From left to right: Emppu, Troy, Tuomas, Floor
Nightwish is a Symphonic Power Metal
band from Finland formed in 1996. It was formed by Tuomas Holopainen while he was sitting besides a campfire. They originally started as an acoustic-only band with keyboards, but noticed that Tarja Turunen
's operatic voice was too powerful for an acoustic band, so Holopainen decided to add heavy metal elements such as electric guitar and drums. They soon released their debut album Angels Fall First
, which had mixed reviews.
While initially disappointed, they soon became noticed with their song Sacrament of Wilderness
and achieved worldwide fame with their next two albums, Oceanborn
. After the success, they released the darker Century Child
. After their fifth (and breakthrough) album Once
, they held a live show called End of an Era
. Shortly after the performance, vocalist Tarja Turunen was fired for viewing the band as a way to gain publicity and make money. They even expressed this in an open letter on their Web site, though this is only one side of the coin. They later hired vocalist Anette Olzon, which has caused a division in the fanbase
. Their first album with Anette as the main vocalist, Dark Passion Play
, was released in 2007.
The album Imaginaerum
, formerly Imaginarium
(they changed the name to avoid confusing it with various other things with that name), is a concept album, paired with a full-length feature film
based on the plotline, was released in November 2012 in Finland with a more widespread DVD release in 24 April 2013.
On October 1, 2012, it was announced that Anette had left the group, with the reason given being that "it has become increasingly obvious that the direction and the needs of the band were in conflict, and this has led to a division from which we cannot recover." Floor Jansen from After Forever
took Anette's place in the Imaginaerum World Tour and, although the band claimed that the vocalist issue would be settled sometime in 2014, was announced as Olzon's permanent replacement on October 9th, 2013.
On August 6, 2014, Jukka released a statement
saying that he would be taking a leave of absence from Nightwish due to his struggles with insomnia. He revealed that Kai Hahto of Wintersun
would be taking his place for the recording of their next album and upcoming tour.
- Floor Jansen (Soprano Vocals)
- Erno "Emppu" Vuorinen (Lead Guitar)
- Marco Hietala (Bass, Gravel/Clean Tenor Vocals)
- Tuomas Holopainen (Keyboards, principal songwriter)
- Troy Donockley (Pipes)
- Kai Hahto (Drums)
- Jukka Nevalainen (Drums) (1997-2014; on hiatus due to medical issues)
- Sami Vänskä (Bass)
- Tarja Turunen (Soprano Vocals) (1997-2004)
- Anette Olzon (Mezzo-soprano Vocals) (2007-2011)
- Angels Fall First (1997)
- Oceanborn (1998)
- Wishmaster (2000)
- Century Child (2002)
- Once (2004)
- Dark Passion Play (2007)
- Imaginaerum (2011)
Nightwish contains examples of:
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- Badass Beard: Jukka, Tuomas, Marco, and Troy. Marco even has TWO beards that he BRAIDS!
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Only die-hard fans remember Sami Vänskä. The only reason he's not a Pete Best to the band is because he played on Oceanborn, Nightwish's breakout album, and its successor, Wishmaster. However, Marco still overshadows him.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Emppu could count as one of these, though he doesn't talk all that much and isn't prone to non-sequitur, he is known as the tiny smart aleck of the band amongst the fanbase. The band has played with this fact a couple of times too, Turunen dumping a drink over his head after being referred to as a 'notorius lush' by Vuorinen on the End of Innocence DVD.
- Dye Hard: Apparently, Tuomas is a natural blond.
- Kaleidoscope Hair: Anette frequently dyed her hair different colours, occasionally at the same time.
- Five-Man Band:
- Fun Size: Every guy in the band except for Tuomas and Floor is under six feet tall; Emppu is the most prominent example at 5'0". Tuomas is just barely the tallest member of the band (he is 6'1 1/2", while Floor is 6'0 1/2").
- The Insomniac: Jukka suffered from insomnia for years, forcing him to go on hiatus from the band in 2014.
