: Stand My Ground (previously released on TSF)
11: The Truth Beneth The Rose
12: Forgiven
13: What Have You Done (extended version)

Also, if you do not know this band you can check on YouTube.

A 17 year old Tarja Turunen singing MJ’s “Ben”

I found these sights: &

The video they have posted on YouTube is grainy and the sound quality leaves much to be desired but you can tell it is Tarja.

Upon first seeing the video myself I wondered just who got a hold of the segment and how they got a hold of it. It is not something one gets there hands on easily.
Maybe Tarja will be embarrassed by the clip just a little but everyone started somewhere.
All the video shows is a very young girl who appears self-concious and shy of her voice singing a piece of a song, and the smile at the end of the clip sings louder than her voice.

Why it surfaced is beyond me but it is still enjoyable to see and hear when that beautiful voice Tarja has was beginning.

Cradle Of Filth: Creatures From The Black Abyss tour

Cradle Of Filth headlined this travelling tour with three other bands playing with them Turisas, Daniel Lioneye, and Nachtmystium.
The show was at Knitting factory in Spokane, Washington.

By the time we arrived at the venue, after checking into a hotel, Turisas was finishing up their set. I cannot comment on them live but it sounded okay from outside the venue.

Daniel Lioneye, they who do the theme song for Bam Margera and are a side project of the band HIM, put out some good music. My only complaint was the guitar could not be heard over the bass and drums, but the singer growled and screeched with the enthusiasim and roused the crowd between songs.
As the second band for the night and being not very well known, they played to an audience that had no idea what to expect from them. As their set gained momentum the crowd clearly liked what they heard and reacted by forming a mosh pit (small… real small and too many high elbows) and screaming in return to the band.

Nachtmystium did their own soundcheck and, sorry guys, even I could tell from the audience that the main microphone was not properly teched. It sounded low in volume. When I say I could not here the first thing out of the vocal/guitarists mouth over the music, I am not lying and it was not until midway through the song that I could hear it along with the music playing.
Nachtmystium plays with a death metal sound but remind me most of the bands that play and are popular in Portland, Oregon’s death metal scene (kind of trippy death metal). The thing I really liked about this band was the rock and roll rhythym’s they used unbeknownst to normal listeners (I checked the chording and picking and was right; riffage from out the early days of rock).
Aside from the mic faux-pas the band is solid and performs tightly onstage. They do have history behind them and although extreme metal might never be accepted as the norm, this tour should see them attain more popularity in the genre.

Cradle Of Filth ruled the night! I personally have been wanting to catch a live show of this band since Cruelty And The Beast came out in the late 1990’s.
Dani and the Filth are seasoned touring musician’s who sound DAMNED GOOD live. The show included many songs released in the bands early career prior to the Midian album (they skip Midian and Damnation And A day entirely) and songs released on the Nymphetymine, Thornography, Godspeed On The Devil’s Thunder, and their latest release Darlky, Darkly Venus Aversa.
Of course the crowd was in to it, screaming, fist pumping, and head banging. Another mosh pit started up (In all honesty I have to say the mosh-pit was weak. Missoula, Montana mosher’s make Spokane mosher’s look like they are playing in a sandbox at kindergarten.) and Dani Filth and band kept up the aggressive sounds.
I was impressed that Dani Filth actually screeches in the high pitch he does on studio albums rather than growling them out and that the band encourages the audience to get wild and does not just stand on stage and play.
I really need to see this band live again!

side note – I am guessing that there was around 500 people at the show. To the lady selling Cradle Of Filth merchandise; this show could have done that and likely better in turnout had it been held in Missoula. Check out 96.3 FM – The Blaze (Missoula’s Metal station) and see what we in Montana listen to.

Another SideNote: So Luke an I are jammin’ Nymphetamine in the parking lot of G-Funk… guy drives up and screams, “Cradle of Filth! F**k Yeah!”. Montana is made of METAL! (14 Feb 2011).

