From left to right: Emppu, Troy, Tuomas, Floor, Marco, Jukka
Nightwish is a SymphonicPower 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 and Wishmaster. After the success, they released the darkerCentury 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)
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.
And as of September of that year, she's suddenly blonde.
Fun Size: Every guy in the band except for Tuomas and Floor is under six feet tall; Emppu is the most prominent example at 5'3". 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.
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.
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
Imaginaerum: At least "Storytime", the first single off the album. An unusual case in that the album's name was changed during development from "Imaginarium" to "Imaginaerum", but this song still uses "Imaginarium" in the lyrics.
Imaginarium, a dream emporium!
Ancient Egypt: "Tutankhamen", "The Pharaoh Sails to Orion", "Sahara", "Arabesque".
"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 refrence 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 stylePower 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.
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 Nymandidn'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.
"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."
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.
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.
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.
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.)
"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.
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).
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.
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.