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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Nightwish - Imaginaerum review

Year : 2011
Genre : Symphonic Abba Metal
Label : Nuclear Blast / Roadrunner Records
Origin : Finland
Rating : 6.0 / 10

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Finland's Nightwish seemingly knows no insipid jokes when it comes to symphonic fairy tale metal. Imaginaerum comes to you with an exigently executed cover art and truly top of the heat production values, and it pains me relevantly enough to inform you that only 5 minutes and 22 seconds of this release is capable to offer something I'm eager to revisit.

Opening track, Taikatalvi is a gently presented musical introduction with Finnish lyrics to it, and this entry, one must assume, serves the attentive function to offer an initial compliment for the ruling atmosphere herein so it could exhibit secretly raging readiness to summon the heft to swarm you proper at any moment near you, with hopefully no less of an agenda than to carry your soul on the oh!, sooo fantastic sonic journey you're here for. Trallala. I got it, I got it. Show me the Animal.

Wish granted. Second track - virtually the first, because the intro is "just" a very nice intro - called Storytime engages Abba Metal Power about 101%, - for 5 minutes and 22 seconds, by the way - and one must imagine that this is the kind of music the so called "diligent metal fan" would be embarrassed to admit she/he totally enjoys, because it sparks, it flows, it carries you indeed, and, regardless of the oh!, so beautifully simplistic structure of verse and chorus, the mutual-, mere melodic tightness of these elements - add the soaring female vocals that hide no Camembert but pack legit power and bite - are more than enough to make GyZ a happy boy so far.

Third track, "Ghost River" has a mixture of seriously wicked masquerade and Rammstein vibe at the start region, in which the LP is quick to address its propensity to go fucking mental if it so pleases, and it is a pretty interesting notion you will be forced to take after its gentler-, but far from slimy direct predecessor. The track shows relative eagerness to go mildly experimental in nature at the mid section, inviting to mind the threshold-zone of the sublime rabidness so inherent to the trade of the avant garde silence massacrists forming the band called Unexpect.

"Slow, Love, Slow" is a slow love song, but, with a sensual menacing vibe to it, presented in a bar atmosphere in which you are not sure what will be the next thing in your mouth : someone's tongue, or a 45 Magnum. This delivery clearly marks an ambition to contribute a truly flamboyant fabric, as brass instruments and a guitar later on join in to deliver standard bluesy vibes. I'm sorry to say that the guitar solo is pretty meh, not much if any musical thought worth sharing behind it, but at least it is short. The song comes to a SUPERB catharsis, courtesy of the female vocalist, but it is SHORT!! Truly, the end section reeks Sam Brown's brilliant declaration Stop, and one has the feeling that the band members got afraid of this instead of embracing it while it is possible.

Next one, "I want my tears back" commits the mistake of nodding on such an exceptionally shitass-sucking track title, but, whatever. This song, unfortunately, shows regions of clueless wandering with Scottish pipes and other hideous things to crave the Michael Flatley. Irish folk song for you. Later on, clapping hands join in in order to exhibit the rhythmic structure for which you will do the Mike Flatley in the next moment if you absolutely are serious about coming across as a person a sober one would not enter into a lift with. This track, in my opinion, sucks ancient mummified mummy balls and I don't like it.

Scaretale tries to scare me with an orchestrated rumble delivered by 1 000 000 stringed instruments, and must say it succeeds. After a short, calmer interlude, an overly-bombastic symphonic build bordering on good old fashioned Bigottry Unlimited invites the rhythm guitars to cover its traces of escape. The singing in the song starts out at 2:55, and it quickly turns out that the name of the game herein is a cute/funny/scary/mehe musical-like piece you could have heard in the Sweeney Todd musical movie. Then you are invited to dismiss this notion, because the build takes a truly terrible turn for a highly idiotic pirate cartoon song, which would be immense dosage of fun in a Secret of the Monkey Island adventure game, but, it sounds like an insult on a professional record when offered as Content and not as a bonus track I get paid for if I'm consent listening to. The track later on returns to a more serious tone that refrains from slapping your face with a dead tuna fish, but, the memory of the horror is too fresh to appreciate any of it.

Arabesque summons the arabesque vibe with very nicely realized, lush orchestra that would flatter a Hollywood blockbuster no problem. Other than that, this indeed sounds more like a thorough-, and splendid demonstration of top level tradecraft skills from the producers - three men have worked on this release as producers - so they could proclaim : "Look! We can produce cinematic music!" Look! They can produce cinematic music!

"Turn Loose the Mermaids" is a gentle-, "emo bard by the bonfire" routine piece with some western overtones I personally got the shivers from in this context. It craves effect sooooooo desperately from me that I, for one, won't give it that courtesy. The song drops the western overtone at the end, and goes Flatley again. Aua.

"Rest Calm" features a man vocalist in a standard power metal stance. While his performance is acceptable, his charm and charisma in my opinion is overshadowed by his female counterparts joining in with a section that sports tad more inventive of a character than the power metalish verse structure. It is not entirely clear at this point what this track wants from me. It sounds like it wants everything, yet wants nothing sufficiently enough so I could give it to it. The piece comes to a bombastic bigottry build via its climax with every instrument in the studio seeking to declare its True Meaning, but the composition simply is not worthy enough to serve this valiant agenda out with me clapping to it.

