Endless Forms Most Beautiful reviews

148 posts in this topic

I made a new topic where we can post reviews/reports in one place. It was requested in the new album thread, and I think it will be much easier to find the articles this way. I'll go through the thread and paste the reviews in this thread, feel free to add new ones as they come :)

Maybe the discussions should stay in the new album thread, and just the reviews in this one.



Review from Kaaoszine.
Shudder Before The Beautiful
"No long intro that I expected, instead the action starts right away. A high tempo song combined with Jansen's calmly long vocals that we'll also hear a lot later on the album. Immediately you can tell that her voice fits almost perfectly to the whole entity, because you can hear some familiar things right away. However, already on this first song Floor shows her personal abilities and brings something completely new to the table. The song varies from upbeat to dark, where the upbeat mostly comes from Floor's high pitched vocals and melodies. The solo part with almost Children of Bodom-like combination and dialog of synth and guitar should also not be forgotten. This song underlines what Ms. Jansen said before the pre-listening: There is a lot of stuff. A good basis for things to come, but there is a question in the air - what is this story truly about?"
Weak Fantasy
"The symphonic and theatrical traits are present, and Weak Fantasy goes more to the soundtrack department in my books. The same theme with Imaginaerum continues and this is just what you'd expect from the new album. Again something familiar, but the band is being a little shy and holding something back. Jansen has convinced the listener already and you'll get used to her voice latest by this song. You can also hear Mr. Hietala for the first time on this song."
"The first single, and despite it's vastness a very compact song that you can get into quickly. Feels like it takes half the show with it's melodies and beats. Things are clearly under control and small refreshments to the formula do not cause any harm."
Yours Is An Empty Hope
"In the beginning there are a few atmospherical Bluing-sounds that you hear in fantasy movies and some other songs of the band. Now we are talking about symphonic metal at it's best. This is what the band represents and you can hear they are in their element. So far the most "high, fast and loud" -track without breaking the atmosphere. The choirs give shivers and they make the listener wait for one more explosion, as there was quite a big one at the beginning. In the middle part the listener is reminded of Dark Chest of Wonders, as there are quite a lot of these explosions and there seems to be no end in sight."
Our Decades in the Sun
"It's time to calm down and create a vision of a small karaoke bar. Tuomas' piano gently accompanies Floor's vocals that once again travel to whole new dimensions. Later on Emppu appears from somewhere with his guitar and Floor has to rise her volume level so that even the audience at the back row can hear her. The song changes from the beginning's melancholy to a more happier mood, and that makes it beautiful in it's own way. This song is absolutely for the gentler listeners."
My Walden
"The sixth song starts in a weird way. As if a pop singer boy was lost and found himself in the wrong studio. A lot of folkish pop-rock elements can be heard, and while the previous songs resembled the band's older catalog, this sounds more modern. A wide spectrum of elements with up-tempo brings not only heavy pop music to mind, but also Eluveitie's lighter songs. This song offers so much sun and smoothness that it goes to the top of my list at this point. " (Majestico's note - I am starting to question the reporter's taste in music based on these desctiptions...)
Endless Forms Most Beautiful
"In a short description this is basic new Nightwish. In a way fills the criteria of a title track, but also a filler track. Not special or especially wonderful, but would be a good choice to the set list of the tour. The ending feels slightly repetitive, but as the song says, simple is beautiful."
Edema Ruh
"This is the most youthful song of the album. Symphonic and folk elements turn into rockish metal that for for example Sturm und Drang (a finnish band) could play, if we forget these whistles and pipes. Includes some catchy vocals from Marco and Floor that now work much better with Marco's singing being more present in the background."
"The second filler song. The journey continues steadily and the song goes to the soundtrack department again. Kai probably could have introduced some interesting drumming in here, because at this point you already start waiting for the next two songs and the big finish of the album."
Eyes of Sharbat Gula
"A soft intro before the last song. Gentle choir singing, this time apparently from younger generation. Otherwise a fully instrumental song meant to create an atmosphere for the final crusade."
The Greatest Show on Earth
"Such a name on the last song of the album creates a lot of expectations. The calm atmosphere continues, but that's how all the greatest shows in the world begin. The song is about 24 minutes long so we are suffering from [something of a combination of happiness and materialism, can not be translated]. After waiting, the starting of the engine creates feelings of relief but the atmosphere is still anticipating. The excitement is being maintained, until more and more begins to happen. The listener is waiting for the vocals and suddenly they already are there in full force and drums have suddenly appeared in the background. Absolutely the most interesting song to listen to, as every time the climax has been reached, things move on right away. Nothing is enough and little and questionable details keep pouring in. Storyteller Richard Dawkins' voice is telling about the beginning of the end, and after that there is a huge explosion. In principle, nothing much has changed from the first song, but now everything is pushed past the limit and there is absolutely no holding back. I have to say I have not heard anything like this before."
A lot of stuff as expected. The record gives the listener a feeling that it does not want to stop and that there would have been material for even more. The atmosphere is maintained commendably throughout the album with a wide range of tricks. When Dawkins is still speaking and you can still hear the sound of water, you forget everything you have just heard and become content and full in a good way. I'd say this album is perhaps more simple than usual, but also very versatile. Excluding the two flops the band has succeeded almost perfectly. I would more than gladly buy this and see the band live.
9,5 / 10


