Nightwish - Endless Forms Most Beautiful review



Reviewer:
8.5

520 users:
7.64
Band: Nightwish
Album: Endless Forms Most Beautiful
Release date: March 2015


01. Shudder Before The Beautiful
02. Weak Fantasy
03. Èlan
04. Yours Is An Empty Hope
05. Our Decades In the Sun
06. My Walden
07. Endless Forms Most Beautiful
08. Edema Ruh
09. Alpenglow
10. The Eyes Of Sharbat Gula
11. The Greatest Show On Earth
12. Sagan [bonus]


Short answer: Yeah, it's really great.

Long answer: The music is sumptuous and lovely, larger than life, and whisking us away on journey after journey. It's a sweet album of awesome songs, and doesn't try to be some over the top attempt at grandly announcing a new era for the band. It's simply a great album. And that was a smart move.

With still more stories to tell, Tuomas and Company introduce two new members and a host of new sounds at their disposal. Songs flow into each other deliciously, and this record could easily be introducing old fans to new favorite songs.

But who cares, right? Get to the vocals.

Greetings fans of ReVamp, After Forever, Star One, etc., Leave your expectations at the door. Better yet, destroy them entirely. Welcome to the cosmic and fantastic world of Nightwish and get ready to love a new side of the goddess Floor Jansen.

She's not balls-out 100% of the time like we're used to hearing. Something new is in the forefront: storytelling. Let yourself go along with her to the edges of the earth and beyond to new fantastic landscapes. Listen as she savors words, deliciously delivers poetic phrases, and uses her vast vocal tools to take you with her for every note.

And it's not all just pretty singing about pretty places. The dark "Weak Fantasy" has become one of my favorite tracks and can I just say, Floor sounds fierce on this chorus. It juxtaposes two sides of her voice nicely and allows her to really lean into a more versatile delivery. And this song is just the first example.

Some (most everyone) will accuse Tuomas of not utilizing this absolute gift of her powerful voice, and I admit I began with that same frustrated and confused mindset. Then I remembered how, several years ago, Floor discussed her excitement to explore new vocal styles on the first ReVamp album, as well as expressing in other subsequent interviews this same joy of exploring different and softer sides of her voice. You gotta remember: Floor's default setting is Balls To The Wall. It's goddamn 11 when she opens her mouth. Most singers work for years to achieve 40% of what she does so naturally. Maybe she craves the challenge of pulling back, finding the soft and sweet side, the lows, the hushed serenade, as well as an even harsher side.

Don't worry too much: she still lets loose from time to time. But I've come to greatly enjoy many of her beautiful experiments here, even if it's not the powerful beast with whom we've danced before.

The ever-so-slightly less famous other new member, Troy Donockley, really shines on folk-oriented "My Walden," which opens with his vocals before featuring his pipes in splendid fashion. This song showcases the same sweeping orchestrations as many other tracks, and is thus fitting in context, yet the diversion down such a solidly folk music path is a welcome exploration.

It's worth noting that all three vocalists fit impeccably together. It's rare to find such voices that blend so well while still maintaining their individual strengths.

There are a few distinctly "Dead Gardens" chugging riffs and it's nice to hear them, I must admit. With all the beauty and the sweeping orchestrations that are packed into this record, the heaviness and slight crunch keep it grounded.

It's not all roses, however. Let's discuss the downsides.

You all know how much I loathe spoke word and unfortunately we're not only greeted with an opening narrator but also graced with a HUGE monologue in the 25:00 closer. I hate spoken word on metal albums, you know I do. But what do I hate more? Oh, yes, there is one thing. So, there I was rocking out to this awesome record and then

it

happened.

Children's chorus. No.... I just can't.

Please never put a children's chorus on any albums that aren't being sold exclusively to their PTA.

There's also a few times when Tuomas mails it in, composition-wise. Like that painfully awkward key change around 4:00 of "Alpenglow" that sounds like your record needle suddenly jumped and skipped half the song, and the just terrible text setting in the beginning of the title track. No, you don't emphasize the word "THE" by itself. Twice. Seriously, dude. That's like vocal arranging 101. Schubert is rolling over in his grave.

Pretty moderate complaints amidst so much to love. In the end, everyone will come up with their own flaws; it's the cost of success. With more fans come more critics. However, as a devoted Floor fan who initially didn't love this album but was very, very quickly won over, I'm confident this kick-ass record can earn your love on its own. The inherent catchiness in much of this album wormed its way into my heart. Enjoy letting it into yours.


