Nightwish - Oceanborn review
|Release date:||December 1998|
03. Devil & The Deep Dark Ocean
04. Sacrament Of Wilderness
05. Passion And The Opera
08. The Riddler
09. The Pharaoh Sails To Orion
10. Walking In The Air [Howard Blake cover]
11. Nightquest [bonus]
12. A Return To The Sea [bonus]
13. Sleeping Sun [bonus]
Oceanborn. What's in a title? A lot. Purity and innocence are words that describe someone who is born in - or from - an ocean. There is a sweet innocence to Nightwish's 2nd album that can not be found in the later albums or on the previous one. "Dark Passion Play," "Nymphomaniac Fantasy," "She is my Sin," "Slaying the Dreamer" - what's in a title? That's not to say Oceanborn doesn't have its darker themes, too, they just aren't overwhelming. When I listen to the album as a whole, it is a solemn, but joyful experience. I get the feeling that Tuomas and the band really enjoyed making this album and made it for themselves. Back then, their music was still in the foreground and business was somewhere on the background, not even in clear focus. They didn't have the troubles and responsibilities they now carry, they were young and free.
Now, about the actual music. Oceanborn is balanced perfectly between Angel's Fall First and Wishmaster. The raw power of the first album is still here, though it is definitely more subtle. Songwriting has taken a huge leap forward, listen to the magnificent piano in Gethsemane. The performance of the band as a whole is much, much better than it was on Angel's fall first. Tarja is perhaps at her best here, as evidence by The Passion and the Opera. Emmpu's guitar in Sacrament of Wilderness is a clear sign that Tuomas should have him write more solos. (You've got a great guitarist, let him show his skills!)
There isn't a single bad song on Oceanborn, but the ones that really stand out are Gethsemane, Sacrament of Wilderness, Swanheart, which best represents the innocence and joy that I mentioned, and of course Nightwish's best ballad: Sleeping Sun. It is my opinion that ballads have always been the shortcomings of Nighwish; Sleeping sun is the exception, that proves the rule.
In conclusion: 9.1 may seem like a bit of a stretch, but remember that we are talking about (one of) the greatest symphonic metal band(s) in existence and Oceanborn represents the best of their "era of innocence."
|It's always hard to be objective when you talk about one of your favourite bands.I can's pretend I am going to be objective here, because I like this band so much.
The most noticeable thing with Nightwish is that everything lays on Tarja Turunen's fragile shoulders. And as her voice is perfect, everything works, even better than on the first album Angels Fall First. Compared to this one, Oceanborn is heavier, more varied and has, of course, a better sound, and finally Tuomas Holopainen decided to stop singing (his voice scared me when I first heard Angels Fall First): he who writes everything, and has stunning keyboard sounds decided to let Tarja do the job.
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|Oceanborn - for many people the highlight of Nightwish's discography. This is a very hard album to review for me - I've had it for several years and I'm still not sure what I think about it. On some points Oceanborn is a masterpiece with ten points out of ten - I'll describe how first.
The material itself on this album is pure professionalism - song structures are all interesting and the only song I find to be bad is 'Swanheart' which always manages to bore me. Guitars are interesting, the keyboards are almost virtuoso and the performance is overall top notch. There's a lot of instrumental passages through the tracks which provide a lot; they take the music away from the deep, deep swamp of 'verse-bridge-refrain-repeat-solo-refrain-end'. I can't really find any tracks that are better than the others and for me there are no real hits here. That is the main reason why this album isn't perfect.
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