"The Crow, The Owl and The Dove" is a radio friendly mid-tempo contribution with enough cunning to feature significantly different moods in the chorus and the verse, while a short, efficient interlude builds a safe passage so the band can sell the verse and chorus to you again without you getting caught sleeping. A solid "uhuh" song, but nothing beyond that.

"Last Ride of the Day", thank God & Co., once again goes for the Abba metal vibe which this release looks the best with, in my opinion. The delight is not necessarily unblemished, because the chorus of this entry once again goes for cheapass high fantasy, and, despite the bombastic and relentless repetition of it at the ending portion of the song, I'm not sure if it is as good as the band suggests it to be.

"Song of Myself" is a 13 minutes epic with some pretty superb Abba metal verses at the initial regions, and even more of choirs that go "hah hahh hahh!" relentlessly to interrupt the great lead singer Abba metal chick, who, in my opinion, is much better with her own program than the choir is with their cumbersome-, alibi "hah hahh hahh!", I'm sorry to say. The track comes to a virtual stall without it noticing this about itself, and it basically becomes the context-sensitive background music of any combat section of any fantasy related RPGs. The build escapes this suffocation by seeking out another kind of it, with a row of lengthy, I mean : leeeeeeeenghty narrative performances, and the release gives you the vibe that you are listening to a self help tape. Nothing wrong with that, but where is my direct entertainment you promised!

As for the last track, the titular Imaginaerum : the central theme is a solid, thoughtful melody that could be the invention of John Williams, and, once you are served with it a couple of times, powerful-, yet at heart formless cinematic music is applied, so you would be delighted when you get the then-familiar central melody back. Beware : there are Scottish pipes on your way, and Michael Flatley knows you are near, too. Once again, this is a cinematic soundtrack for a Hollywood blockbuster, and it does nothing less or else than you would anticipate if to expect that from it.

This release has a very limited ability to deliver its stunning top form it gives you via its second track, which, not too surprisingly, was released as an introductory single for a much more tepid full length you have just been reading about. I got super-enthusiastic with this release upon hearing that second track, "Storytime", and with massive disappointment I conclude that I could not find anything else on it to remain in that mood for.

Rating : 6.0 / 10

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  1. It's not so much a concept album but rather a film soundtrack. There is a larger focus on orchestra/symphonic melody rather than punching out heavy guitar riffs ( tho they are still there). Nightwish's most professional album so far, and my favorite! Surely it deserves better than a 6!?? Well written review tho, had a good chuckle with the mummy balls comment ^^. I give it 8/10 :)

  2. Scores are not too important here, because the art always is superior to the critic, but, in this case I feel that the 6 is a pretty kind score, because this album imo has no capacity to recreate its top form that which is in the song "Storytime". A lower score, I could live with, but higher, no way.

    It is not "hard" to write Abba metal if one has the feeling for it, - check the latest Royal Hunt LP's "Half Past Loneliness" for another superb Abba metal piece - but this Nightwish record mainly revolves around the fact that it has million cheap clich├ęs to indulge along its goth fairytale atmosphere and satisfies with bombastically presented mediocrity and bantamweight compositions, in my opinion. This is a semi-schizophrenic goth fairy tale album, but it is super-far from the release you and I, too, hoped it would be. Face it, ladies and gents. I surely can imagine that there are fans out there being blown away by this, but I also know that Nightwish is yet to produce their next masterpiece and this ain't that.

    Is there a stunning moment you want to revisit on this release beside track number 2 and the Sam Brown-like song yet, maybe? None for me I know of, currently. Idiotic pirate song. Bloated-ass opera choir abusing a melody that has zero capacity to accomplish. Irish folk song high fantasy nervous breakdown administration that gives you pointy ears and makes you attractive in the eyes of Gnomes. Caravan movie soundtrack. Wow. OK. Should one give bro-hugs for the producers how superbly they produce cinematic scores?

    I've read that Nightish will be on a world tour in 2012, and I am frightened to imagine that 60 minutes of a 90 minutes show will be the Storytime song, lol. Sorry, sorry, sorry. The troll has been served a beer.

  3. Irish pipes dude, they sound way different from Scottish highland pipes. And yeah, you may not haven known , this had an accompanying movie, much of this is soundtrack.
    I'm listening to it rig now, knowing that it's a soundtrack I feeli like it is a journey, it tells a story ....it'll make more sense with the movie.

  4. Nightwish's music is for listeners that are capable of understanding poetry. The person who wrote this review, obviously hasn't taken the time to truly feel the album. Everything has a meaning in this album, and instead of different tracks telling different stories, you get an entire album which tells one story.

    Personally, I love this album. The lyrics are beautiful, the music is epic, and the vocals give me shivers.

    It seems you actually see this album from a commercial point of view. Obviously, you are not familiar with Nightwish's ways. These songs aren't about selling loads of albums... These songs are merely Tuomas' heart, put into words.

    Since you have such a boner for ABBA, you should go listen to them.

  5. This band fucking sucks, and their fans are the kind of douche bags that think you're less musically inclined or knowledgible if you don't "understand" the music. I understand that this band sucks at "trying" to be metal, but not nearly as much as the elitest fan base. Bad music is bad music. Period. This shit is cheesier than Yanni. OOOPs!! I take it Nightwish fans are Yanni fans too. Why don't you just say Kenny G is metal if you think this abomination has any metal credibility. And WHAT THE FUCK is up with the stupid fucking indian guy "rocking" the pan-flute? Might as well be a skin flute!

    1. Sounds like you are in a WORLD of HD hurt with this band. Don't you develop cancer on this, man!


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