Review from Reddit user


For some more first impressions, I was reading this thread on Reddit by someone else who went to the listening session. They've made some insightful comments so far which I'll attempt to paraphrase (do read their full comments if you've got time though, it's quite interesting)
- It’s like a heavier and more dynamic version of Imaginaerum 
- Great production, needs good speakers to listen to
- “Yours Is An Empty Hope” is a brutal and heavy song
- “My Walden” is very folky with pipes 
- “The Greatest Show on Earth” is long and epic, Tuomas thinks of it as the main feature of the album. Dawkins has 3 spoken parts on it, 2 are with music and the spoken bit is not as long as the poem in Song of Myself.
- “Élan” is easy-going and mid-tempo, a bit like a slower Last of the Wilds, with Floor singing playfully.
- “The Eyes of Shabat Gular” is an instrumental with some choirs and chanting.
- “Our Decades in the Sun” is the closest thing to a ballad, it’s atmospheric with a slow buildup.
- “Shudder Before The Beautiful” has a short spoken part before going straight into a kick-ass album opener similar to Dark Chest of Wonders.
- Floor’s vocal range isn’t used evenly, she sings ‘normally’ most of the time but has powerful moments when they are needed. She has a “hauntingly beautiful” operatic part in the final song.

Christian, from the thread who were posted earlier here, has answered some more questions about the album. Here's some more info:
* The total running time of the album is 78 minutes they were told. He would say all songs more or less is equal in length, with the intermission (The Eyes of Sharbat Gula) being a bit shorter. So between 5 and 6 minutes.
* "How does Alpenglow sound like?" - answer: "Big soundscapes of band and orchestra. Mostly mid-tempo, the bridge sounded quite sinister and evil. There is also a part that is a bit of a battle between Emppu and Troy, handing the melody back and forth between guitar and flute. Big orchestra towards the end."
* He says there are more guitar focus. The orchestra is of course still there and as big as it used to be, but Emppu and Marco absolutely stand their ground against it.
* Description of "Yours is an Empty Hope": "One song you should really look forward to is "Yours Is An Empty Hope". It's huge, wild and brutal. Choirs, Floor, Marco, heavy heavy guitars, a heavy and dragging chorus. It really felt like a room of journalists was having their asses kicked by music. In a good way, but we all felt a bit breathless afterwards."
* Description of "Edema Ruh": "Edema Ruh is an extremely diverse song that swings back and forth between calm parts, brutal guitars and grand orchestra. After one listen it was my favorite song and I wrote down "instant classic" on my sheet. I think this was also the song that had some synth sounding percussion in it. Or they filtered Kai a lot, either way, it sounded great and worked really well. Troy also sings in this one.". Also possible the second single. 
* The last song includes a lot of nature and animal sounds, including whale singing and roars. Full answer: "Yes. There are many soundscapes like whale singing, roaring animals, wind, water, etc. Towards the end it was a bit too much for my taste, but the parts in between work very well. The sound scapes connect the acts of the song really well, introducing smaller themes that are then picked up by the band and orchestra. The guy is getting good at writing songs"
* Description of the song "Endless Forms Most Beautiful": "It was a rather powerful song, I had somehow expected something larger and more cinematic. It has very very strong guitars, a more operatic Floor in some parts. The chorus was a bit lighter and very catchy, but with choir and a good amount of guitars. I wrote down "mega fat guitars" several times, so I must have been impressed by that, haha."