 



Written on 25.03.2015 by Susan appreciates quality metal regardless of sub-genre. Metal Storm Staff since 2006.

Twitter: @HeavyMetalSusan

Guest review by
Metren
Rating:
6.0
Some bands keep evolving and some don't. Those bands that change their style or genre or - most importantly - change their approach towards songwriting itself are sometimes heavily criticized, and at times rightfully so. Not all change is good and change for the sake of change is pointless for obvious reasons.

However...

Doing the same thing over and over again for five albums is even more pointless. How ironic is it that Nightwish's least original album is inspired by the writings of the father of evolutionary biology? And how unfortunate is it that the inclusion of two new capable musicians to the band has left Holopainen so uninspired?

Read more ››
published 10.10.2015 | Comments (14)


Comments page 2 / 2

Comments: 55   Visited by: 776 users
26.03.2015 - 13:42
PocketMetal
Written by M C Vice on 26.03.2015 at 13:01

So, not another 6 minute spoken part, than?


Nope, just the sound of growling animals, cosmic stuff, random piano and whatnot.
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26.03.2015 - 14:45
floc168
I admittedly had never heard anything by Nightwish or Floor before I heard this album. So my expectations were non-existent when I popped this cd in. After a few listens, I can safely say that I enjoy this very much, and am looking forward to giving their older albums a listen.

Don't agree with everything the reviewer says (I personally think that key change in Alpenglow is very effective), but I'd put this at about 8.5 as well. My biggest complaint is probably how unspectacular the seemingly hour long closer tends to feel. The intro is too long, the spoken word parts are a waste of time, and it just feels contrived and pretentious.
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26.03.2015 - 15:12
Bad English
Masterchief
I like a read reviews about bands I like and from one of greatest reviewer her , album I will judge soon when I will hear it (Susan next time play it loader, I am homeless man who lives near your apartment, I sold all my belongings and went to US to hear it) , anway like I told its Thoumas who wrotes music, it can be hevayer, Floor's vocals can do it ...
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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26.03.2015 - 15:56
Dark Forever
Ruído Sonoro
Written by Joe Zombie on 26.03.2015 at 08:40

I find this album to be very average unfortunately. Edema Ruh is a nice track. That's about it for me. I'll give it another spin before I rate it.


It's funny how tastes differ. That's precisely the one song in the album I don't really like
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Taste the DARK...
... and you'll live FOREVER!
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26.03.2015 - 16:59
atkmetal123
I both hate and love this album in the same time. Understand that Floor likes to explore new range of voice but if the vocal goes down, the rest will follow, thats naturally how it works. And Emppu's guitar really did step down from what he could do in the past, he's not a technical guitarist but he had tons of awesome riffs in those past albums, but definitely not in this one.

In the other hand, Tuomas created a beautiful journey of music, I would call this as a soundtrack album more than a symphonic metal album. Instrumental went really well and the chemical between musicians is there. The album runs smoothly from beginning till end.

I feel like Tuomas involves too much of his personality from his solo project into this one.

P/s : sorry for the bad writing .
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27.03.2015 - 05:51
The Evergreen
Can't wait to see it live!
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27.03.2015 - 08:48
AhmedMagdi
Great album
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27.03.2015 - 10:50
M C Vice
Ex-polydactyl
The music's pretty much up to the usual standard, sound pretty similar to Once, actually, but the vocals (and lyrics) are pretty underwhelming. I like the last track best, probably, although it'd be better without the spoken parts.
I still think Floor's sister Irene Is a far better singer.
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"Another day, another Doug."
"I'll fight you on one condition. That you lower your nipples."
" 'Tis a lie! Thy backside is whole and ungobbled, thou ungrateful whelp!"
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27.03.2015 - 21:44
Steve Smith
I'm not sure why the concept is so difficult for reviewers to grasp, but this is a new album. It is a work on it's own and it invalidates your review if you compare it to previous work. This is not a remake. It is a new story. As for the musical similarities to this song or that song it's called style, as in "this is the band's style". A symphonic metal band shouldn't have to put out dance music or country to have reviewers stop bashing them for similarities to previous work. Judge it on it's own merits, not past ones. Just a thought ..

