Nightwish – “Imaginaerium” (2011)


Label : Nuclear Blast (Europe) Records

Review by Tony Cannella

Where has the time gone? It seems like only yesterday I stumbled upon the debut album from this little known metal band from Finland with a female opera singer. An interesting concept, I thought, but it’ll never catch on – how (happily wrong I was). That band of course was Nightwish who 15 years later are releasing their 7th album (not including live albums, EPs, singles and compilations) which is titled “Imaginaerum”. That first album was “Angels Fall First” and it is really quite remarkable and gratifying to see how far the band has come. For a band that has made a career in recent years of making every production bigger than the last, “Imaginaerum”  has got to be Nightwish’s most ambitious output yet – and it is well over an hour in length. “Imaginaerum” is an epic concept album; the band even filmed a movie to accompany the album, which should be out sometime in 2012. This is the second album to feature vocalist Anette Olzon and she is settling in nicely to her role – although I thought she did a great job on “Dark Passion Play”. The intro track “Taikatalvi” begins things and leads us into the fast paced “Storytime” which is appropriate to start the album, since “Imaginaerum” does have a story running through it. This is a solid opener and a good choice of first video to announce their return. This song is represented by a melodic, memorable and singable chorus. “Ghost River” is next and has an almost Van Halen style opening riff, this song also marks the first appearance of Marco Hietala performing a duet with Anette; this song kind of reminded me a little of “Bye Bye Beautiful” in certain parts. “Slow, Love, Slow” is next and this has got to be the most different song that Nightwish has done to date. It has a slow romantic jazzy feel to it – this actually turned out to be one of my favorite tracks, maybe because it is so different, you can almost picture Anette singing this song in an early 1900s smoky club. “I Want My Tears Back” brings the album back to a heavy, melodic and memorable chorus aspect of the band – this is another favorite and a Marco heavy vocal song. The dark and ominous “Scaretale” is next and is followed by the instrumental “Arabesque”. The Celtic style ballad “Turn Loose the Mermaids” has a Blackmore’s Night feel to it. “Rest Calm” is of the heavier tracks here and it has a doom metal feel to it amidst a few tempo changes, but it mostly maintains a heavy style. “The Crow, the Owl and the Dove” was written by Marco Hietala and is a beautiful song featuring a great chorus and overall melody. Three singers are used on this song, in addition to Marco and Anette a third vocalist Troy Donockly joins in. “Last Ride of the Day” has a fast and heavy main riff. The epic 13 ½ minute “Song of Myself” is huge in scope, with the majority of the last half being a narrative by a male (Troy Donockly) and female (Anette Olzon). It is quite interesting and it leads us into the final track, the full blown orchestral  “Imaginaerum”  which of course ends the story – and continues their movie soundtrack influence. The London Philharmonic Orchestra plays a huge role in the creation of  “Imaginaerum” as well as choirs on some of the songs. Like “Dark Passion Play”“Imaginaerum” comes with a second disc of orchestral instrumentals of the album. There is plenty of variation on “Imaginaerum” which I think is really effective. My two favorite Nightwish albums are “Once” and “Dark Passion Play”, I’m not prepared to say  “Imaginaerum” is better or even as good as those two, but it is pretty darn close – and who knows, maybe in a few months it’ll be right up there with those two. “Imaginaerum”  is one of the most elaborate releases from this now veteran and legendary band.

Rating – 93/100



  1. Taikatalvi
  2. Storytime
  3. Ghost River
  4. Slow,Love,Slow
  5. I Want My Tears Back
  6. Scaretale
  7. Arabesque
  8. Turn Loose the Mermaids
  9. Rest Calm
  10. The Crow, the Owl and the Dove
  11. Last Ride of the Day
  12. Imaginaerium


Line Up

  • Anette Olzon – Vocals
  • Tuomas Holopainen – Keyboards
  • Marco Hietala – Bass & Vocals
  • Erno “Emppu” Vuorinen – Guitars
  • Jukka Nevalainen – Drums



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