That Imperiumi-review roughly translated:
The first few paragraphs are going through the usual:3 years since Imagenaerum, singer changing, Jukka's situation and the controversy caused by Richard Dawkins. Nothing new.
Shudder Before the Beatiful:
Starts calmly with Richard Dawkins saying a few words, then explodes being a energetic start to the record in the similar vein with Stargazers and Dark Chest of Wonders. The riff has similarities with Storytime, but the pace of the song is quicker. In the middle of the song the is a rather unusual solo, where Emppu and Tuomas go back and forth and in the writers opinion that's one of the most impressive solo sections in NW's catalog. He also likes the chorus. Good start for setlist.
Weak Fantasy:
One of the heaviest songs of the record. The verse is calm and acoustic, the chorus is very heavy and aggressive. No "hit" melody's, a crushing song.
Troy gets to shine here. The reviewer thinks this is maybe a bit too safe choice for lead single and doesn't give a good overall picture of the record. Reasonably light song and the reviewer predicts heavy airplay for it.
Yours Is an Empty Hope:
After light Élan back to the heavier side again. The orchestrations bring rugged edge to the song and the chorus is bombastic and gloomy. Another very heavy song and Floor uses her aggressive singing here.
Our Decades in the Sun:
Starts with a sci-fi like intro and then starts growing as other instruments join in. Floor sings like a goddess here, putting in lots of emotion. Electric guitars join in the middle of the song. Very calm and picturesque song.
My Walden:
Named after Henry David Thoreau's book simple and independent lifestyle. Lighter song in the vein of Élan, happy chorus, Troys pipes, acoustic middle part. Another potential single. 
Endless Forms Most Beautiful:
Has a earworm-like chorus, potential bigger hit. C-part is slower and the final chorus is modulated a bit higher (so the She Is My SIn/Ever Dream of this record I personally predicted)
Edema Ruh:
Continues the vein of Élan and My Walden. Chorus being the highlight and Marco sings with Troy's pipes. Radio friendly.
The reviewer thinks this songs is rather forgettable. Standard structure, guitars are the best part.
The Eyes of Sharbat Gula:
Instrumental, which works as prologue to the final song. An odd, melancholic and bleak song where acoustic guitars, piano, flutes play melodies representing Gulas piercing gaze in that world famous picture.
Greatest Show on Earth:
This points at evolution of course. This is the most grand. ambitious and biggest song NW has ever done. Starts with a very long piano intro and during the song different themes change so often it's really hard to make anything out of it in one listen. Different kinds of emotions alter more than in the rest of the record combined. Floor singing, Marco singing, all kinds of instruments played by Troy, percussions, sounds of organisms, orchestral parts, basically anything you can do with music. Despite all this going on, the song still holds together and it isn't disoriented. Dawkins as a narrator reads a few sentence every once in a while, not in the vein of Song of Myself, just short sentences. In the end the song feels shorter than it is.
The ending:
-More streamlined stylewise
-Floor's versatility could have been utilized better
-More positive vibe, even if there are a few darker songs
-Most of the songs a rather rather simple structured compared to their few previous records and there are more parts by Troy, which makes the songs sound fresh. 
-Hard to say much about the lyrics, but the theme seems to be rather positive life philosophy
-More band oriented and minimalistic (for the most parts) compared to couple of previous records




Posted 17 January 2015 - 07:10 PM
The album is a lot heavier than I thought. Very strong guitar and drums. The use of orchestra compliments very well without being as noticeable as in Imaginerum. Floor of course is great but people wishing for her to use Her operatic style will be disappointed. She does do a bit of everything though (including growls).
I do apologise I didn't make notes of every track.'I just say listening to it. The final track is the longest, starts instrumental for a few minutes then a short (20 second?) narration from Dawkins then it kicks up a gear. Then we get vocals with a bit more narration and then it goes really powerful. Very enjoyable track.

It's tricky to listen to individual lyrics but I don't think or preached any religious or non religious themes onto you. I know a few people were concerned.

I'll try to answer questions when I'm back online tomorrow but without note making it might be tricky.

Posted 18 January 2015 - 08:43 AM

Okay lets try. It's really hard to remember things off one listening.

Elan- an mix of a bit of everything, starts soft with piano and pipes before building into full band when vocals enter. Probably mid tempo.
Quite powerful. Softens at end with acoustic guitar.

The full album I think is heavier than all their albums so far, however I feel Elan didn't reflect this and is one of the lighter on it.