Now for those who have issues with the vocals remember that Thomas asked Floor to not go balls-to-the-wall, her trade mark, and try different styles to stretch her range. This is a artistic progression on Thomas's part, not an inability on Floors. It's unfortunate how many people had this weird idea that bringing Floor in meant a return to heavy operatic vocals. If they wanted that they could have just brought Tarja back. Thomas wanted a voice that can go with anything he wants to write. Not the opera only vocals of Tarja or the pop only sound of Annette. If people feel they must compare the singers then I have a suggestion that solves all the problems. Repeat after me .. I like <insert singer here> the best. This is a valid statement. Any statement that one is better than the other is an opinion, not a fact. If anyone out there who believes one singer is better than the others has empirical evidence to back it up I'd love to see it. Otherwise just state your opinion and leave it at that (please remember to start it with "I think", not "She is way better than her!!!!!!!!!!". Leave that to the obnoxious loudmouths who believe their opinions actually represent reality.
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28.03.2015 - 09:00
Steve Smith
Written by ManiacBlasphemer on 25.03.2015 at 12:24

I really fail to see what is great in this album. With the exception of 2-3 tracks, there is nothing memorable in it. Even the Anette albums had more memorable tunes than this one has. The vocals are heavily restrained, it does not put into value the vocal abilities of Floor at all, and I feel like this album was made with Anette's vocal performance in mind rather than Floor's. Marco's contribution has diminished drasticaly, few interventions and those aren't anything amazing. For me this is probably the weakest album ever made by Nightwish. Not to mention the boring 20+ minute track where like half of it nothing happens (plus the 6 minute intro). Seriously, this is 6 material at best, not 8.5... for 8.5 you need to put at least something quality-wise like Once or Century Child.


I think it was an interesting choice for the band to have Floor sing the heavily folk inspired song in the folk singer style instead of the operatic style I think a lot of people were hoping for. Instead she sings for the song and they put the metal and symphonic elements around that. I also find the use of the lower range, for both Floor and Marco, to be compelling and when the three sing together they sound great. Thomas has never had that option open to him before. Tarja was the high range operatic soprano, Annette was the mid range pop / rock singer. Both are very good in their own ways. With Floor they had a chance to explore the lower range and while it's definitely different than what a lot of people were expecting I think 8.5 is low. Just my opinion.
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29.03.2015 - 02:53
sprozzata
Evening all. I'm a huge After Forever fan and to be honest not a Nightwish fan but I love Floor so I gave the new album a listen. After the first listen I was dumbfounded. How could they not let her go wild. So I listen again and then again and it happened. I wanted to hear it again. This is awesome! I may have to give Nightwish another shot. I think I missed something.
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29.03.2015 - 09:41
pregar
Good review. But only after listening to this album a few times I started to agree with you. Like someone somewhere said, harder to get into it, but really great album.
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29.03.2015 - 18:38
Kass
Account deleted
Wow, this band is still alive?

I have't heard their name since a long time.
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30.03.2015 - 16:19
Ivor
Staff
Floor is fantastic singer and I don't really mind whether she sings to the maximum of her vocal power or tries something quiet and soothing. She's still damn good. The main problem with this album for me is not so much her vocal style as the way the vocals are mixed into this album. Her voice just isn't given space to breathe. It's impossible to listen to the different shades and nuances of her voice as the rhythm section just plain overpowers her. Tapestry is one word that runs through the lyrics a couple of times. Well, her voice is being turned into a tapestry. If you are going to take advantage of all the colors of her quiet voice, mix it in louder and leave room for it to be heard. Which is exactly why I like "Élan" - there's room enough. Even Marco's voice is overpowered by the rhythm section. Shame all that. Music-wise the album is quite alright, though there could be quite a lot less filler material, especially where the epic is concerned.

I.
----
No friends for playing games
No foes who scorn my name
Computerized machines of steel and rust
/---/
No friends in my house on Mars
No foes in my house on Mars
I was born in my house on Mars
I will die in my house on Mars
-- Ayreon - My House on Mars
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30.03.2015 - 16:35
Danyael
"There's also a few times when Tuomas mails it in, composition-wise. Like that painfully awkward key change around 4:00 of "Alpenglow" that sounds like your record needle suddenly jumped and skipped half the song"

Not listening to prog much, eh? I loved that part, and it really isn't very uncommon for Nightwish to make such jumps to break the monotony.
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30.03.2015 - 22:20
DoomRules
The sound is great, the album is not bad, but "enema ugh", sorry "Edema Ruh" is boring
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There's no light at the end of the tunnel...
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31.03.2015 - 20:22
Unhealer
Eclecticist
Written by Danyael on 30.03.2015 at 16:35

"There's also a few times when Tuomas mails it in, composition-wise. Like that painfully awkward key change around 4:00 of "Alpenglow" that sounds like your record needle suddenly jumped and skipped half the song"

Not listening to prog much, eh? I loved that part, and it really isn't very uncommon for Nightwish to make such jumps to break the monotony.