- Large Ham: Why, Marco of course. By default, any time he has a part in a song, whatever subtlety had been built up until that point is thoroughly smashed, due to his tendency to — in the mold of Hansi Kürsch before him — sing completely in all caps.
- Averted in The Islander off of Dark Passion Play, however, where he takes on a softer tone.
- Lead Bassist: Marco is the best known member of the band aside from Tuomas.
- Name's the Same: Imaginarium and "various other things". So they changed the name to Imaginaerum.
- Older Than She Looks: Anette looks and sounds like she's only about 25, but is actually 40 (six years older than her predecessor and was the second-eldest member of the band after Marco until her departure).
- One of Us: Marco is a sci-fi geek and loves video games. He has openly admitted this in his tiny bio on the band's official website, he's a lifelong Nintendo fan, his favorite video game is Planescape: Torment, and he occasionally wears Star Wars shirts in concert.
- Real Men Wear Pink: OK, so Tuomas isn't Rated M for Manly, but you still wouldn't expect that obsession with Disney films.
- Something Something Leonard Bernstein: Played straight with Tarja and her heavy Finnish accent on the earlier albums, mostly averted with Anette even when she sings the earlier songs.
- Wham Episode: While not necessarily compatible with music, "An Open Letter to Tarja" certainly qualifies as this.
- Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: The two most obvious examples are "igNORance" (Angels Fall First, The Riddler) and "enVY" (She Is My Sin, The Crow, the Owl and the Dove).
- Album Title Drop:
- Angels Fall First: "Angels Fall First".
Oh Lord why the Angels fall first?
- Oceanborn: "Devil and the Deep Dark Ocean".
Welcome to the end of your life — Hail the Oceanborn!
- Century Child: "Dead To The World".
As he died, he will return to die in me again
Weaving the cloth, giving birth to the Century Child.
- Once: first word of the first track, "Dark Chest of Wonders" (and a total of 18 times in the lyrics, including twice in Finnish, in "Kuolema Tekee Taitelijan".)
- Dark Passion Play: "The Poet and the Pendulum".
The morning dawned upon his altar
Remains of the dark passion play.
- Ancient Egypt: "Tutankhamen", "The Pharaoh Sails to Orion", "Sahara", "Arabesque".
- As the Good Book Says: In "The Pharaoh Sails to Orion": (Yes, that Pharaoh).
"Get away from me! Take heed to thyself and see my face no more! For in the day Thou see my face, thou shalt die!" (Exodus 10:28)
- Author Avatar: Various hints from Wishmaster on indicate the recurring "Dead Boy"/"Century Child" is this for Tuomas.
- Made explicit in The Poet and the Pendulum, which uses his name during a monologue about the subject of the song.
- Bilingual Bonus:
- "Nemo" is Latin for "no man" or "no one".
- "Lappi (Lapland)", "Etiäinen", "Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan", "Erämaan Viimeinen" (the vocal version of "Last of the Wilds") and "Taikatalvi" are sung in Finnish.
- Considering that the band is Finnish and has an international fanbase, their English songs can be considered to be a Bilingual Bonus for many fans.
- BSOD Song: Among them, "The Poet And The Pendulum" and "Ghost Love Score".
- Call Back: Some songs or song titles make references to themes or lyrics from previous albums.
- Astral Romance the line "the Nightwish I sent you centuries ago" is a reference to the demo track "Nightwish".
- In "End of All Hope", the line Angels they fell first / but I'm still here is a reference to the band's debut album Angels Fall First.
- "White Night Fantasy" is reference to a line from "Ever Dream".
- The line She walks alone but not without her name from "Eva" could be a reference to "Nemo" (of which means 'no-name').
- The dead boy from "Dead Boy's Poem" is referenced at the end of the fifth movement of "Beauty of the Beast".
- "For the Heart I Once Had" makes reference to a 'dead boy', potentially referring to "Dead Boy's Poem" as well.