Troy fits seamlessly, some vocals (backing and atmospheric vocal - ahhhs etc) lots of pipes and whistles but it worked and blended well even on heavier songs. He even sings in Welsh

A) ern I think we only have one 'ballad' but there are soft parts in other songs
B) drums are very powerful in this, whether or not it would of had a big a sound with Jukka i wouldnt know.
C) one instrumental track 10.
E) he does appear quite a lot but it's more a support rather than lead in most cases

Think I got them all. As I said it's quite tricky remembering. I wish I went back in to listen again. I do have a part from one song stuck in my head all night though and it's driving me insane hah

And some more Q/A's in the old thread http://www.nightwishforum.com/index.php?/topic/3341-endless-forms-most-beautiful-2015/page-99#entry239597



Pip Williams https://twitter.com/piptheprod



13 Jul
Stuck in to writing scores for Nightwish's 8th album. Recording the orchestra and choirs in October at Angel Studios. Can't wait!!
Again, the East/West Symphonic Orchestra sample library is just brilliant for preparing the scores and sending demos to Tuomas for approval!
20 Jul
Tuomas has excelled himself yet again. Dedicated Nightwish fans old and new will have plenty to get excited about!!
Working on a new Nightwish album is wonderful. Meticulous communication between Tuomas and myself- and great tech support from Tero!
Well on the way to finishing the first score. What should I start next? Something mad and epic, something peaceful or something sinister?!
24 Jul
Well, I HAVE nearly finished the 1st Nightwish score!! A great rocking track that will make you shudder ;-)
The next few weeks will be pretty intense, but the score writing deadline is on track. LOTS of texts and calls to Tuomas- Must be perfect!!
29 Jul
1st score for Nightwish 8 finished! Just a couple of small tweaks for Tuomas before wrapping it up! Already started score 2. Brutally heavy!
Some really interesting choir stuff for this 2nd score. Tuomas's writing genius goes from strength to strength!
6 Aug
2nd score finished! Ready to send off to the maestro for approval. I've had a blast with this one and its epic, Mahler-like chorus!
Making a start on score 3 tomorrow. This one will be dark and mysterious, with a really memorable film-worthy main melody!
Aug 10
3rd Nightwish score is in stark contrast to the first two songs. Very slow and dark, with an amazingly infectious main melody!
An assortment of exotic percussion will feature on this, plus an opportunity to bring out the awesome contra-bassoon!
Troy will put his stamp on this one too- well he does on everything he touches, but this song is tailor made for his unique talents!
19 Aug
Well, Tuomas has described my score for song 3 as "Stunning and beautiful"! Fans will love that track- destined to be a real album sleeper!
Now into score number 4. This is a driving, typically Nightwish fast affair, perfect for Floor's great rock delivery, with a bonkers chorus!
And just to add- wait til you hear what we're doing with the Metro Voices choir on this one- some manic stuff!
23 Aug
Just finished score number 4. Some incredibly demanding parts for the strings and choir, but they'll cope as they always do!
Metro Voices sing on all the Tim Burton films and will have a lot of fun with this one. Just need to send an MP3 to Tuomas for comments.
Tomorrow- on to score 5, which is actually the album closer, in 5 movements! I chose to tackle this marathon next!
1 sep
Well score 5 is complete and and Tuomas is delighted with my Sibelius mock-up! Gave me a chance to write some sensitive woodwind parts!
…Including a bassoon obligato, to be played by the wonderful Julie Andrews (no, not THAT one!) Started score 6 yesterday.
Number 6 is back to familiar Nightwish rock territory. More mighty ethnic percussion and plenty of crazy guitar riffs!
Nearly 11 years down the line and Tuomas and I have a fantastic musical bond. Almost telepathic! Very little gets changed these days.
7 sep
Score 6 has the Tuomas seal of approval- on with 7! Some crazy stuff in the intro of this- bowed crotales, contra bassoon, weird strings….
…..very discordant brass and spooky woodwinds too! The song itself?- it has a GREAT chorus and judging by the demo, Floor will be amazing!!
16 sep
Score 7 is done and dusted- REALLY pleased with that one. Number 8 should be wrapped up today. A beautiful, sensitive song!
This'll display the gentler side of Floor and demonstrates Tuomas's brilliance at coming up with fantastic melodies and riffs!
This will feature much smaller orchestra- small string section, harp and subtle percussion- and soft children's choir!
22 sep
Well, despite the lack of news, I am actually on score number 10! Number 9 was a rousing affair, featuring the largest orchestra…...
9 is possibly the title track of the album and I think it's a really strong single contender. Really pleased with my French Horn lines!
The more I listen, the more I think this is one of Tuomas's strongest selection of Nightwish songs for a long time. Powerful and memorable!
Song 10 has one of those clever timing shifts. It's actually in 4/4 but has a little twist to throw the listener. Fearsome pizzicato too!
24 sep
Well after just a couple of small changes, song 10 is done and dusted and off to *****, our dependable music prep doyen.
Well after just a couple of small changes, song 10 is done and dusted and off to *****, our dependable music prep doyen.
Sibelius software and great samples means Tuomas and I can discuss my orchestrations and make any changes if necessary- very few this time!
I'm onto song 11 now. I've come back to the 4th part of the epic closer.
Tuomas has asked me to - "Make it the ultimate show stopper- beautiful, melancholic, even biblical". Pretty straightforward then :-)
Just confirmed the full orchestra and choir line-up. Plus, I've made a list of all the mighty percussion instruments we'll be using- wow!
28 aug
It's been a full-on few days. Tuomas is delighted with score 11, the album closer- really pleased cos I'm proud of this one! An epic!
I'm actually very pleased with all of them, but 11 is a bit of a fave. It will be huge!
Yesterday I completed the part for solo Hardanger Fiddle on song 12. This will be played by Dermot Crehan (who played on Lord Of The Rings!)
….and today, I finished song 13- the last score!! It's a strong single contender, with a great vocal from Floor!
There still much work to be done. I need to listen through and check everything and meticulously plan the running order for the recordings.
MP3's and parts have to be sent to key musicians and soloists, so they can be well prepared! Need to liaise with the studio and engineer to ensure that nothing is left to chance. Some songs will need specific setups and soloist mics. Full of excitement and anticipation for next week. Even after all these years, I still get butterflies before the first big session!
4 oct
Orchestra for 8 songs successfully recorded yesterday. Amazing musicians and an absolutely fulfilling day. Onwards today with more!
5 oct
Day 2 was equally amazing. Slightly smaller orchestra and solo violin and Hardanger Fiddle from the legendary Dermot Crehan!
Testament to the quality of the orchestral musicians, that they finished all of the songs 30 minutes early! On with percussion and choirs!
8 oct
Well, the Nightwish London sessions were wrapped up yesterday, with every session finishing early!
Recorded the children's choir on Sunday. 20 amazingly talented kids from Young Musicians London. Stunning ethnic percussion in the evening!
Full on orchestral percussion on Monday, with the legendary Metro Voices choir bringing things to a conclusion last night. Totally drained!
The songs are brilliant and so varied. Plenty of really heavy stuff as well as sensitive songs to demonstrate Floors great versatility!
…and of course, a monumental closer to the album. There will be some real surprises for Nightwish fans and Troy's presence is mega!
2 nov
Had a lovely email from Tuomas today. Mixing is going really well and can you believe, the epic closer has 430 tracks and 55 gig of files!!
I think poor mix engineer Mikko Marmilla will need a holiday when everything is done and dusted!
18 dec
So the latest Nightwish extravaganza is finally mixed! Big congrats to Mikko, Tero and Tuomas on this mammoth task!




