for soothing rain,
all I wish is to dream again.
My loving heart,
lost in the dark,
for hope I'd give my everything.
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 vocalist Tarja Turunen's operatic voice was too powerful for an acoustic band, so Holopainen decided to add heavy metal elements such as electric guitars 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 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 allegedly viewing the band as a way to gain publicity and make money. They even expressed this opinion in an open letter on their web site, though this is only one side of the coin. They later hired vocalist Anette Olzon, which caused a rather large 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 (After Forever, ReVamp) 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. At the same time, multi instrumentalist Troy Donockley, who had guested on previous albums, was also made a permanent member. The band later released a documentary with the Showtime, Storytime live album amusingly titled Please Learn the Setlist in 48 Hours, purportedly the amount of time Floor had to learn the tour list.
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, 2015's Endless Forms Most Beautiful, and upcoming tour. This change became permanent in 2019 with Jukka confirming that he'd continue to assist behind the scenes. The band as a whole took 2017 off (during which time Floor gave birth to a daughter, Freja), then came back in 2018 with a Milestone Celebration compilation album, Decades, and a tour emphasizing songs from the earlier years. Also during the break, Floor Jansen recorded a long-delayed Hard Rock album, Northward, with Jørn Viggo Lofstad of Pagans Mind, while Tuomas Holopainen, Troy Donockley, and Johanna Kurkela produced their own project, Auri.
In 2019 Anette was asked if she would ever consider reuniting with the band, to which she replied "No. Never. Because I can say it like this: There are things they have to do before that will ever happen, and they have still not yet done that. They treated me so badly that, I'm really sorry, but how it is and how it's been, I cannot see that happening ever" (interestingly enough, Marko once admitted that parts of Anette's departure were "done badly" on the band's front, but did not elaborate any more).
The successor to Endless Forms Most Beautiful, called Human. :II: Nature. (stylised as HVMAN. :||: NATVRE.) was released in April 2020. The album's musical and lyrical thematics deal with the birth of mankind and civilization.
On January 12, 2021, Marko announced he would be leaving the band and public life, citing his struggles with chronic depression and his disillusionment with the music industry in general. He also wrote "Conspiracy is the word of the day. For the people who like them I need to say that my 55th birthday is now on 14th of Jan and I’ve certainly done my time for now. Blaming for instance Tuomas is an insult to both him and my free thinking. This is a very sad thing to all of us too. Have a care please. [...] I have some reinventing to do. I hope to tell you about it on [sic] 2022. It’s not a promise though."
On May 28, Nightwish announced that Jukka Koskinen of Wintersun would be performing as a session bassist for the end of May streaming concerts and the upcoming world tour, and on August 21, 2022 it was confirmed he was joining permanently.
In June of 2021, Tuomas and Floor gave an interview where they said had been very surprised by Marko's departure - although they understood and sympathized with his reasoning - and Tuomas revealed he and Emppu had actually debated disbanding the group as a result, eventually deciding to continue on, although Tuomas said that if Floor were to ever leave, the band would definitely split up.
In March of 2022, Tarja mentioned in an interview that "very very hypothetically" she would be open to performing in a reunion tour with the band only if the former members (specifically Emppu, Tuomas and Jukka Nevalainen) apologized to her for her dismissal, something which she acknowledged was "unlikely". She also spoke about how she had been close to Marko during their time together in the band, and also revealed she and Tuomas had been in touch (but did not elaborate).
In May of 2022, after facing criticism from fans for seemingly beginning to pursue a solo career and "neglecting" the band, Floor pointed out that many of the other members had their own solo projects, and stated she "[couldn't] imagine leaving" Nightwish. Shortly afterwards it was announced that Tuomas had finished writing the songs for their next album, which would be recorded in summer of 2023 and released in 2024.
In October of 2022, Floor revealed she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, but that her prognosis was good, and she would be having surgery to remove the tumor. The surgery went well, and in November she announced she was cancer-free.
In March of 2023, Floor released her solo album Paragon, and announced she was expecting her second child. A month later the band announced via Instagram that following their shows in June of that year, they would be retiring from touring for an "indeterminate" amount of time, stressing that the decision had nothing to do with Floor's pregnancy or the band's individual projects.
Around the same time, it was announced that Tarja and Marko would be performing in a special concert in Switzerland on July 8 of that year. Marko also revealed that part of his reasoning for departing the band was due to his struggles with depression, anxiety and insomnia, as well as having recently being diagnosed as having ADHD. He reiterated that he "had been thinking about" leaving the band "for a while", as the then-undiagnosed ADHD had been causing his anxiety to worsen, which resulted in problems sleeping. This lead to his deciding that his departure was the healthiest idea for everyone involved, adding that he has not been in contact with any member of the band since leaving.
