Nightwish – Endless Forms Most Beautiful

Nightwish
Endless Forms Most Beautiful
Symphonic metal
Released on March 30, 2015
Via Nuclear Blast Records

OK, so I’m not going to pretend like I’m the biggest Nightwish fan. However, I am a fan of the symphonic metal genre and they are a big part of that world of music and I did enjoy their last outing Imaginaerum, like, a lot. So, when I got Endless Forms Most Beautiful I was wondering what the band had in store, as this is the first album with new singer Floor Jansen, who to me seemed like a good match for them; she has a fantastic voice and I was wondering how the band were going to use her for this album.

Now the intro is out of the way, I’ll just say it: this album is bad, really bad, but… The bits that Nightwish get right are pretty fantastic.  I can honestly say that some of the riffs and melodies on this record are actually really good. It’s like a bad Disney movie, bad and hard to sit through, but dammit, when they get it right, they get it right.  Same can be said for this album, it’s all pretty hit and miss. Believe when I say, I hate that I have to hate this album, because a few changes here or there and this would have been solid, or at the very least listenable. The album opens with the tune “Shudder Before the Beautiful” which is actually pretty catchy and works pretty well. Same can be said for a range of song on the record, catchy and definitely show signs of interest and promise but ultimately don’t leave much of an impression on me. Tuomas Holopainen’s compositions always have this weird charms to them but it’s the song he wrote with Marco Hietala that particular stand out for me, especially Yours Is An Empty Hope.

To be perfectly honest, I think it’s because the album feels mostly lifeless. I’m willing to concede that yes, a lot of work went into this record, but everything feels so lifeless and non committal. It just feels empty. Also I don’t think Floor Jansen is used to her fullest potential, I know that was the intention but why? It’s like a pirate ship having 50 cannons and then choosing not to use 25 of them, it makes no sense. Also the production sounds a little muted, I always find myself having to turn the volume up, I couldn’t explain this to save me it’s weird.  Alot of it just sounds like their trying way too hard to sound big and symphonic, and when you’re struggling to sound symphonic, it makes everything sound so fake around you and it’s hard to be invested in the music.

The only couple of songs that I really enjoyed on this album are, Yours Is An Empty Hope, which is this high octane rush of a song, it gets you pumped and the music is vaguely interesting here.  Also the title track, Endless Forms Most Beautiful, is pretty decent too, well paced and balanced.  Other than that, I couldn’t recommend this at all.

Overall, well no, I don’t like it.  I know that sometimes different doesn’t always mean bad, but here I feel Nightwish kept too much the same from their records with Anette Olzen. If she was singing here, this might have been salvageable, but you can’t change the singer and keep the old song writing patterns, that makes no sense.  Ultimately I can’t say I like this album, but this has had high critical praise elsewhere, so what do I know…

2/5

Mick Birchall

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