Posts Tagged ‘Nightwish’

I’m reading Lord of the Rings again. This is probably the 15th time at least that I’ve read it since the first time I picked it up as a kid. I like to read it once a year if I can, not only because it is a masterpiece of storytelling and world/mythology creation, but there is a huge link between Tolkien’s work and heavy metal in general. Bands, song titles, album titles; so many inspired directly or indirectly by the works of J.R.R, so I’ve built a playlist based upon bands that have some link to his works. I don’t normally do this, but each song can get a brief explanation for those who may be a bit confused about some of the links:

1. Blind Guardian – Lord of the Rings: no explanation needed here surely. I couldn’t miss the world’s best power metal bands, especially since their Tolkien obsession led them to write their best album based on Tolkien’s most impenetrable book, The Simarillion.

2. Amon Amarth – Amon Amarth: An alternate name for Mount Doom, the fire that forged the One Ring.

3. Burzum – Ea, Lord of the Depths: Burzum is the word for ‘darkness’ in the Black Speech of Mordor. It is found engraved on the Ruling Ring.

4. Gorgoroth – Gorgoroth: A vast, dead plain within Mordor

5. Cirith Ungol – The Troll: Cirith Ungol is the pass into Mordor where Shelob lives

6. Morgoth – Unreal Imagination: Morgoth is the Great Enemy, Sauron’s boss and the creator of all evil in Middle Earth

7. Led Zeppelin – Misty Mountain Hop: The Misty Mountains are probably the most famous range in the Tolkien works, and this is a rocking song!

8. Isengard – Dark Lord of Gorgoroth: Covers two bases by mentionion Gorgoroth again and Isengard being the home of Saruman the wizard

9. Balrog – Nazgul Warlord: A Balrog was the massive beast of fire and flame that fights Gandalf in Moria

10. Nazgul – In Summis Montibus: The Nazgul were the 9 Ringwraiths sent by Sauron to find the Ring

11. Nightwish – The Elvenpath: Contains samples from the animated Lord of the Rings movie, as well as referencing elves and Bilbo Baggins

12. Orange Goblin – Saruman’s Wish: Saruman being the traitorous white wizard

13. Three Inches of Blood – Destroy the Orcs: A kick ass song about destroying orcs

14. Ephel Duath – Vector, Third Movement: Ephel Duath is a mountain range on the West and South of Mordor. It means ‘Fence of Shadow’

So there we have it, a bit of everything and all mixed in with the heady goodness of dwarves, elves, men and wizards. Oh, and lots of unspeakable evil!

I’m getting a holiday next week for the first time in, um, 2 years. Fuck, that long? Urgh. Anyway, my wonderful lady and I are jetting off to the least kvlt place I can think of; Menorca. Quiet, Mediterranean weather and hopefully some quality beer and relaxation time. But, a man has got to have a playlist to crank when he needs a riff. So I’ve made my ultimate SUN playlist. Hint, all the songs have Sun in the title. Yeah, it’s three a.m, cut me some slack.

1. Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun

2. Wintersun – Beyond the Dark Sun

3. Suffocation – Despise the Sun

4. Electric Wizard – The Sun Has Turned to Black

5. Boris – Flower Sun Rain

6. Nightrage – The Glow of the Setting Sun

7. Animals – House of the Rising Sun

8. Nightwish – Sleeping Sun

9. My Dying Bride – Like Gods of the Sun

10. Devin Townsend – Sunshine and Happiness

11. Dio – Sunset Superman

12. Windhand – Winter Sun

I like Nightwish. There, I said it. I don’t LOVE Nightwish, but I was a big fan of theirs back when they released ‘Once’, had the video for ‘Nemo’ on Kerrang repeatedly and had operatic sex bomb Tarja Turunen on vocals. I have recently gone back through my CD collection in the advent of 2014 approaching, to find the hidden treasures I have bought in the past and forgotten about. When you own like 1400+, you start to lose some in the madness. Nightwish was one of those artists, so I’m dusting them off to see if they still appeal to my tastes.

I have like, five (FIVE!?) Nightwish records. That, I definitely had forgotten. I thought I only had two, three at a push. I first got into them just after I left high school and went to university. My little hometown had fuck all in the way of decent record stores apart from Barnstorm Records, to which I owe a lot. But Glasgow had a Virgin Megastore (remember those?) and about 3 HMVs, so I was in heaven. I then discovered a love for symphonic metal and power metal, which was fully realised by the fact I could get these kind of records in the shops. It was the birth of my CD collection’s true expanse into what it has become today.

And Nightwish were a firm favourite of mine back in the day. They had some great songs, and a real sense of the grand and epic. Tarja’s voice was so different to anything I had really experienced before, and female-fronted metal bands were reasonably rare at the time. 2004’s ‘Once’ was truly a great album for its era; it contained all the good things about symphonic power metal with female vocals, without falling into the missteps that so many copycats (and the band themselves) fell into afterwards. ‘I Wish I Had An Angel’ was a storming track, and the always catchy ‘Nemo’ are still good tracks, almost 10 years later. Tarja was a bona fide opera singer, so she could do epic SERIOUSLY well. Nightwish could do epic properly too, with the huge ‘Ghost Love Score’ and ‘Creek Mary’s Blood’.

Nightwish lost something for me when Tarja left; both they and Turunen’s solo records failed to leave much of an impression on me (although I still like ‘Amaranth’ and ‘Eva’ from ‘Dark Passion Play’) and they faded from my radar almost completely. They became a band for me that I had good memories of ‘back in the day’, but held nothing for me as I moved towards more brutal and obscure directions in music. But listening back to them now, I can still see why I liked them. I could probably put together a personal greatest hits for people who wanted to hear the best of them. And here it is:

1. Sleeping Sun

2. Nemo

3. Amaranth

4. I Wish I Had An Angel

5. Dark Chest of Wonders

6. End of All Hope

7. Angels Fall First

8. Nymphomaniac Fantasia

9. Ghost Love Score

10. The Poet and The Pendulum

11. Sacrament of Wilderness

And, here’s another reason I, at 18, was smitten by Nightwish. Back when Tarja was stunning.