- Tuomas Holopainen - keyboards, piano, male vocalsnote
- Erno "Emppu" Vuorinen - bassnote , electric/acoustic guitars
- Troy Donockley - pipes, flutes, whistles, guitar, bouzouki, bodhrán, male vocals
- Floor Jansen - lead vocals
- Kai Hahto - drums, percussion
- Jukka Koskinen - bass
- Sami Vänskä - bass (1998-2001)
- Tarja Turunen - lead vocals (1997-2004)
- Anette Olzon - lead vocals (2007-2012)
- Jukka Nevalainen - drums (1997-2019)
- Marko Hietala - bass, male vocals, acoustic guitarnote (2001-2021)
- Angels Fall First (1997)
- Oceanborn (1998)
- Wishmaster (2000)
- Century Child (2002)
- Once (2004)
- Dark Passion Play (2007)
- Imaginaerum (2011)
- Endless Forms Most Beautiful (2015)
- Decades (compilation album, 2018)
- Human. :II: Nature. (2020)
Nightwish contains examples of:
- Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: Really, this is an omnipresent trope, one would be hard-pressed to find a single song of theirs that isn't guilty of this at one point due to English not being the band's first language. The two most obvious examples are "igNORance" (Angels Fall First and The Riddler) and "enVY" (She is My Sin and The Crow, the Owl and the Dove). Although it's a one-syllable word, Anette makes "live" sound like "leave" on "Cadence of Her Last Breath".
- Added Alliterative Appeal: "Bye Bye Beautiful" and "The Poet and the Pendulum".
- Album Title Drop:
- Angels Fall First:Oh Lord, why the angels fall first?— Angels Fall First
- Oceanborn:Welcome to the end of your life.Hail the Oceanborn!— Devil & The Deep Dark Ocean
- Wishmaster:Master, apprentice
Heartborne, seventh seeker
In me, the wishmaster— Wishmaster
- Century Child:As he died, he will return to die in me again
Weaving the cloth, giving birth to the Century Child— Dead To The World
- Once: Not only the first word of the first track ("Dark Chest Of Wonders") but a total of 18 times in the lyrics, including twice in Finnish (in "Kuolema Tekee Taitelijan").Once I had a dream...
and this is it— Dark Chest Of Wonders
- Dark Passion Play:The morning dawned upon his altar
Remains of the dark passion play— The Poet And The Pendulum
- Imaginaerum: An unusual variation in the case of the song "Storytime" 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!
Caress the tales and they will dream you real!— Storytime
- Endless Forms Most Beautiful:Alive, aware, in awe before the grandeur of it all
Our floating pale blue ark of endless forms most beautiful— Endless Forms Most BeautifulThere is grandeur in this view of life,
with its several powers having been originally breathed
into a few forms, or into one.
And that whilst this planet has gone cycling on,
according to the fixed law of gravity.
From so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful,
and most wonderful have been, and are being...
evolved.— The Greatest Show On Earth (narrated by Richard Dawkins)
- Angels Fall First:
- Alice Allusion: "I Want My Tears Back" mentions Alice and Mad March Hare.
- Ancient Egypt: "Tutankhamen," "The Pharaoh Sails to Orion," "Sahara," and "Arabesque."
- Anthropomorphic Personification: "Music" is told from the perspective of music. From the sound of it, she appreciates the connection she shares with humans.Before you, my home was in the wind and surf
The birds and rain, voices of the northern lights
Then you came, I joined you beyond the aeons
As you blew your cavebear bone and began to hum
- Apocalypse How: The third part of "The Greatest Show On Earth" is about humanity and ends with the lyrics "we were here" followed by the sound of explosions, implying that humanity destroyed itself with nuclear weapons.
- Artistic License – History: "Creek Mary's Blood" on Once is about the Trail of Tears, but the segments in Native American language are performed by John Two-Hawks in Lakota. His tribe was about 700 miles north and halfway across the continent from the tribes affected by the Trail of Tears. According to the band, he was the only Native American artist they could find at the time. Worse, in 2013 a Shoshone member of the official Nightwish forum accused Two-Hawks of being a fraud, saying that a Lakota friend had said the lyrics were gibberish.
- 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)
- Audience Participation Song: In live performances Floor encourages the audience to sing along to parts of several songs, including the word “Come” in the chorus of “Élan”, the repeats of “We were here” in “The Greatest Show on Earth”, and the entire chorus of “Amaranth”.