Petri Alanko https://twitter.com/Peppepappa



9 dec 2014

I may have done some 'damage' for Élan, the upcoming single from @NightwishBand - prepare for some reinterpretation once again.


3 Jan 2015

Just doing something with Melodyne, something it wasn't designed for. Nothing major. Nor minor. #Nightwish


(That's Marco and Floor, superimposed, multiplied and mangled, creating an atonal vocal pad. This year starts well.)



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-Good "punch in the face" opener for the album

-fast song with double bass drumming

-chorus is melodic but not "super catchy" by one listening, reviewer thinks that it will sound better and better after more listens


Weak Fantasy

-begins with rhythmic accents and continues with drum fire

-already at this point it's clear that Floor is the best Nightwish singer ever

-chorus sounds cranky and evil in a good way

-middle section sang by Marco sounds threathing and then it gently slides to the softer ending sang by Floor

-ends like a grand film score



-a great choice for single

-begins with gentle atmosphere and continues with electric guitars

-"fluffy" / "airy" chorus

-in the middle section you can find one of the most catchy instrumental melodies on the album


Yours is an...

-begins with strong orchestrations, feels like Hollywood movie spectacle

-continues with fast drumming and riffing

-you can hear Marco again in the bridge section, this dramatically forward moving middle section grows in a interesting way and it could have last longer


Our Decades...