- "Song Of Myself" contains a more overt reference to "Dead Boy's Poem" with the line "what is left for the encore, is the same old dead boy's song, sung in silence".
- Sam Hardwick, the speaking voice of the dead boy, reprises his role in "Bless The Child".
- "I Want My Tears Back" makes reference to "Meadows of Heaven" from Dark Passion Play.
- And those tears are finally brought back in "Turn Loose the Mermaids".
- The pendulum from "The Poet and the Pendulum" still sways in "Scaretale".
- "Song Of Myself" has a couple. “The nightingale is still locked in its cage” is a reference to B-side track "Escapist", and the dead boy from "Dead Boy's Poem" makes an appearance later.
- It also references earlier songs within the album, these being "Storytime", "Ghost River", "Turn Loose the Mermaids", "Last Ride of the Day" and Scaretale".
- The poem section — "Love" — contains the phrase "the grass under my bare feet...", which brings back memories of the song "Elvenpath", the first track of Angels Fall First — and contains the similar sounding "the path under my bare feet..." in the opening lines.
- And "Imaginaerum" of course, being an orchestral piece featuring some of that album's more memorable tunes.
- Concept Album: Longing for a lost paradise is more of an ongoing theme with the band and appears on all their albums.
- Several songs on Dark Passion Play feature lyrics expressing a longing for a lost paradise, culminating in the 80s style Power Ballad "Meadows of Heaven".
- Probably the album that is most concept oriented is Century Child, though what exactly this concept is is difficult to determine. A lot of songs either contain a few key phrases or refer to other songs on the album, ("One more night to live", "Dead to the world" or alternately, "Dead to the world; alive for the journey") the Child, Ocean Souls, or roses. These references appear in the Wishmaster song "Dead Boy's Poem", and the character of the Dead Boy shows up at the end of Century Child.
- Imaginaerum is a concept album project involving a movie.
- Cover Version:
- "Symphony of Destruction" (sung by Marco).
- "High Hopes" (sung by Marco).
- "Over The Hills And Far Away".
- "The Phantom of the Opera".
- Ankie Bagger's "Where Were You Last Night".
- "Walking in the Air".
- There are some bootlegs around the net with other Cover Versions such as "Crazy Train".
- When Marco joined, he brought Tarot's tendency to do covers with him. They are usually played as intermissions to give Anette (formerly Tarja) a chance to rest.
- "Heart Asks Pleasure First" from the movie Piano. In an interesting anecdote, they recorded the cover while working on Dark Passion Play, but the original composer Michael Nyman didn't approve the version at first. They finally gained the permission almost five years later, and it was released as a B-side to a single The Crow The Owl and The Dove.
- Creator Breakdown: Century Child, Once, and Dark Passion Play contain a lot of songs pertaining to death, depression, unrequited love/obsession etc. The Poet and the Pendulum, a 14-minute long Epic Rocking song, was written in the midst of a very bad bout of depression of Tuomas'.
- It even went so far that Tuomas has gone on record saying that the song saved his life since he otherwise would have killed himself.
- "Dead Boy's Poem" might be another example since it apparently is his testament to his family and friends if he dies...
- Creepy Children Singing: "Scaretale" opens with this, and the children are singing an eerie rendition of "Ring Around the Rosie". In the same album, "Ghost River" also does this. Halfway through the song, it has children singing the chorus: "We will go down we will drown drown, deeper down. The river wild will be our last ride."
- Dark Is Not Evil: Romanticizing darkness (particularly the depiction of night-time as fantastically romantic) is a running theme, seen even in the band's very name.
- Dead Artists Are Better:
- The title of the song "Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan" translates to "Death Makes an Artist".
- "The Poet and the Pendulum" is essentially a story about Tuomas after he's died. Apparently killing yourself in a song is very therapeutic:
"Today, in the year of our Lord, 2005, Tuomas... was found naked and dead, with a smile on his face, a pen, and 1000 pages of erased text."
- Driven to Suicide: "The Poet And The Pendulum".