- 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.
- "Scrooge was coolest in his prospector days:"The Phoenix of White Agony Creek
- "The Little Mermaid (1989) and Beauty and the Beast mirror each other:"Enchantress, a mermaid, in a tale as old as time
- "Scrooge was coolest in his prospector days:"
- Author Avatar:
- Various hints from Wishmaster on indicate the recurring "Dead Boy" and "Century Child" are this for Tuomas.
- Made explicit in "The Poet and the Pendulum," which uses his name during a monologue about the subject of the song.
- "Amaranth" is about someone whose name means "the doubting one", that is, "Tuomas".
- Author Catchphrase:
- Since "Creek Mary's Blood", the phrase "We were here", along with other variations on the theme of being "here", have shown up frequently. The phrase itself shows up in "Alpenglow" and "The Greatest Show on Earth".
- The idea of "dreaming" something into existence shows up once in a while.Storytime: Caress the tales and they will dream you real
Storytime: I am the story that will read you real
Edema Ruh: See us dream every tale true
- Award-Bait Song:
- "Sleeping Sun". Sparkle synth? Check. Romantic lyrics? Check. Big finish, complete with Truck Driver's Gear Change? Check. Yep, it qualifies.
- A straighter example of this trope would be "While Your Lips Are Still Red", a slow, acoustic, romantic song that was featured in the Finnish film Lieksa!
- Badass Boast: On the evolution-themed album Endless Forms Most Beautiful, there is one on behalf on mankind, if not all biological life:After a billion years, the show is still here
Not a single one of your fathers died young
The handy travelers out of Africa
Little Lucy of the Afar
- 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, as well as "Erämaajärvi".
- The first verse of "My Walden" is sung entirely in Welsh. The second verse is the same, but in English.
- 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.
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: The Lakota parts of "Creek Mary's Blood". Besides the fact the Lakota weren't affected by the Trail of Tears (they lived in the central and northern Plains, rather than the central Appalachians), Lakota-speaking fans noticed that while all the words are right, they're arranged in English grammar. (Implying Google Translate was involved.) The poem at the end was written by Tuomas but translated by John Two-Hawks, a man from Texas who has been accused of falsely claiming Native American ancestry.
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The band's vocalists: natural brunette Tarja, naturally blonde Anette, and auburn Floor. They all dyed their hair black at least once while with the band.
- Broken Bird: The narrator of "Bare Grace Misery".Just a child without a fairytale am I
Dark but so lovely
A Little Match Girl freezing in the snow
- 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."
- "Nightwish" also mention a bridal bed that the singer can only enter in death. They are practically mirror songs.
- 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."Your beauty cascaded on me
In this white night fantasy
- 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 in "Dead Boy's Poem", and the Beast in "Beauty And The Beast", 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" as well as "Know Why the Nightingale Sings" from Angels Fall First, 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.
- "Heart Lying Still" references this line from "Song of Myself":All that great heart lying still
In silent suffering
- "From G to E minor" is titled after the last line of "Song of Myself".
- "Sundown" is titled after a word in and contains music from "Turn Loose The Mermaids".
- "Deeper Down" is titled after the repeating line in "Ghost River" and contains lyrics from "The Swan, the Owl, and the Dove".
- "Undertow" contains music and lyrics from "Ghost River".
- "Heart Lying Still" references this line from "Song of Myself":
- The Meadows of Heaven await harvest in "Élan."
- Awake, Oceanborn in "Shudder Before The Beautiful"
- "How's the Heart?" remembers meeting where the cliff greets the sea, as first invited to in "Élan".
- "Noise" calls back to "My Walden":Noise: Color a yarn and the crowds will gatherMy Walden: Weaving my wings of many-colored yarns
- "The Heart Asks Pleasure First" is a cover, but "Eva" calls back to it with the phrase "kindest heart".
- "The Pharao Sails To Orion" calls back to "Nightwish" (demo):Light of Orion
Shadow of Andromeda
- "Astral Romance," the line: "the Nightwish I sent you centuries ago" is a reference to the demo track "Nightwish."
- 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.
- Endless Forms Most Beautiful was inspired by the writings of Charles Darwin and contains mainly songs about evolution and the beauty and wonder of the natural world.
- Cover Version:
- "Symphony of Destruction" (sung by Marko.)
- "High Hopes" (sung by Marko.)
- Gary Moore's "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 Marko 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 The 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."
