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Nightwish is a Symphonic Power Metal band from Finland formed in 1996. It was formed by Tuomas Holopainen while he was sitting besides a campfire. They originally started as an acoustic-only band with keyboards, but noticed that Tarja Turunen's operatic voice was too powerful for an acoustic band, so Holopainen decided to add heavy metal elements such as electric guitar and drums. They soon released their debut album Angels Fall First, which had mixed reviews.
While initially disappointed, they soon became noticed with their song Sacrament of Wilderness and achieved worldwide fame with their next two albums, Oceanborn and Wishmaster. After the success, they released the darker Century Child. After their fifth (and breakthrough) album Once, they held a live show called End of an Era. Shortly after the performance, vocalist Tarja Turunen was fired for viewing the band as a way to gain publicity and make money. They even expressed this in an open letter on their Web site, though this is only one side of the coin. They later hired vocalist Anette Olzon, which has caused a division in the fanbase. Their first album with Anette as the main vocalist, Dark Passion Play, was released in 2007.
They have recently released their new album Imaginaerum. Imaginaerum, formerly Imaginarium (they changed to name to avoid confusing it with various other things with that name), is a concept album, paired with a full-length feature film based on the plotline, to be released in early 2012.
- Anette Olzon (Alto Vocals)
- Marco Hietala (Bassist, Gravel/Clean Tenor Vocals)
- Tuomas Holopainen (Keyboards, principal songwriter)
- Erno "Emppu" Vuorinen (Lead Guitar)
- Jukka Nevalainen (Drums)
- Tarja Turunen (Soprano Vocals)
- Sami Vänskä (Bassist)
- Angels Fall First (1997)
- Oceanborn (1998)
- Wishmaster (2000)
- Century Child (2002)
- Once (2004)
- Dark Passion Play (2007)
- Imaginaerum (2011)
Nightwish contains examples of:
- Badass Beard: Jukka, Tuomas, and Marco. Marco even has TWO beards that he BRAIDS!
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Only die-hard fans remember Sami Vänskä. The only reason he's not a Pete Best to the band is because he has played on Oceanborn, Nightwish's breakout album, and it's successor, Wishmaster. However, Marco overshadows him.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Emppu could count as one of these, though he doesn't talk all that much and isn't prone to non-sequitur, he is known as the tiny smart aleck of the band amongst the fanbase. The band has played with this fact a couple of times too, Turunen dumping a drink over his head after being referred to as a 'notorius lush' by Vuorinen on the End of Innocence DVD.
- Dye Hard: Apparently, Tuomas is a natural blond.
- Mr. Fanservice: ANY of the boys, but most ladies gravitate towards Tuomas, leading to the Yoko Oh No situation below whenever word spreads that he has a girlfriend. Tuomas' case is arguably made more difficult by the fact both Marco and Jukka are married with children, and Emppu has a long-term girlfriend, leaving Tuomas as the only single guy.
- Five-Man Band
- Fun Size: Every guy in the band except for Tuomas is under six feet tall. Emppu is the most prominent example, being 5'3".
- Lead Bassist: With Tarja gone, Marco and Tuomas (bassist and keyboardist) are probably the best-known members of Nightwish.
- Older Than She Looks: Anette looks and sounds like she's only about 25, but is actually 40 (six years older than her predecessor and the second-eldest member of the band after Marco).
- Name's the Same: Imaginarium and "various other things". So they changed the name to Imaginaerum.
- One of Us: Marco is a sci-fi geek and loves video games. He has openly admitted this in his tiny bio on the band's official website, he's a lifelong Nintendo fan, his favorite video game is Planescape: Torment, and he occasionally wears Star Wars shirts in concert.
- Also Tuomas. See Real Men Wear Pink below.
- Real Men Wear Pink: OK, so Tuomas isn't Rated "M" for Manly, but you still wouldn't expect that obsession with Disney films.
- Something Something Leonard Bernstein: Played straight with Tarja, mostly averted with Anette even when she sings the earlier songs.
- Album Title Drop:
- Angels Fall First: "Angels Fall First"
Oh Lord why Angels fall first?