-a ballad song

-Floor sings really gently and the song is really touching

-again you can notice that the most simple lyrics with great music can give you the strongest emotions


My Walden

-another "pop" song

-"flying higher" repeats in the chorus work really well

-in the middle section tempo changes and the song continues with folky Irish atmosphere



-begins with strong riffing, there is a interesting twist when they catch the singing melody of verse from that riff after transposition

-maybe the most catchy chorus on the album, true Eurovision-spirit in a positive way


Edema Ruh

-begins with glockenspiel-ish section

-at the end you can hear more powerful singing by Floor



-riff in the beginning is exceptionally good

-in bridge section you can hear more fierce singing by Floor

-during the guitar solo you might start to think "were there any other guitar solos on the album"?

-at the end Floor's singing is even more powerful and the song starts to shine, like Rocky-movies


The Eyes of...

-instrumental song including some choir singing

-he thinks that Tuomas should get a chance to compose a film score


Greatest Show...

-goes through so many sections and atmospheres that it's hard to put it on words

-many "fake" endings and then song continues

-this song has a lot of potential and it makes you want some more again








This one has two different perspectives, one from a "metal guy" and another from a "hiphop guy".




First opinion (roughly translated, sorry):


-album sounds like Nightwish, but he didn't get that "wow effect" mainly because Imaginaerum was so massive. But the basic level of Nightwish music is still so high that you can't find as sturdy symphonic metal as this anywhere

-he compares Shudder Before the Beautiful to Dark Chest of Wonders, it has all the trademarks of Tuomas

-Élan is not as strong single as Storytime was

-he really likes Our Decades in the Sun, but EFMB is the best song of the album (he says that there is Death Metal-ish riff at the end of that song)

-you can't really hear that there's a new drummer, Kai sounds like Jukka

-The Eyes of Sharbat Gula feels like a filler song

-he didn't really "get in" to Greatest Show on Earth by one listen


Second opinion:


-first he admits that he's not so familiar with Nightwish material, but he knows the most popular songs etc.

-he thinks that the album is the same "massive Eurovision chorus / transparent wall of synthesizer / rotation of Maggie Reilly's Celtic pop" from beginning to the end

-he kinda says that Greatest Show on Earth is mostly boring

-GOOD moments: ABBA-tone in the chorus of Shudder..., softrock-production of Élan, New Age-spirit in Our Decades in the Sun, melancholic and beautiful chorus of Edema Ruh

-Floor has a pleasant voice

-finally he states that Nightwish should get rid of heavy guitars, he thinks that Nightwish has somekind of a need to prove that they are a metal band



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Spark Rock in Czech


„Album je strhující od začátku do konce. První, co člověka zasáhne, je vlna pozitivní energie. Z každé skladby je cítit, jak je kapela po výměně zpěvaček uvolněná. Některá místa přípomínají skvělou desku „Once". Hlavně kytarově. Ovšem absolutním vrcholem je Floor Jansen, která předvedla hlasovou extratřídu. Fanoušci budou hodně překvapení. Těšte se!"

Translated by Google:

The highlight of the whole work should be final opus "The Greatest Show on Earth". This is an ambitious epic composition, which carries the dramatic and movie themes. On the Finnish mission went our editor David Havlena, who after returning from Helsinki praised: "The album is captivating from beginning to end. The first thing that hit man, is the wave of positive energy. For each song you can feel how the band after replacing the singers relaxed. Some places resemble a great album "Once". Mainly a guitar. However, with the highlight being Floor Jansen, who demonstrated extra-voice. Fans will be a lot of surprises. Enjoy! " You can look forward to the February Spark, where we bring you a detailed report analyzing the studio individual tracks.

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A review of the single. Not containing much information, but still nice to read something about Sagan.


"The Celtic melody in Élan glides with the new front woman’s voice, and convoys with the various changes that her vocals go through throughout the song’s progression. Fans of the band’s original singer and fans of the band’s latter singer will, most likely, find themselves thoroughly impressed by Jansen, as her voice finds a fantastic common ground between the two. There is a familiar softness in the beginning of the song that is much akin to the band’s first few albums, such as Century Child, but progresses to the similar edge featured in Dark Passion Play. The song features the well-known (and beautifully executed) Nightwish concept of freedom. An alternate version of this song is included in the single, which gives the song a fairly different vibe, vocals taking precedence and feeling significantly more separated from the melody. Both versions are just as impactful.