- "While Your Lips Are Still Red" is a bit of a weird example. Tuomas and Marko wrote the song as part of the soundtrack for the Finnish film Lieksa!, and Tuomas doesn't consider it an official Nightwish song. However, it's been performed by the full band on the EP Made in Hong Kong (And Various Other Places) and in a number of live performances, including the Vehicle of Spirit live album.
- Crapsack World: "Planet Hell", as suggested by the title, describes one from a Humans Are Bastards perspective.
- Creepy Children Singing:
- "Scaretale" opens with this, and the children are singing an eerie rendition of "Ring Around the Rosie."
- "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."
- "Rest Calm," yet another song about death, also has children singing the chorus.
- 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:
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.
- 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:
- Death of a Thousand Cuts: Mentioned directly in "Ghost River", though it's not easy to make out.
- Death Seeker:
- The Despair Event Horizon of "End of All Hope" results in "Death wish without a prayer".
- "Planet Hell":My only wish to leave behind
All the days of the Earth
An everyday hell of my kingdom come
- Death Song: "Turn Loose The Mermaids" is about dying of old age.
- Despair Event Horizon:
- "Tenth Man Down":I envy the 9 lives that gave me hell
My path made up by their torn bodies
Man to man, soldier to soldier, dust to dust
Call me a coward but I can't take it anymore
- "End of All Hope" is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.End of hope
End of love
End of time
The rest is silence
- "Tenth Man Down":
- Diss Track: "Bye Bye Beautiful" is this to Tarja, while "Master Passion Greed" is this to her husband.
- Distinct Double Album: Human. :II: Nature. The first disc is a standard Nightwish Symphonic Metal album. Disc two is a Classical Music suite with some spoken word parts titled All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World.
- Driven to Suicide:
- "The Poet and the Pendulum" is quite literally a case of Tuomas writing out his own suicide in fiction to keep himself from doing it for real.
- "Cadence of Her Last Breath" is less blatant, but makes it clear that the subject isn't exactly willing to remain alive with the refrain: Alone and longing for/The cadence of her last breath.
- The Islander is about a sea captain choosing to end his life after he feels like he's got nothing left to live for. He ties himself to an anchor and throws it overboard, sinking into the sea.
- The titular character in The Carpenter.
- The Tenth Man Down is a soldier who can't deal with fighting in a war anymore.
- Earth Song: "Procession" is written from the perspective of the animal kingdom talking to humanity in both fear and kinship. The lyric video lists off a number of endangered species during the bridge of the song.
- 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: "Creek Mary's Blood" and "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.
- Endless Forms Most Beautiful: "The Greatest Show on Earth" tops all their previous epics at 24 minutes long.
- Human Nature plays with this. Its last song is "All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World". The song has a total length of just under 31 minutes, but it's broken up into eight different tracks, none of which are longer than five minutes.
- Escapism: "Escapist."I tread the way and lose myself into a tale
A nightingale in a golden cage
That's me locked inside reality's maze
- Ethereal White Dress:
- Tarja in the Sleeping Sun video is depicted as an angel walking through a battlefield of dead soldiers leading the fallen to eternal life while soldiers from various eras (portrayed by the other band members) follow her.
- The narrator of "Ocean Soul" is a lonely, detached Broken Bird. She is obsessed with beauty and the sea, hears angels whispering and dresses in white.
- Evil Sounds Deep:
- The Blasphemer (guest vocalist Ike Vil) from "The Kinslayer" and Eric (Marko) 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".
- Free Handed Performer: They had three lead vocalists and all of them performed with only their mic during concerts.
- Genre Mashup: 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.
- Genre Roulette: Imaginaerum switches rather carelessly between Symphonic Power Metal, Jazz/Lounge, Folk, carnival music and full-out orchestral medleys.
- Gratuitous Foreign Language: The intro and outro of "Creek Mary's Blood" on Once are spoken Lakota.
- 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.
- "Meadows of Heaven."Rocking chair without a dreamer
A wooden swing without laughter
Sandbox without toy soldiers
Yuletide without the flight
- "I Want My Tears Back" mourns the childlike sense of wonder the narrator has lost growing up.
- "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.
- A heartbeat opens "How's The Heart?"
- Heavy Mithril: Many songs on the first three albums are this, but they became rare after Wishmaster.
- Hidden Track: Subverted on the album version of "Endless Forms Most Beatiful", where after several minutes of silence, Richard Dawkins exclaims:Dawkins: Doesn't it ever occur to people that sometimes a man just wants to write a piece of music!note
- Immediate Self-Contradiction:
- "Forever Yours"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
- "Planet Hell" is full of these.The first rock, thrown again!