- Oceanborn: "Devil and the Deep Dark Ocean"
- Century Child: "Dead To The World"
- Once: first word of the first track, "Dark Chest of Wonders" (and a total of 18 times in the lyrics, including twice in Finnish, in "Kuolema Tekee Taitelijan".)
- Dark Passion Play: "The Poet and the Pendulum"
- Imaginaerum: At least "Storytime", the first single off the album. An unusual case in that the album's name was changed during devlopment from "Imaginarium" to "Imaginaerum", but this song still uses "Imaginarium" in the lyrics.
- Ancient Egypt: "Tutankhamen", "The Pharaoh Sails to Orion", "Sahara", "Arabesque".
- As the Good Book Says...: In "The Pharaoh Sails to Orion": (Yes, that Pharaoh)
"Get away from me! Take heed to thyself and see my face no more! For in the day Thou see my face, thou shalt die!" (Exodus 10:28)
- Author Avatar: Various hints from Wishmaster on indicate the recurring "Dead Boy"/"Century Child" is this for Tuomas.
- Made explicit in The Poet and the Pendulum, which uses his name during a monologue about the subject of the song.
- Bilingual Bonus:
- "Nemo" is Latin for "no man" or "no one".
- "Lappi (Lapland)", "Etiäinen", "Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan", "Erämaan Viimeinen" (the vocal version of "Last of the Wilds") and "Taikatalvi" are sung in Finnish.
- Considering that the band is Finnish and has an international fanbase, their English songs can be considered to be a Bilingual Bonus for many fans.
- BSOD Song: Among them, "The Poet And The Pendulum" and "Ghost Love Score".
- Call Back: Some songs or song titles make references to themes or lyrics from previous albums.
- In "End of All Hope", the line Angels they fell first/but I'm still here is a reference to the band's debut album Angels Fall First.
- "White Night Fantasy" is reference to a line from "Ever Dream".
- The line She walks alone but not without her name from "Eva" could be a reference to "Nemo" (of which means 'no-name').
- The dead boy from "Dead Boy's Poem" is referenced at the end of the fifth movement of "Beauty of the Beast".
- "For the Heart I Once Had" makes reference to a 'dead boy', potentially referring to "Dead Boy's Poem" as well.
- "Song Of Myself" contains a more overt reference to "Dead Boy's Poem" with the line "what is left for the encore, is the same old dead boy's song, sung in silence".
- "I Want My Tears Back" makes reference to "Meadows of Heaven" from Dark Passion Play.
- And those tears are finally brought back in "Turn Loose the Mermaids".
- The pendulum from "The Poet and the Pendulum" still sways in "Scaretale".
- "Song Of Myself" has a couple. “The nightingale is still locked in its cage” is a reference to b-side track "Escapist", and the dead boy from "Dead Boy's Poem" makes an appearance later.
- It also references earlier songs within the album, these being "Storytime", "Ghost River", "Turn Loose the Mermaids", "Last Ride of the Day" and Scaretale".
- And "Imaginaerum" of course, being an orchestral piece featuring some of that album's more memorable tunes.
- Creepy Children Singing: "Scaretale" opens with this, and the children are singing an eerie rendition of "Ring Around the Rosie".
- Concept Album: Longing for a lost paradise is more of an ongoing theme with the band and appears on all their albums.
- Several songs on Dark Passion Play feature lyrics expressing a longing for a lost paradise, culminating in the 80s style Power Ballad "Meadows of Heaven".
- Probably the album that is most concept oriented is Century Child, though what exactly this concept is is difficult to determine. A lot of songs either contain a few key phrases or refer to other songs on the album, ("One more night to live", "Dead to the world" or alternately, "Dead to the world; alive for the journey") the Child, Ocean Souls, or roses. These references appear in the Wishmaster song "Dead Boy's Poem", and the character of the Dead Boy shows up at the end of Century Child.
- Imaginaerum is a concept album project involving a movie.