- "Cadence of Her Last Breath" is far less blatant, but the refrain makes it clear that the subject isn't exactly willing to remain alive.
- The End of the Beginning: At the end of "The Poet and the Pendulum", a boy's voice is heard saying "the beginning" — probably a reference to the new "beginning" with Annette. (Also a rather literal example of this trope, since it's at the end of the first song on the album.) Of course, that same song also begins with the words "The end."
- Epic Rocking: At least once on each album:
- Angels Fall First- "Lappi (Lapland)".
- Oceanborn- "The Pharaoh Sails to Orion".
- Wishmaster- "FantasMic".
- Century Child- "Beauty of the Beast".
- Once- "Ghost Love Score".
- Dark Passion Play- "The Poet and the Pendulum", "7 Days to the Wolves" and "Meadows of Heaven".
- Imaginaerum was supposed to end with a 20-minute song that was ultimately divided. The "epic" "Song of Myself" was actually unusual by lasting 13 minutes for which half of it is a poem. Both "Scaretale" and "Rest Calm" are more 'rocker', with around 7 minutes each.
- Evil Sounds Deep: The Blasphemer (guest vocalist Ike Vil) from "The Kinslayer" and Eric (Marco) from their rendition of "The Phantom of the Opera."
- The Pharaoh from "The Pharaoh Sails to Orion" (though, he may not be depicted as "evil" per se in the song) and the demonic voice from "Devil And The Deep Dark Ocean" (both by guest vocalist Tapio Wilska).
- The narrator from "Planet Hell" splits into normal and low voices on the studio album. The low voice gets very, very low.
- Fallen Angel: The music video of "Amaranth".
- Genre Roulette: Imaginaerum switches rather carelessly between Symphonic Power Metal, Jazz/Lounge, Folk, carnival music and full-out orchestral medleys.
- Great White Hunter: Mentioned by name in "10th Man Down": "I alone, the great white hunter, I'll march till the dawn brings me rest".
- Greatest Hits Album: Highest Hopes: The Best of Nightwish.
- Growing Up Sucks: Ever since the Century Child album, lost innocence has been a major theme. One example being the song "Meadows of Heaven".
- Heartbeat Soundtrack: A heartbeat can be heard just before the ten minute mark of "The Poet and the Pendulum," which slowly fades out to signal that the titular poet has been killed by the pendulum.
- Heavy Mithril: Many songs on the first three albums are this, but they became rare after Wishmaster.
- Immediate Self-Contradiction:
No love left in me,
No eyes to see the heaven beside me,
My time is yet to come,
So I'll be forever yours...
- Indecipherable Lyrics: Tarja's in particular, since she sings in operatic style with a heavy Finnish accent:
- One of the best examples of this is probably "Nightquest".
- Let's not forget "Wishmaster", which is probably one of the most memetic misheard songs out there.
- Intercourse with You:
- Some of their songs are of subtly naughty variety (many songs on Wishmaster) while some are more obvious ("Whoever Brings The Night" and "Nymphomaniac Fantasia").
- Granted, on End of Innocence Tuomas is asked what he was thinking while writing "Nymphomaniac...", and he admits somewhat ashamedly that he stands behind all his songs except that one.
"I don't get it. That song just doesn't work!
The scent of a woman was not mine... No song can start like that! I mean... fuck!"
- "Passion and the Opera" is very overtly erotic, and "Wish I had an Angel" would also qualify.
- "Slow, Love, Slow" is this for Imaginaerum. It falls more into the 'subtle' category, but if the lyrics aren't enough, the seedy lounge club feel to the music pushes it well over the edge.
- Ironic Nursery Tune: "Dead Boy's Poem".
- Scaretale. Begins with and the song itself is fairly reminiscent of one.
- "I Want" Song: "Elvenpath," "Escapist," and "Dark Chest of Wonders".
