Nightwish – “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” (2015)

Label: Nuclear Blast Records

Review by Tony Cannella

“Endless Forms Most Beautiful” is the long, eagerly awaited return of the Finnish/Dutch symphonic metal legends Nightwish, and their return is mostly triumphant. “EFMB” marks the studio recording debut of vocalist Floor Jansen and that in and of itself is a big deal. Beyond that, Nightwish has released an album that maintains what the band has been about since their inception all those years ago.

“Endless Forms Most Beautiful” features 11-songs and 80-minutes worth of solid material. After a brief spoken word intro to the opening track, “Shudder Before the Beautiful” kicks in and is classic Nightwish. This is a song with equal bits of crunchy heaviness combined with the bands symphonic metal arrangements, choirs, and… then there is Floor Jansen’s amazing vocals. She is simply one of the best singers on the planet, in my opinion. “Weak Fantasy” comes rumbling through and is a moody, melodic metal feast. Floor handles the lion’s share of the vocals on this track, but bassist Marco Hietala chips in with his unique style. This is a great track! Next is the first single “Elan”. I have read mixed things about this song, but personally, I like it. It really isn’t indicative of the rest of the material on the album but it is a typical Nightwish first single, definitely more, dare I say, more commercial than the rest of the album? The next song “Yours Is An Empty Hope” starts off with an almost cinematic intro before the song transforms into a heavy, powerful number. “Our Decades in the Sun” is sort of a half-ballad and one of my favorites. Other highlights include: “My Walden”, “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” and “Alpenglow”. The album is concluded by the epic 23-minute “The Greatest Show on Earth” which is just so hugely ambitious and a great way to wrap things up.

When listening to an album it certainly helps to not make a hard opinion based on the first listen. I will admit that after my first listen to “Endless Forms Most Beautiful”, my initial reaction was, “eh, it’s okay” but with each listen my fondness for this record started to grow to the point where I can honestly say I love this record.

Rating – 90/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Shudder Before the Beautiful
  2. Weak Fantasy
  3. Elan
  4. Yours is an Empty Hope
  5. Our Decades in the Sun
  6. My Walden
  7. Empty Forms Most Beautiful
  8. Edema Ruh
  9. Alpenglow
  10. The Eyes of Sharbat Gula
  11. The Greatest Show on Earth

 

Line Up

  • Floor Jansen – Vocals
  • Marco Hietala – Bass & Vocals
  • Emppu Vuorinen – Guitars
  • Tuomas Holopainen – Keyboards
  • Troy Donocley – Uillean pipes, Tin whistle, Vocals
  • Kai Hahto –Drums

 

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