Imaginaerum

Studio Album by released in 2011
Imaginaerum's tracklist:
Taikatalvi
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Storytime
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Ghost River
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Slow, Love, Slow
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I Want My Tears Back
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Scaretale
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Arabesque
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Turn Loose The Mermaids
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Rest Calm
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The Crow, The Owl And The Dove
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Last Ride Of The Day
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Song Of Myself
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Imaginaerum
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Imaginaerum review

Is there any life possible without Tarja?

The breakup between the famous metal diva and the outfit that made her what she is would seem a downfall for both parties. As expected, Nightwish did not look for another Turunen, aware of the impossibility to do so, but assigned her duties to a singer of a completely different kind. And who among this wonderful band’s fans has never thought, at least for a second, that Anette Olson was an angel of death heralding the soon demise of Nightwish? The music of the first record made without Tarja, Dark Passion Play, concerned far from many listeners. What fascinated them much more was comparing the past and the present singers, and the results were not in Olson’s favor. It was later, when emotions calmed down, when the public realized Tarja was not coming back, and Olson was not a nightmare, but a new reality, a collective reason surfaced to give them a new insight. It turned out that the new Nightwish were not that bad. They just sounded different. And different does not mean bad. Once seen exclusively as a band led by an extraordinary vocalist, today Nightwish are an ensemble where each member is a prominent and proficient performer. The redistribution of roles came out handy to Nightwish as their music, unchanged in may years, suddenly acquired new interesting merits. The new Nightwish keep evolving on their second album with Anette, Imaginaerum.

Tupomas flies free!

Frankly, that would be wrong to state that all Nightwish members are equally important for the band. Those who loved Nightwish before, that is in Tarja’s times, not only for the vocals, knew well that the ball had one and only beauty queen, Turunen, but it was and still is ruled by the brave Finnish lad Tuomas Holopainen. Not only does he play the synth, but he is also the ideological and creative center of Nightwish. All those sweet melodies and enchanting lyrics (both are lavishly presented on Imaginareum) are the products of his mind, soaring high and seeing far. However, Tuomas used to write music strictly for Tarja who was aware of her singularity, and now he enjoys an almost unlimited liberty. Nightwish new album features symphonic metal, which once was played in its purest form, but now it borrows so much from other trends that sometimes it sounds like something else. Folk music is particularly favored here. The best demonstration thereof is a fine song called I Want My Tears Back with a typical lively chorus and as lively Celtic themes. What comes as a much bigger surprise is Slow, Love, Slow, where singing, bass lines and piano parts are performed in what seems jazz ballad manner. The other slow tracks off the album, Turn Loose The Mermaids, and The Crow, The Owl And The Dove are also executed experimentally and do not have powerful choruses, big marks of the band’s older records.

Nightwish broaden the style limits

Is there nothing that reminds of classic Nightwish on Imaginaerum? Sure, there is. It is sufficient to try Last Ride Of The Day, and Scaretale. The latter is probably Anette’s best work in Nightwish. Actually, the singer has done a great job to make her arsenal wider, which brings some bigger variety to the ensemble’s songs. Nightwish are still addicted to abnormally long tracks. However, thirteen-minute Song Of Myself is far behind its colleague off the previous effort, The Poet And The Pendulum. There is a sensation that the song was deliberately dragged out. Still, this might be the only track on the whole album that exposes some flaws, and Imaginaerum, by the way, lasts longer than seventy minutes! Its main advantage is not the duration, but the richness and unpredictability of the musical and vocal material. It has always been tough to refer Nightwish to any of metal genres, but after this release the task seems impossible to do. Apparently, Nightwish head for the enrichment of their sounding with most various elements, and today nobody would call the band a singer’s solo project. Whether it is good or not is a different question.

Alex Bartholomew (07.12.2011)
Rate review4.48
Total votes - 214