- Last Note Nightmare: The last minute or so of "Dead Gardens" qualifies. A while after the last chorus, Harsh Vocals are suddenly heard and Jukka starts spamming the crash cymbals more and more as the song comes to a close. The drumming seems to either follow its own rhythm or be played as randomly as possible, and at the end, the noise suddenly cuts off altogether without warning. Two seconds later, "Romanticide" begins.
- Lighthouse Point: "The Islander." A retired ship captain spends his twilight years caring for a lighthouse before ultimately tying himself to an anchor and tossing it into the sea.
- Love Makes You Evil: "10th Man Down."
- Also with Tarja, because the band accused her of being negatively motivated by her husband Marcelo.
- Metal Scream: Usually belted out by Marco, most notably in "Master Passion Greed."
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Mostly a standard 7, but they cover a range from 1 ("Angels Fall First", "The Islander") to 8 ("Master Passion Greed", "Slaying The Dreamer").
- Monster Clown: A group of them harass a small boy in the music video for "Storytime."
- "Scaretale" is all about this.
- Mundane Made Awesome: Not within the music itself, but memetically. The Epic Rocking song "Ghost Love Score" is the basis of an entire wave of videos combining it with decidedly non-epic things.
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: A classically trained vocalist in a metal band with a full symphony orchestra. They're one of the most prominent examples of Symphonic Metal, all of which falls into this category.
- Imaginaerum album as a whole is this in spades, combined with Genre Roulette.
- Not Christian Rock: "The Carpenter" from Angels Fall First and "Gethsemane" and "The Pharaoh Sails To Orion" (see As the Good Book Says above for the latter) from Oceanborn.
- Out-of-Genre Experience: After two songs of trademark power metal, Imaginaerum throws in the lounge club-inspired track "Slow, Love, Slow". Yes, that's right, a lounge track on a Nightwish album. The album abruptly returns to power metal afterwards.
- Politically Correct History: Some would say that "Creek Mary's Blood" is an example of this, being about the Trail of Tears and "evil white men". And then they totally kill the mood by singing in Lakotan. The Lakota tribe was about 700 miles north and halfway across the continent from the tribes affected by the Trail of Tears. Or maybe Cherokee and Creek didn't sound cool enough. Take your pick.
- Apparently the band is aware of the mistake made, but the only Native American artist they could find at the time of making the album was John Two-Hawks, who is Lakota.
- Precision F-Strike: Tuomas drops a few in "End of Innocence". Some of the other get closer to Cluster F-Bomb. However, the songs themselves are devoid of profanity. (Except "Master Passion Greed", which drops the F-bomb precisely once.)
- Pun: 'Annette Hell'.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
- From "Slaying the Dreamer":
I! TRULY! HATE! YOU! ALL!
Welcome down! To MY! PLANET! HEEEEEEEEEEEELL!
Sing MY ANGEL OF MUUUUUUUSIIIC!!!!
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: The character(s) in "Tenth Man Down".
- Shout-Out / Author Appeal: Tuomas Holopainen really loves Disney works. "FantasMic" is pretty much an eight-and-a-half minute nerdgasm over the Disney Animated Canon. This line, for example, translates into "Donald Duck is my favorite character":
The Sailor, an idol for the six-year-old in me.
- "Elvenpath" is also a nerdgasm, only over fantasy books (contains shout-outs to J. R. R. Tolkien, David Eddings and Finnish folklore) and games as well as Disney.
- "Wishmaster" contains mostly Dragonlance shoutouts, with some more Tolkien.
- "Seven Days to the Wolves" is a song shouting out to The Dark Tower.
- "The Carpenter", unintentionally about Jesus Christ according to the lyricist.
- The music video for "Amaranth" is based on The Wounded Angel, a famous painting by Finnish painter Hugo Simberg.
- Shout-Out: To Shakespeare: In "The Kinslayer" Tarja says, "Good wombs have borne bad sons" both as a reference to the line from The Tempest and as a reference to the same line Columbine shooter Eric Harris quoted in his farewell video to his parents.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Started close to the idealistic end. First hints of cynicism appear on Wishmaster, but the first major shift towards cynicism happened on Century Child. Dark Passion Play shifted even further towards the cynical end. Imaginaerum seems to be returning to idealism, as much as a concept album about a dying old man can do so.