“Sagan” on the other hand, is a bit faster in tempo than the previous song. The chorus will remind fans of Imaginaerium, as will the lyrics. A very dreamlike, adventurer’s song, with a very distinct melody, this is a song that will find itself playing in your mind over and over again. The song is probably named after Carl Sagan, for which there are a few possible references in the lyrics.


This single would make any Nightwish fan excited for the new album, and symphonic lovers will certainly be drawn into this band once more."

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So that means review copies of the single are being sent out? Couldn't have come from the press listening session because Sagan and the alternative Elan track were reviewed.

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My impression of Élan based on all of these reviews is that it's probably fairly similar to what Nemo would sound like if it had more of a celtic vibe.

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A collection of short reviews @nuclearblast.de presumably by some of those who attended the listening session in Helsinki: 



„The last song is comfortably the most spectacular thing NIGHTWISH have ever written. The album is the most metal record they have done in a decade, and Floor has no trouble cementing her place in the band.”

“Excellent music cocktail! That’s NIGHTWISH like you wish – heavy with a taste of the »Once« album, bombastic, but more metal, this is true NIGHTWISH, a soundtrack of themselves!”
SPARK (CZ), David Havlena

“The combination NIGHTWISH & Floor – its magic. For me personally it’s a dream that came true. With this new unbelievable, bombastic, dark, orchestral, the band completely fulfill my high expectations. An album that every NIGHTWISH-fan will cherish!” –
AARDSCHOK (NL), Anita Boel

"Clear and consequent continuation of the previously chosen path. Overwhelmingly, bombastic and inspiring. An album to listen to and experience.”–
ROCK IT (D), Jürgen Will

„This album sounds like the ceremony of the opposites for NIGHTWISH, it’s like their entire carrier is concentrated in one album, it’s like I have eaten too much of my favorite dish.“ –
ROCK HARD (IT), Emanuele Biani

“At first I was afraid that Floor would affect the band more than vice versa. I’m glad I was wrong. NIGHTWISH brought out the metal from her and turned her into a well working mix of the past, creating a bright future for the band and for the fans. I like that the band got more focus than the orchestra this time. The ending “whooo” in ‘Edema’ wasn’t necessary thou. That kinda killed the otherwise so good song.”
SWEDEN ROCK (S), Janne Mattsson,

“»Endless Forms Most Beautiful« characterizes the celebration and victory of this new alliance. The beauty and purity of NIGHTWISH’s music together with Floor’s majesty and power were simply meant to be. Defiantly not the last ride of their day!”
METALLIAN (F), Lucinda Lacroix

“An amazing surprise with new blood and on the other side beloved elements as orchestral grandness, folky storytelling catchiness and – GREAT! – more heaviness then before!”
ROCK TRIBUNE (BE), Vera Matthijssens

"Maybe the heaviest album from Nightwish: guitars are back high in the mix but the evolution shown on "Imaginaerum" hasn't been forgotten. Bombastic, epic and catchy, this album contains all the elements of Nightwish universe in 11 tracks. Including the most ambitious piece of the band's history: "The Greatest Show On Earth".
ROCK HARD (F), Guillaume Fleury

“The album sounds extraordinary, and definitely like anything Nightwish ever done before. Floor's voice fits perfectly to the mood of very expanded compositions, and what is one of the strongest virtue of the album - the lyrics really make us THINK. A great step to start a New Chapter in Nightwish's musical journey." –
METAL HAMMER (PL), Paulina Magdalena Mazur

„They have topped themselves yet again, even when you thought it couldn't go any better. A full on cinematic explosion of sounds that you will grow to love.”



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Seems like Spark Rock will be posting a video report from the listening sessions later on

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Team Rock



Maybe there's no clear cut between Eyes of Sharbat Gula and Greatest Show on Earth and the listeners thought that the last part of Eyes was actually part of the intro of Greatest Show on Earth? If songs flow seamlessly it can be hard to distinguish, especially if it's meant as an instrumental interlude towards the next song.



Found a new 'review'. Seems there was a listening session in London last friday. Some short thoughts of four people attending a listening session:



The Prog team have heard the new Nightwish album...


Last Friday, various members of Team Prog ventured into central London to be played the new Nightwish album...


If we wanted to hear the new Nightwish album, Endless Forms Most Beautiful, which is released through Nuclear Blast on March 27, then for security reasons (seems Imaginaerum, the last Nightwish album, was leaked all over the Internet) we had to go to the new Gibson Guitars HQ just off of Oxford Street for a series of playbacks. Most of us settled for just one, the more diehard Nightwish fans on the team went to all four (Hi Natasha) and Hannah just said "Meh" and stayed in the office (she's not a fan). But these are the first impressions of the Prog writers who did go down for a listen...




