(8/10) The pressfolder for the new Nightwish album starts with a statement that is "A new era begins". This can mean a lot and things can go to all directions with the new era. And honestly, after having heard the first single release "Elan" I was doubting if the statements means something positive. Fortunately things went in the right direction and the new Nightwish is far better than the first single.
So, what is the new era about. First of all "Endless forms most beautiful" is the debut for Dutch vocalist Floor Jansen performing with Nightwish. I liked her voice already with Revamp, her solo project, and After Forever, where she earned the first credits. I actually think that her voice fits perfectly to the sound of the Finnish symphonic metal band since it's powerful at one moment just to twist into soulful almost fragile parts a few moments later.
Next to Jansen there is another new member on board of the symphonic cruiser. Jukka Nevalainen had to stop with Nightwish due to health issues and found with Kai Hatho an excellent replacer. It seems that both changes have brought a new spirit into the band. In this sense - a new era.
The overall theme for the album is science, evolution and biology. The name of the record, a quote from Charles Darwin, does emphasis this and eleven tracks on the longplayer can be seen as chapters in a book. And it is evolutionary scientologist Richard Dawkins himself that contributed in a narrator role in during the opener "Shudder before the beautiful".
The 'centre' of the album and the finale furioso is marked by the epical "The greatest show on earth". The 24 minutes long masterpiece is divided in five chapters that and thematise evolution. Things have come full circle since also Richard Dawkins comes back in his role as narrator. It is those spoken word parts together with samples of birds and additional elements that divide the different sections of this milestone. At some moments I had the feeling that it's a bit overdone with all those extras, but it doesn't have a n negative impact on the totality.
Songs I also want to mention are the more heavy ones like "Weak fantasy" and "Yours in an empty hope".
With "My walden" the folk elements get some attention and the tune reminded me a bit to Nightwish's cover version of "Over the hills and far away" from Gary Moore.
If "Endless forms most beautiful" marks a new era for Nightwish I don't know. However, the album sounds fresh and modern. It comes across more passionated than the latest studio releases and got a better punch. I'm happy that "Elan" stays the only weaker track on the album. For the rest I just can say: Go for it.
- Shudder before the beautiful
- Weak fantasy
- Yours in an empty hope
- Our decades in the sun
- My walden
- Endless forms most beautiful
- Edema ruh
- The eyes of Sharbat Gula
- The greatest show on earth
Label: Nuclear Blast
Genre: Symphonic Metal