Nightwish – Wishmaster

, the second or third album by nightwish, is somewhat different from its predecessor Oceanborn in that the style was simpler; the arrangements less complex, the vocals are more metal driven without abandoning the classic singing style of the first two albums, the guitars, although still complex (Emppu is a rhythm GOD!), move over to allow the keyboard more prominence in the songs. In total, the album is less geared toward operatic mini-epic’s than it is straight rock based metal. There is also the subtle element of sex within a couple of songs but it never gets into the tasteless realm.

Wishmaster contains many live mainstays, songs that are usually performed in concert by the band, such as The Kinslayer – a song whose lyrics are based on the Columbine High School shootings that contains actual statements made by the shooters. WishmasterTuomas’ getting lost within the fantasy books he’s read and watched. An audience favorite that usually is performed with alot of pyro and explosions. Dead Boy’s Poem – a kind of autobiography of Toumas. Also the song that set the band in the musical direction they would take with later albums.

Track listing:
01: She Is My Sin
02: The Kinslayer
03: Come Cover Me
04: Wanderlust
05: Two For Tragedy
06: Wishmaster
07: Bare Grace Misery
08: Crownless
09: Deep Silent Complete
10: Dead Boy’s Poem
11: FantasMic

Of note, FantasMic is not only based on Disney’s Fantasia but mentions many different character’s from Disney movies over the years. I think the song lyrics are an endearing homage to movies many of us have enjoyed as escape from reality even if they do end after an hour and a half; the journey, however short, is still worth it.

Wishmaster, compared to Oceanborn, and later, Century Child is an album that is quite stand alone in its music. It seems to me that Tuomas was trying for a sound that he did not achieve until the Once album. It is nice to know that he will return to explore, more in-depth, things that maybe he did not feel completely satisfied with rather than continuing on, over and over again, with each new album another attempt at perfecting what it is he feels he needs to get right with because the bands next release, Century Child, is a sort of return to Oceanborn like composing.

Nightwish – Oceanborn

For a Bio on Nightwish you can either wiki them or go here:

This is not a song by song critique.

Tuomas, the keyboard player and main songwriter of Nightwish said on the End Of Innocence DVD that he considered Oceanborn to be Nightwish’s first album since Angel’s Fall First was comprised of mostly demo material.
I disagree.
A.F.F. is a good album and sounds like a first album – raw, unpolished, and hungry whereas Oceanborn, musically and production-wise, blows A.F.F. away while maintaining a raw and hungry feel to it that has not been present in a Nightwish release since Oceanborn. In my opinion it was the last album Nightwish did with a near-perfect balance of guitar, keyboard, and symphonic sound.

The album starts heavy from the first song and remains mostly so throughout (Emppu Vuorinen, guitars, did not like a certain instrumental song and I have to agree with him but only for the reason that it is different from the rest of Oceanborn; it doesn’t fit).
That the band was trying to prove themselves is evident. As a first or even second album, Oceanborn shows a professionalism in musicianship that many bands achieve on later releases.
There are both truths and rumors that recording the album was extremely hard for the then young musicians who pushed themselves to perform what many fans consider their masterpiece.
 – One rumor is that Tarja Turunen, vocalist and renowned Soprano, was in tears because the recording sessions of the vocals was overly demanding and taxing and like the rest of the band, she was pushing herself to a phenomenal level of excellence.
There are various different versions of this release; the track listing on the version I have is:
01: Stargazers
02: Gethsemane
03: Devil & The deep dark Ocean
04: Sacrament Of Wilderness
05: Passion & The Opera
06: Swanheart
07: Moondance
08: The Riddler
09: The Pharoah Sails To Orion
10: Walking In The Air
11: Sleeping Sun
12: Nightquest
13: Sleeping Sun (live)
14: Swanheart (live)
15: The Pharoah Sails To Orion (live)

Oceanborn is a heavy and beautiful album. It is no wonder, after listening to it, that Nightwish became so huge in Europe. What is sad is that when they started getting a bit of recognition in the States with their fifth album Once they rarely ever performed live versions of the songs on this CD.

Sleeping Sun was the bands first major hit and was written for a compilation of four songs that were about a solar eclipse that took place in 1999 and was added to this release on a different pressing and later updated for a best of release in 2005.

Tapio Wilska, ex-Finntroll and now in Sethian, sings the male lead vocals on Devil & The deep Dark Ocean and Pharoah Sails To Orion.