Welcome to Hell, little saint!
- "Forever Yours"
- Incredibly Long Note: Floor will often use these in live performances. Fans call them 'Floorgasms'. The term also applies to fans emotional reactions to those incredible notes, and there is now a whole cottage industry of reaction videos where someone who has never heard her before is played Ghost Love Score, just to watch people gawp, cry, and occasionally melt into a puddle when the final note hits. This culminated in Floor making her own reaction video, though it's more commentary than reaction.
- 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."
- "Wishmaster," is probably one of the most memetic misheard songs out there. Besides the usual problems with understanding Tarja, a lot of the words are made-up terms: the song was inspired by the Dragonlance D&D setting.
- In your creation, Heaven did decree/That in your en suite, death should dwell (actually in your arms, sweet death should dwell)
- Basically, the faster the beat, the less intelligible it was. The fastest part of Fantasmic mostly sounds like incoherent screaming even if you know what the lyrics are.
- Intercourse with You: Some of their songs are of subtly naughty variety (many songs on Wishmaster) while some are more obvious.
- "Nymphomaniac Fantasia" is an obvious example. 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":Drink from my thighs
The rain of lies
A sight so cursed
Breasts which never nursed
An Aphrodite for mortal souls
Playing hide and seek in lecherous roles
Their erotic hour my tearless weep
Their satisfaction my infinite sleep
- "She Is My Sin."God I must confess, I do envy the sinners
- "Wish I Had an Angel" :I wish I had an angel
For one moment of love
I wish I had your angel,
Your virgin Mary undone
I'm in love with my lust
Burning angel wings to dust
I wish I had your angel tonight
- The demo version is way less subtle about it, including a section where Tarja sighs and pants before breaking into giggles, and she proceeds to do more of the same through the last chorus, right before she sighs at the end of the song.
- "Bare Grace Misery": "Cinnamon bed / For your unashamed appetite." Apart from the lyrics, it goes instrumental at 1:30 which builds to a crescendo and ends at 2:39 with a sigh from Tarja that brings to mind another sort of crescendo...
- "Feel For You". Very explicit.Barely cold in her grave,
Barely warm in my bed
Settling for a draw tonight
Puppet girl, your strings are mine
- "Whoever Brings the Night" from the Anette Olzon-sung Dark Passion Play.We seduce the dark with pain and rapture
Like two ships that pass in the night
You and I, a whore and a bashful sailor
Welcome to a sunrise of a dirty mind
All your love is a lie
You one-night butterfly
Hurt me, be the one
Whoever brings the night
- "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.
- "Nymphomaniac Fantasia" is an obvious example. 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.
- Ironic Hell: The Earth in "Planet Hell". It's Hell for good people, Paradise for bad people. Doesn't get more ironic than that.Welcome to Hell, little saint!
Mother Gaia, in slaughter
Welcome to Paradise, soldier!
- Ironic Nursery Tune:
- "Dead Boy's Poem."
- Scaretale. Begins with and the song itself is fairly reminiscent of one.
- "I Want" Song: Songs about daydreaming often wish for more daydreams, such as:
- "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.
- Lead Bassist: Marko sang duets with the female vocalist a couple times an album and even fronted the odd song. He was also known for often playing a double-necked guitar-bass and switching between bass and rhythm guitar.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
- The bridge of "Edema Ruh" ends with this:Dance to the whistle, to the play, to the story
To infinite encores
Laugh at the royalty with sad crowns
And repeat the chorus once more
- "Procession" has the animals say:We wrote this in a tongue you will understand
Words and melodies with a touch of coloring
- The bridge of "Edema Ruh" ends with this:
- 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.
- Longest Song Goes Last:
- Wishmaster closes with "FantasMic" (8:18).
- Century Child closes with "Beauty of the Beast" (10:22).
- "Song of Myself" (13:37) precedes the closer outro, "Imaginaerum", on Imaginaerum.
- Endless Forms Most Beautiful closes with "The Greatest Show on Earth" (24:00).
- Human Nature plays with this. Its last song is "All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World". The song has a total length of 30:56, but it's broken up into eight different tracks.
- Love Makes You Evil: "10th Man Down" begins with the line: Today I killed, he was just a boy, and the verse ends with the line:I'd kill them all to save my own
- Love Martyr: "Ghost Love Score":My fall will be for you
My love will be in you
You were the one to cut me
So I'll bleed forever
- Loving a Shadow: "Slow, Love, Slow" has these lines:I wonder
Do I love you or the thought of you?