- Cover Version:
- "Symphony of Destruction" (sung by Marco)
- "High Hopes" (sung by Marco)
- "Over The Hills And Far Away"
- "The Phantom of the Opera"
- Ankie Bagger's "Where Were You Last Night", which sounds like "You Give Love A Bad Name".
- "Walking in the Air".
- There are some bootlegs around the net with other Cover Versions such as "Crazy Train".
- When Marco joined, he brought Tarot's tendency to do covers with him. They are usually played as intermissions to give Anette (formerly Tarja) a chance to rest.
- Creator Breakdown: Century Child, Once, and Dark Passion Play contain a lot of songs pertaining to death, depression, unrequited love/obsession etc. The Poet and the Pendulum, a 14-minute long Epic Rocking song, was written in the midst of a very bad bout of depression of Tuomas'.
- It even went so far that Tuomas has gone on record saying that the song saved his life since he otherwise would have killed himself.
- "Dead Boy's Poem" might be another example since it apparently is his testament to his family and friends if he dies...
- Dark Is Not Evil: Romanticizing darkness (particularly the depiction of night-time as fantastically romantic) is a running theme, seen even in the band's very name.
In this spellbound night
- "Beauty And The Beast"
Recall the night you melted my uglyness away?
- "Astral Romance"
A nocturnal concerto
As the sun sets beyond the pyramids
- "Know Why The Nightingale Sings", the name of the song, for starters...
- "Stargazers": right there in the name...
- "Sleeping Sun": the entire song...
- "Come Cover Me"
Cover the night with your love
A dreamy-eyed child staring into night
Wish upon a star
The nights had more hope
- "Bless the Child"
One night I dreamt a white rose withering
- "Slaying the Dreamer"
Swansong for the Wish of Night
- "Feel for You"
Settling for a draw tonight
- "Last Ride of the Day"
Once upon a night we'll wake
- Dead Artists Are Better:
- The title of the song "Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan" translates to "Death Makes an Artist".
- "The Poet and the Pendulum" is essentially a story about Tuomas after he's died. Apparently killing yourself in a song is very therapeutic:
"Today, in the year of our Lord, 2005, Tuomas...was found naked and dead, with a smile on his face, a pen, and 1000 pages of erased text."
- Driven to Suicide: "The Poet And The Pendulum"
- The End of the Beginning: At the end of "The Poet and the Pendulum", a boy's voice is heard saying "the beginning"--probably a reference to the new "beginning" with Annette. (Also a rather literal example of this trope, since it's at the end of the first song on the album.) Of course, that same song also begins with the words "The end."
- Epic Rocking: At least once on each album:
- Angels Fall First- "Lappi (Lapland)"
- Oceanborn- "The Pharaoh Sails to Orion"
- Wishmaster- "FantasMic"
- Century Child- "Beauty of the Beast"
- Once- "Ghost Love Score"
- Dark Passion Play- "The Poet and the Pendulum", "7 Days to the Wolves" and "Meadows of Heaven"
- Imaginaerum was supposed to end with a 20-minute song that was ultimately divided. The "epic" "Song of Myself" was actually unusual by lasting 13 minutes for which half of it is a poem. Both "Scaretale" and "Rest Calm" are more 'rocker', with around 7 minutes each.
- Evil Sounds Deep: The Blasphemer (guest vocalist Ike Vil) from "The Kinslayer" and Eric (Marco) from their rendition of "The Phantom of the Opera."
- The Pharaoh from "The Pharaoh Sails to Orion" (though, he may not be depicted as "evil" per se in the song) and the demonic voice from "Devil And The Deep Dark Ocean" (both by guest vocalist Tapio Wilska).
- The narrator from "Planet Hell" splits into normal and low voices on the studio album. The low voice gets very, very low.
- Fallen Angel: The music video of "Amaranth".
- Growing Up Sucks: Ever since the Century Child album, lost innocence has been a major theme. One example being the song "Meadows of Heaven".
- Heartbeat Soundtrack: A heartbeat can be heard in one part of the Poet and the Pendulum.
- Heavy Mithril: Many songs on the first three albums are this, but they became rare after Wishmaster.