I also think that part is lovely. Is it really that bad in music theory terms, Susan?
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31.03.2015 - 20:27
AngelofDeth
Cyborg Raptor
Written by Night Theater on 25.03.2015 at 10:22

Susan, you said: "There's also a few times when Tuomas mails it in"

Did you mean nails? I don't get it. Never heard that term before.

It's a saying, it means half-assed or lazy etc. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Mail+it+in

This review excites me and makes me skeptical all at once.

It seems the album is pretty damn good but at the same time the Reviewer fans out pretty hard in this review, especially for a simple 8.5 rating. Wellp seeing as I'm a bit of a Nightwish fanboy as well maybe I'll think similarly. We'll see, about to dive into it RN!
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pewpew.. gotcha
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01.04.2015 - 06:25
sprozzata
Written by AngelofDeth on 31.03.2015 at 20:27

Written by Night Theater on 25.03.2015 at 10:22

Susan, you said: "There's also a few times when Tuomas mails it in"

Did you mean nails? I don't get it. Never heard that term before.

It's a saying, it means half-assed or lazy etc. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Mail+it+in

This review excites me and makes me skeptical all at once.

It seems the album is pretty damn good but at the same time the Reviewer fans out pretty hard in this review, especially for a simple 8.5 rating. Wellp seeing as I'm a bit of a Nightwish fanboy as well maybe I'll think similarly. We'll see, about to dive into it RN!


Trust me, get it! Very diverse and the most beautiful vocal performance. Floor isn't like the first two. They were singers. She is an instrument. Tuomas had to write for Tarja and Annette to get the best out of each of them. This album is the exact opposite. Floor sings for the songs. Whatever style they call for she is there. I have no doubt that was why Nightwish approached her in the first place. Even though she is a full blown balls-to-the-wall metal diva and beautiful soprano, this albums shows she is much much more than that. What an amazing thing it must be to be able to write songs with complete freedom and never have to wonder "can she?".
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01.04.2015 - 18:44
TPrice
Over all I enjoyed the album. It's not quite up to Oceanborn standards but it's a quality Nightwish album. That being said I am now even more confused about why Elan was the single they decided to release. That is one of the weaker tracks on the album and made a lot of people, myself included, afraid that they went folk rock.
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03.04.2015 - 22:36
4look4rd
The Sasquatch
Best Nightwish album since Once. It truly is a great album but its still lacking the power of their old material. I think Floor is getting a lot of criticism here, but to me Nightwish is lacking a better male singer.

The opener sounds exactly like an Epica song but its missing the harsh vocals. While this is a fantastic song (probably the best one in the album), I can only imagine how much better it would have been if they brought someone like Tapio Wilska over. Weak Fantasy is another song that would greatly benefit from a better male vocalist, Marco simply cannot pull it off.
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23.04.2015 - 21:17
Ernis
狼獾
Thanks Susan for the great review for a great album. It does have its fillers and meh-moments but the generally I like it. It certainly grows on you and requires more than just one spin to appreciate what it really has to offer. And Floor... oh yeah... Floor is so good. She sounds powerful and yet smoother than she ever did with After Forever... In the beginning of the long song of this album (it wouldn't be a proper Nightwish album without that one long song) she even sounds like Tarja for some seconds and it just hits you with nostalgy...
I admire all three lead singers of this band... I hope they can all sing together for real one day...
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Go ahead, make my day...
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25.04.2015 - 16:06
Azarath
Written by Ernis on 23.04.2015 at 21:17

I admire all three lead singers of this band... I hope they can all sing together for real one day...

Hear, hear.
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07.01.2016 - 16:42
Tritono
I think that this album is unstable. There are great ideas but not been developed. Anyway Floor is fantastic!
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09.01.2016 - 01:53
IntestinalCrypt
The only thing I disagree with here is about the sudden key change in Alpenglow. I think it's awesome.
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