- Lyrical Dissonance: Instead of the usual metal combination of dark lyrics and dark music, it often combines dark lyrics with upbeat music.
- "Earämaan Viimeinen"/"Last of the Wilds" has a cheerful melody, with verses describing nature, and a refrain that goes, in Finnish: "the grave of my cradle, the place of my grave, is in the last of the wilds".Kehtoni hauta
Erämaan viimeinen on
- "End of All Hope" is rather energetic for a song about crossing the Despair Event Horizon.
- "Gethsemane" has an upbeat melody for a song about the last days of Jesus Christ.
- "Planet Hell" doesn't sound like it's about a living hell, especially when Annette sings it, or when Tarja spontaneously adds it to her set.
- "Escapist" sounds happy for it's being about wanting to hide from reality.
- "How's the Heart" is awfully cheery during the line: "How's the one drowning in the mire?"
- "I Want My Tears Back" is peppy and upbeat and about lost youth.
- "Bye Bye Beautiful" is about being devastated about the loss of a friendship. The melody sounds thrilled about the same.
- "Earämaan Viimeinen"/"Last of the Wilds" has a cheerful melody, with verses describing nature, and a refrain that goes, in Finnish: "the grave of my cradle, the place of my grave, is in the last of the wilds".
- Male Band, Female Singer: The band is a Trope Codifier for female-fronted operatic metal, starting with Tarja and continuing with Annette and Floor. Played with in the video for "Bye Bye Beautiful", which flips between portraying Nightwish and Nightwish-as-a-Girl Group (starting as the latter), with Annette the only member staying the same in both versions.
- Meaningful Name: Tuomas: "Baptized with a perfect name: 'the doubting one' by heart; alone without himself"
- Metal Scream:
- Usually belted out by Marko, most notably in "Master Passion Greed."
- Both Marko and Floor do an epic one together on the live version of "Romanticide" from Showtime, Storytime.
- 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.
- New Media Are Evil: "Noise", the first single from Human. :||: Nature, is a fairly scathing critique of social media and cell phone addiction (which admittedly seems to have come off harsher than intended).
- Our Vampires Are Different: Our vampires are suicidal in "Slaying the Dreamer":Put a stake
Through my heart
And drag me into sunlight
- Our Zombies Are Different: Mostly because they're children, and generally non-threatening. Namely, the Dead Boy and his sister.Jacob's ghost for the Girl in White
Blindfold for the blind
Dead siblings walking the dying Earth
- Out-of-Genre Experience:
- "The Islander" on Dark Passion Play is an acoustic folk song/sea shanty in an otherwise power metal album.
- 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.
- Panspermia: "The Greatest Show on Earth" implies that this is how life came to Earth.From the stellar nursery into a carbon feastEnter LUCA
- Pendulum of Death: Referenced in "The Poet and the Pendulum":Be still, my son
Oh when did you become so cold?
The blade will keep on descending
All you need is to feel my love
- 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.)
- Progressive Instrumentation: "Meadows of Heaven", starts with just a single instrument and a voice, and builds up into a grand finale with the whole orchestra and choir and band.
- Progressive Metal: They edge close to this genre at times, especially in their lengthy songs with multiple distinct movements.
- 'Annette Hell.'
- Élan: Means "life force", basically the western name for chi/prana. There is an expression, "dancing with élan", which means something like "to dance with abandon". The lyrics make a play on that, "travel with great élan (dance a gig at the funeral)". And let's not put it past Tuomas to be including the Finnish word "elän", "I live", in his wordplay.
- Done in Nightquest, where the line is "The dreams remain they only brake", instead of "break" which is what people are used to dreams doing. (But then they don't remain.)
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
- From "Slaying the Dreamer:"I! TRULY! HATE! YOU! ALL!
- From "Planet Hell:"Welcome down! To MY! PLANET! HELL!
- In the Cover of The Phantom of the Opera:Sing MY ANGEL OF MUSIC!!!!
- From Yours Is an Empty Hope:Yours! Is! An! Em-pty! Hope
- From "Slaying the Dreamer:"
- Scare Chord: "Scaretale", fittingly enough, opens with one, followed by (as mentioned above) Creepy Children Singing.
- Self-Demonstrating Article: "Music" is essentially this in song form.
- Self-Deprecation: "Élan" has the line, "Write a lyric to the song only you can understand."
- Sequel Song:
- "Astral Romance" is thematically similar to "Nightwish".
- "Know Why The Nightingale Sings" is musically similar to "Nightwish".
- "The Pharaoh Sails To Orion" is this to "Tutankhamen".