- Something Completely Different: "The Islander" compared to the rest of the tracks on Dark Passion Play.
- "Slow, Love, Slow" from Imaginaerum as well.
- Soprano and Gravel: Most of the time, where there is a duet with Tarja/Anette and Marco, this is what happens, except in "The Islander". Before Marco joined the band for Century Child, different guest vocalists were used instead (see Evil Sounds Deep above for a few).
- Statuesque Stunner: Floor Jansen, who stand 6'0 1/2" (1.84 m).
- Symphonic Metal: One of the Trope Codifiers.
- Power Metal to some extent on the earlier albums, most noticeable in Wishmaster.
- Gothic Metal to some extent ever since Century Child.
- Take That:
- "Bye Bye Beautiful", from Dark Passion Play, is often interpreted as being a Take That to Tarja, although Word of God disagrees.
- "Master Passion Greed", from the same album, is aimed at her husband, Marcelo Cabuli.
- Before DPP, Tuomas wrote "Slaying the Dreamer" as a sort of retaliation to critics. Lyrics such as "Dumb kid, living a dream / Romantic only on paper" stand out.
- Title Only Chorus: "Master Passion Greed" and "Meadows of Heaven".
- Truck Driver's Gear Change: Originally to show off Tarja's vocal range on songs like "Nemo", "Come Cover Me" and "Sleeping Sun", but also used in several of Anette's songs, such as "For The Heart I Once Had". Interestingly zigzagged in "She Is My Sin" — after the intro, the song drops a minor third for most of the song, only to be raised again for the final verse.
- Wanderlust Song: Well... "Wanderlust". Also "Nightquest", "Elvenpath", and "Away" (a less idealistic version).
- Witch Hunt: Or actually more of a vampire hunt, from "Slaying the Dreamer".
Put a stake through my heart! And drag me into sunlight.
- Word Salad Title: Usually combined with Rule of Three, as is the case with "Master Passion Greed", "Deep Silent Complete" and "Ghost Love Score". (That, by the way, is a selection of three songs from three albums that each have three words.)
- Yarling: When Marco sings, sometimes he comes close to this, and he finally devolves into full-blown yarl in "Master Passion Greed".
- Your Cheating Heart: Nymphomaniac Fantasia is about a woman discovering that her partner has been unfaithful, and plots to murder him.
Misc tropes (Video and others)
- Attractive Bent-Gender: The female versions of the male band members in the "Bye Bye Beautiful" video.
- Go Out with a Smile: The old captain from the video for "The Islander".
- Mind Screw: The video for "Bye Bye Beautiful."
- Monster Clown: The video for "Storytime".
- Shout-Out: The video for "Storytime" shows Annette dressed as a gothic Snow White and Tuomas as the Phantom of the Opera.
- The video for "Amaranth" is one big reference to The Wounded Angel, one of the most famous paintings within Finland.
- Steam Punk: The airships in the video for "The Islander."
- Video Full Of Film Clips:
- The video for "Wish I Had an Angel" uses footage from Alone in the Dark (2005). Justified, as it's part of said film's soundtrack.
- The music video was also directed by Uwe Boll himself.
- The video for "End of All Hope" had clips from a Finnish horror fantasy film "Kohtalon Kirja"
- The video for "While Your Lips Are Still Red" had clips from a Finnish romantic comedy "Lieksa!". The latter is justified in that "While Your Lips Are Still Red" was written for that film. It's technically not a Nightwish song, being credited only to Tuomas and Marco (Jukka does play drums on the track). However, it does appear as the B-side to "Amaranth," and Nightwish sometimes uses it in concert as a "give Anette a break" song.
- "Storytime" is sort of a "Making Of" of the film Imaginaerum, featuring several behind-the-scene footage.