- "I Want" Song: "Elvenpath," "Escapist," and "Dark Chest of Wonders"
- Indecipherable Lyrics: Tarja's in particular, since she sings in operatic style with a heavy Finnish accent:
- One of the best examples of this is probably "Nightquest".
- Let's not forget "Wishmaster", which is probably one of the most memetic misheard songs out there.
- Intercourse with You:
- Some of their songs are of subtly naughty variety (many songs on Wishmaster) while some are more obvious ("Whoever Brings The Night" and "Nymphomaniac Fantasia").
- Granted, on End of Innocence Tuomas is asked what he was thinking while writing "Nymphomaniac...", and he admits somewhat ashamedly that he stands behind all his songs except that one.
"I don't get it. That song just doesn't work! The scent of a woman was not mine... No song can start like that! I mean...fuck!"
- "Passion and the Opera" is very overtly erotic, and "Wish I had an Angel" would also qualify.
- "Slow, Love, Slow" is this for Imaginaerum. It falls more into the 'subtle' category, but if the lyrics aren't enough, the seedy lounge club feel to the music pushes it well over the edge.
- Ironic Nursery Tune: "Dead Boy's Poem"
- Scaretale. Begins with and the song itself is fairly reminiscent of one.
- The Jimmy Hart Version:
- "Forever Yours" sounds a lot like Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On". The flute after the first chorus seals the deal.
- "Where Were You Last Night" may not be an original Nightwish song, but it deserves a mention for its similarities to Bon Jovi's song "You Give Love a Bad Name" and Belinda Carlisle's "Heaven is a Place on Earth".
- Last-Note Nightmare: The last minute or so of "Dead Gardens" qualifies. A while after the last chorus, Harsh Vocals are suddenly heard and Jukka starts spamming the crash cymbals more and more as the song comes to a close. The drumming seems to either follow its own rhythm or be played as randomly as possible, and at the end, the noise suddenly cuts off altogether without warning. Two seconds later, "Romanticide" begins.
- Lighthouse Point: "The Islander". A retired ship captain spends his twilight years caring for a lighthouse before ultimately tying himself to an anchor and tossing it into the sea.
- Love Makes You Evil: "10th Man Down"
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Nightwish cover a range from 1 ("Angels Fall First", "The Islander") to 8 ("Master Passion Greed", "Slaying The Dreamer").
- Monster Clown: A group of them harass a small boy in the music video for "Storytime".
- "Scaretale" is all about this.
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: An opera vocalist in a metal band with a full symphony orchestra. They're one of the most prominent examples of Symphonic Metal, all of which falls into this category.
- Not Christian Rock: "The Carpenter" from Angels Fall First and "Gethsemane" and "The Pharaoh Sails To Orion" (see As the Good Book Says... above for the latter) from Oceanborn.
- Out-of-Genre Experience: After two songs of trademark power metal, Imaginaerum throws in the lounge club-inspired track "Slow, Love, Slow". Yes, that's right, a lounge track on a Nightwish album. The album abruptly returns to power metal afterwards.
- Politically-Correct History: Some would say that "Creek Mary's Blood" is an example of this, being about the Trail of Tears and "evil white men". And then they totally kill the mood by singing in Lakotan. The Lakota tribe was about 700 miles north and halfway across the continent from the tribes affected by the Trail of Tears. Or maybe Cherokee and Creek didn't sound cool enough. Take your pick.
- Apparently the band is aware of the mistake made, but the only Native American artist they could find at the time of making the album was John Two-Hawks, who is Lakota.
- Precision F-Strike: Tuomas drops a few in "End of Innocence". Some of the other get closer to Cluster F-Bomb. However, the songs themselves are devoid of profanity. (Except "Master Passion Greed", which drops the F-bomb precisely once.)
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: The character(s) in "Tenth Man Down".
- Shout-Out / Author Appeal: Tuomas Holopainen really loves Disney works. "FantasMic" is pretty much an eight-and-a-half minute nerdgasm over the Disney Animated Canon. This line, for example, translates into "Donald Duck is my favorite character":
The Sailor, an idol for the six-year-old in me.