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: The character(s) in "Tenth Man Down."
- A more obscure Disney reference can be found in the second verse of I Want My Tears Back. The last line mentions "The voice of Mary Costa". Mary Costa was the singing and speaking voice of Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty.
- "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.
- "A Little Match Girl freezing in the snow" in "Bare Grace Misery".
- "Edema Ruh" is about the traveling performers from The Name of the Wind of the same name.
- "Weak Fantasy" both celebrates and laments about the love (and quality) of imaginary literature, even namedropping War of the Worlds.
- References to Black Mirror are scattered throughout "Noise", particularly in the chorus, which also namedrops Brave New World.
- "The Greatest Show on Earth" has a brief moment, right before Floor sings "Man, he took his time in the sun" for the second time, where Emppu plays a guitar riff that sounds very similar to the main riff from Metallica's "Enter Sandman". (It's easier to hear on the live show at Wembley from Vehicle of Spirit.)
- "Bye Bye Beautiful" gives one to The Hills Have Eyes.
- "Swanheart" mentions "The Ugly Duckling" by name.
- "Taikatalvi" is the title of a story in the The Moomins. (lit. "Magic Winter", eng. "Moominland Midwinter")
- "Weak Fantasy" namedrops Once Upon a Time.
- 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.
- Human. :II: Nature references Shakespeare all over the place.
- "Shoemaker" refers to Macbeth with the line "Then, something wicked their way came", then quotes a stanza from Romeo and Juliet in a spoken-word part during the denouement, making sure we know that the line "cut into little stars" refers to Juliet's soliloquy about Romeo.
- "Swanheart" from Oceanborn also references Romeo and Juliet's famous balcony scene.
- "End of All Hope" from Century Child ends on the line "the rest is silence", in reference to the last words of Hamlet before he died.
- Singer Name Drop:
- Subverted in the demo of "Nightwish", from which the band takes its name.Nightwish I send through the starlit sky
- "Astral Romance":The nightwish I sent you centuries ago
- "Slaying the Dreamer" has one as well.Swansong for the wish of night
- "Sleeping Sun" has a more subtle one.For wishes, I behold my nights
- "Dead Boy's Poem"Everything, a wish for the night
- Subverted in the demo of "Nightwish", from which the band takes its name.
- 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 (Tuomas remarked he was suffering from acute depression at the time and says the album saved his life). Imaginaerum seems to be returning to idealism, as much as a concept album about a dying old man can do so. Endless Forms Most Beautiful returns fully to idealism, with the overall sentiment of the album being "the world is freaking beautiful"; Human. :II: Nature is also mostly idealistic, dealing with the good in humanity and the beauty of nature and art, with a trace of cynicism in "Noise" which takes a massive dump on social media addiction.
- Snow Means Death: "End of All Hope" has this line:Deathbed is slowly covered with snow
- Social Media Is Bad: "Noise" centers around this topic. The song's lyrics are about how social media poisons a person's mind, and the accompanying music video shows scores of people sitting in silence, staring down only at their smartphones.
- Soprano and Gravel: Most of the time, where there is a duet with Tarja/Anette and Marko, this is what happens, except in "The Islander". Before Marko joined the band for Century Child, different guest vocalists were used instead (see Evil Sounds Deep above for a few). Sometimes inverted with Floor, who can growl as well as sing soprano: the chorus of "Yours Is an Empty Hope" has Floor growling and Marko supplying clean vocals!
- Special Guest: On Endless Forms Most Beautiful, who should read all the spoken poetry but Richard Dawkins?
- Spell My Name with an S: There's the usual misspelling of Anette as "Annette", but then there's the more tragic case of Marko vs Marco. Originally known by fans as "Marco", in 2019, he revealed that he had originally chosen to use the "c" spelling to sound "cool", but in future he will be going by his birth name of "Marko", saying that being considered "cool" doesn't matter to him anymore, and he felt "Marco" was "the last lie [he had constructed about himself]".
- Statuesque Stunner: Floor Jansen, who stand 6'0 1/2" (1.84 m.)
- Stealth Pun: "Ghost Love Score" has the word "fall" sung on a falling note.
- Step Up to the Microphone:
- "Harvest" is sung primarily by Troy Donockley, with Floor and Marko demoted to backing vocals.
- At one time in 2000, Holopainen had to sing the male vocal part of "Beauty of the Beast" live in front of 20,000 people.
- 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!:
- Tuomas wrote "Slaying the Dreamer" from Century Child as a sort of retaliation to critics. Lyrics such as "Dumb kid, living a dream / Romantic only on paper" stand out.