JERRY EWING (EDITOR) Certainly not as immediate as Imaginaerum, and it didn't seem as bombastic either. Much more prog than metal, with some nice Celtic flourishes from Troy Donockley. Floor Jansen sounds most impressive too. The addition of Richard Dawkins will annoy some as much as it will impress others. The closing 24-minute epic, the aptly titled The Greatest Show On Earth, will delight most prog fans of the band. I suspect it'll be a grower!




RUSSELL FAIRBROTHER (ART EDITOR) Less Abba-like histrionics and more Celtic pipery than you can throw a kitchen sink at, Nightwish continue hurtling headlong into the meaning of life, the universe and everything else. Striking a fine balance between voice of an angel and amazonian goddess, Floor Jansen more than holds her own against Tuomas’s tidal wave of sound and symphonic deluge




NATASHA SCHARF (NEWS EDITOR) It feels like Nightwish have decided to revisit their pre-Imaginaerum sound and bring it right up to date with slicker production and tighter composition. Heavier yet even proggier than their previous albums, Endless Forms... builds on their trademark symphonic-meets-celtic sound with maturity and greater confidence. And new singer Floor Jansen's vocals are absolutely spot-on.




MALCOLM DOME (WRITER) An album which will doubtless make a very positive impression after a few listens. First impression is that it's cold, remote and lacking immediacy. It references the band's past, while also moving things forward. And it makes you want to live with it.


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I have no idea what the fourth writer is trying to say, but the first three sound promising. It's nice to get some thoughts from people who likely don't have close ties to the band. There were quite a few people from the Finnvox listening session who have very close friendships with the band (Gunnar Sauermann for example) which makes it hard to expect a non-partisan view.

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Hope the album will be a grower, maybe something not catchy at first will eventually become memorable after times of listening, and I kinda love those typs of songs, growers are better than ear catchers

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Crank It Up (Translated)


Two decades into their career, Nightwish's symphony curve still points upwards. If making the orchestra more gigantic is possible to be done - it is done. If pulling up the volume to twenty on choirs and guitars can be done, then that is done as well. There's more of everything, and then some. That which was once classified as opera metal has now gone through a metamorphosis and can rather be described as a musical hybrid between pop and symphony orchestra, with one or more crunching guitars.

That this is probably the band's most diverse album to date, there is no doubt. There are sharp turns between calm and harmonic, epic and bombastic, heavy and sharp, and mediocre and bland. That evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkin's chanting voice gets to both begin and end the record feels like a stroke of genius. It gets sadly touching when he gets to the conclusion that we who can die are luckier than those who will never be born. In between, the quality is a constant roller coaster.

Weak Fantasy is a galloping track, but which despite having an interesting melody, falls with singer Floor Jansen's too sweet and gentle voice.

Likewise, the single track Élan, is more of a yawn than a cheerful wohoo. (Note: Yes, that's what is says...)

But in contrast to this, Yours Is An Empty Hope offers an unexpected and awaited punch in the face. An instrumental middle part with raw attitude, guitar riffs with a hint of thrash metal, and on top of this a singer who finally offers some bite.

Also the title track shows a more aggressive Nightwish, which more than happily gets my undivided attention.

Endless Forms Most Beautiful is, as I mentioned earlier, probably the most nuanced material the band has released. Many parts are incredibly beautiful, and above all, performed with an amazing professionalism. However, I feel that there are too few songs that stays in my memory, for this one to reach the level of earlier masterworks. Even though Troy Donockley finally gets the space he deserves, his instrumental skills are not enough to raise this record above the usual.

Highlight: Yours is an Empty Hope
Low point: Élan
Score: 6/10


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Not that I'm cranky about the low grade, but the level of professionalism in the reviews we have seen so far is incredibly low. Are all metal journalists like this?

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I thought Elan was a bit 'meh' (yes technical term) at at the listening session, but it is certainly a grower and really catchy. After one listen I may of rated Elan the low point of the album, but Elan has grown on me tremendously since.

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I have to admit that the reviews are just confusing me at this point. The Crank it Up review says that this record seems to solidify them as "pop with symphony orchestra", and seems generally bored by material that isn't heavy and interesting enough for his tastes, yet other reviewers have called it their heaviest album to date, and very progressive as well. Maybe I'll just stop reading reviews and make up my own mind when it's out :P

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