- "Elvenpath" is also a nerdgasm, only over fantasy books (contains shout-outs to JRR Tolkien, David Eddings and Finnish folklore) and games as well as Disney.
- "Wishmaster" contains mostly Dragonlance shoutouts, with some more Tolkien.
- "Seven Days to the Wolves" is a song shouting out to The Dark Tower.
- "The Carpenter", unintentionally about Jesus Christ according to the lyricist.
- The music video for "Amaranth" is based on The Wounded Angel, a famous painting by Finnish painter Hugo Simberg.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Started close to the idealistic end. First hints of cynicism appear on Wishmaster, but the first major shift towards cynicism happened on Century Child. Dark Passion Play shifted even further towards the cynical end. Imaginaerum seems to be returning to idealism, as much as a concept album about a dying old man can do so.
- Something Completely Different: "The Islander" compared to the rest of the tracks on Dark Passion Play
- "Slow, Love, Slow" from Imaginaerum as well.
- Soprano and Gravel: Most of the time, where there is a duet with Tarja/Anette and Marco, this is what happens, except in "The Islander". Before Marco joined the band for Century Child, different guest vocalists were used instead (see Evil Sounds Deep above for a few).
- Symphonic Metal
- Take That:
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
- From "Slaying the Dreamer":
I! TRULY! HATE! YOU! ALL!
- From "Planet Hell":
Welcome down! To MY! PLANET! HEEEEEEEEEEEELL!
- In the Cover of The Phantom of the Opera:
Sing MY ANGEL OF MUUUUUUUSIIIC!!!!
- Title-Only Chorus: "Master Passion Greed" and "Meadows of Heaven".
- Truck Driver's Gear Change: Originally to show off Tarja's vocal range on songs like "Nemo", "Come Cover Me" and "Sleeping Sun", but also used in several of Anette's songs, such as "For The Heart I Once Had". Interestingly zigzagged in "She Is My Sin"— after the intro, the song drops a minor third for most of the song, only to be raised again for the final verse.
- Wanderlust Song: Well..."Wanderlust". Also "Nightquest", "Elvenpath", and "Away" (a less idealistic version).
- What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: Not within the music itself, but memetically. The Epic Rocking song "Ghost Love Score" is the basis of an entire wave of videos combining it with decidedly non-epic things.
- Witch Hunt: Or actually more of a vampire hunt, from "Slaying the Dreamer".
Put a stake through my heart! And drag me into sunlight.
- Word Salad Title: Usually combined with Rule of Three, as is the case with "Master Passion Greed", "Deep Silent Complete" and "Ghost Love Score". (That, by the way, is a selection of three songs from three albums that each have three words.)
Misc tropes (Video and others)
- Attractive Bent Gender: The female versions of the male band members in the "Bye Bye Beautiful" video.
- Go Out with a Smile: The old captain from the video for "The Islander".
- Mind Screw: The video for "Bye Bye Beautiful."
- Monster Clown: The video for "Storytime".
- Steampunk: The airships in the video for "The Islander."
- Shout-Out: The video for "Storytime" shows Annette dressed as a gothic Snow White and Tuomas as the Phantom of the Opera.
- Video Full of Film Clips:
- The video for "Wish I Had an Angel" uses footage from Alone in The Dark. Justified, as it's part of said film's soundtrack.
- The video for "End of All Hope" had clips from a Finnish horror fantasy film "Kohtalon kirja"
- The video for "While Your Lips Are Still Red" had clips from a Finnish romantic comedy "Lieksa!". The latter is justified in that "While Your Lips Are Still Red" was written for that film. It's technically not a Nightwish song, being credited only to Tuomas and Marco (Jukka does play drums on the track). However, it does appear as the B-side to "Amaranth," and Nightwish sometimes uses it in concert as a "give Anette a break" song.
- "Storytime" is sort of a "Making Of" of the film Imaginaerum, featuring several behind-the-scene footage.
- Lady in Red: Tarja in the "Nemo" video.
- Anette in the Imaginaerum film.