- "Bye Bye Beautiful," from Dark Passion Play, is directed at Tarja after she was kicked out of the band. "Master Passion Greed," from the same album, is aimed at her husband, Marcelo Cabuli. Tarja shot back with a song of her own, "Enough", that basically calls Tuomas a prima donna.
- Title-Only Chorus: "Master Passion Greed" and "Meadows of Heaven."
- Together in Death: The hope in "Astral Romance".
- Two-Timing with the Bestie: "Over the Hills and Far Away," being a Cover Version of a song by Gary Moore. The protagonist goes to prison for a robbery he didn't commit, being unwilling to use his alibi because he was with his best friend's wife at the time the crime was committed.
- Truck Driver's Gear Change:
- Originally to show off Tarja's vocal range on songs like "Nemo," "Come Cover Me," and "Sleeping Sun".
- 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.
- Discussed in the final line of "Song of Myself":And there forever remains
That change from G to E minor
- Floor gets these to, most notably in "Music".
- Wanderlust Song: Well... "Wanderlust." Also "Nightquest," "Elvenpath," and "Away" (a less idealistic version.)
- War Is Hell: "Tenth Man Down". Sung from the perspective of a Shell-Shocked Veteran crushed by having had to kill 9 other people to survive. It's strongly implied that he is the tenth man to die...by his own hand.
- 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.)
- The World Is Just Awesome: The Central Theme of Endless Forms Most Beautiful is that the natural world is wonderfully beautiful and humanity is wonderful, too (if sometimes misguided). It's a very upbeat album.
- "Shudder Before the Beautiful" is specifically about the world as seen through the perspective of science and evolution.The unknown, the grand show, the choir of the stars
Interstellar theatre play, the nebulae curtain falls
Imagination, evolution, a species from the vale
Walks in wonder in search of the source of the taleThe music of this awe
Deep silence between the notes
Deafens me with endless love
This vagrant Island Earth
A pilgrim shining bright
We are shuddering before the beautiful
- The titular song of the album sums the whole feeling of this trope up in the chorus:Deep into the past
Follow the aeon path
Greet a blade of grass
Every endless form most beautiful
Alive, aware, in awe
Before the grandeur of it all
Our floating pale blue ark
Of endless forms most beautiful
- The dark and polemical "Weak Fantasy" inverts this in describing religious fundamentalism's view of the world as stuffy, poisonous, limited and a poor story; "Yours Is an Empty Hope" does something similar, though its target is more ambiguous.
- "Shudder Before the Beautiful" is specifically about the world as seen through the perspective of science and evolution.
- Yarling: When Marko sings, sometimes he comes close to this, and he finally devolves into full-blown yarl in "Master Passion Greed."
- Ascended Extra: Half of the band's present lineup started out as sessional members who were then hired permanently.
- Attractive Bent-Gender: The female versions of the male band members in the "Bye Bye Beautiful" video.
- The Chanteuse: The video for "Élan" depicts Floor singing while wearing a long dress in a working-class tavern.
- Gender Bender: The video for "Bye Bye Beautiful" flips almost at random between portraying Nightwish and Nightwish-as-a-Girl Group (starting as the latter), with Annette the only member staying the same in both versions.
- Individuality Is Illegal: Hinted at in the video for "Noise", where one person (played by Emppu) out of a crowd mindlessly looking down into their smartphones is beaten up by his peers because his screen lights up red.
- Mascot: A white owl appears fairly often in their album artwork.
- Mind Screw: The video for "Bye Bye Beautiful."
- Navel-Deep Neckline: One of Floor's stage costumes for the Human. :II: Nature period incorporates a Little Black Dress with a neckline that dips below her sternum. The cups are kept from a Wardrobe Malfunction with a pair of horizontal copper-colored straps across the bust.
- Rule 63: The video for "Bye Bye Beautiful" flips almost at random between portraying Nightwish and Nightwish-as-a-Girl Group (starting as the latter), with Annette the only member staying the same in both versions.
- Self-Parody: The lingerie model in the "Noise" video is a professional model on Instagram playing a parody of herself.
- 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.
- Steampunk: The airships in the video for "The Islander."
- The Un-Reveal: In one of the promotional videos for Human. :II: Nature, Troy claims that the song "Harvest" contains the secret to the whole album and is about to explain what it is... when somebody offscreen tells him to put a mask on because of the COVID-19 pandemic. After that, you can't understand a thing he says for the rest of the video. Well played, Troy...
- 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 Marko (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.
- 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.