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The band of May 2013: Nightwish

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The band of May 2013: Nightwish

Actually it wasn’t an accidental decision to make NIGHTWISH the first band of the month, because I just can’t think of any other famous rock band which happened to be the reason of so many on- and offline disputes lately. Well, many band have caused lots of disputes, but I see NIGHTWISH as the only example of a band who can go diving in a see of nuclear waste and return with the pockets full of pure gold and diamonds. Just think about it, this band had done more unpopular and horrible decisions than any other band I could think of… So what? Did those “mistakes” bury them? No way, Tuomas Holopainen & Co become more and more popular after every and each of them. It seems like NIGHTWISH is a fire that should be fed with mistakes – the grosser those mistakes are the higher the fire gets!

I have to tell you something the old NIGHTWISH fans will definitely hate me for – I’ve never really liked the band until Tarja Turunen left *dodging a thousand rotten tomatos*. Even more – I’ve never liked their first 3 albums. It was interesting to listen to “Angels Fall First” for the first time, but then it got kind of boring for me, like “Ok, I got it, symphonic metal with opera-like vocals, right…” Of course I found a couple of cool songs in every of those early CDs, but I couldn’t call myself a fan if you know what I mean. This was suddenly changed when a friend of my gave me their concert video “From Wishes to Eternity”. This amazing concert in Tampere, Finland has put everything together because NIGHTWISH sounded way better live than canned (my opinion). It was fresh, cool and very professional, though I didn’t like the bass player Sami V?nsk?, who just stood still the whole concert and really was like “Don’t look at me, I’m not with them!” :)

Like my thoughts have been heard Tuomas fired Sami in 2001, Marco Hietala of TAROT came and suddenly the band was almost perfect. Almost :) “Century Child” was very good, “Nemo” was even better and in 2004 I’ve seen NIGHTWISH live for the very first time. They came in Germany and I could attend their show in Leipzig. What I’ve seen was a very cool performance, but to be honest I have to say I liked the whole band except Tarja Turunen. Don’t get me wrong, she was a super-pro, but to me she looked like a stranger in a strange land, like she didn’t really belong to all that metal stuff, like all this headbanging etc wasn’t really her thing. At the same time I didn’t think she would ever leave NIGHTWISH. No freaking way! She was so important for the band’s success, who would be interested in NIGHTWISH without her?! So when I heard the news about Tuomas firing her from the band, I thought it was a joke. All that open letter story was so in a bad taste I couldn’t find the words to express how wrong it felt. This was the end. 100%. Dead. Gone. Forgotten.

But suddenly I started to notice something – the time went by but people were still speaking about that and NIGHTWISH weren’t going to disappear or break up. Tarja’s dismissal has separated the fans, some of them supported Tuomas, some of them cheered Tarja, but still nobody was going to leave the NIGHTWISH camp. I’ve suddenly understood what a genius was Tuomas Holopainen to make it all in such a “soap opera” manner! Just take any of your favorite bands where the singer is a real star and imagine he/she would leave – how long would you be there for this band? And the NIGHTWISH fans were all there long after Tarja has left – they were arguing, fighting, discussing all those countless scandal interviews and the very long and detailed Q&A of Turunen’s husband Marcelo Cabuli… This allowed NIGHTWISH to live well until 2007 when they announced Anette Olzon as the new lead singer. Here I’m ready to give the band 11 out of possible 10 points, because they’ve done something that would destroy any other band and this “big mistake” has just made them more popular than ever. When I heard “Dark Passion Play” I though to myself “It was worth every second of this long waiting!” I was literally blown away by the new NIGHTWISH with Anette Olzon. The music got a lot more mature and Anette… she wasn’t even close so strong vocally as Tarja, but she was alive if you know what I mean. When I saw the band live again it was striking how the band’s attitude has changed – now it was a real band with every member equally important. Everybody looked simply happy to be there, no more staged emotions or something. Anette had a hard time singing “The Poet and the Pendulum”, but when Marco tried to back her up it looked touching and not a bit unprofessional. It was amazing. I’ve seen the band twice since then and every time it was a great show and a lots of emotions.

Next time Holopainen has probably decided not to lose time for just one big mistake and made three in the row: NIGHTWISH had released a super-complex and super-expensive album “Imaginaerum”, made a full-length movie and then parted ways with Anette Olzon! It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say every single one of these actions would kill any other band right there, but we’ve already learned that NIGHTWISH doesn’t obey any common rules. You just can’t apply them to this particular formation. The album turned out to be a great success (triple Platinum in Finland and gold in Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Greece and Slovakia), the movie still gets mainly very positive reviews and thousands of fans scream out loud for Floor Jansen to be the next lead singer for NIGHTWISH!

I liked the album, I found the gigs with Floor very promising (though I felt sorry for Anette), but for some reason the movie touched me a lot more. I was actually lucky enough to watch “Imaginaerum” in cinema. In spite of my general positivity I really didn’t think it would be so amazing. I’ve seen a lot of “band movies” and most of them sucked big time, though I found “Detroit Rock City” kind of cool and “Spice World” generally funny. That’s why I was so surprised to find “Imaginaerum” so brilliantly made and subtly directed. Looked like Tuomas put a lot of personal experience into the movie, I felt he took it as a big chance to express himself in a very personal way. “Imaginaerum” is a story of a very popular musician Tom Whitman who lost his mind and travels in the world of his imagination. The key to his sanity is his daughter Gem he’s in the very complicated relations with. His past band’s singer Ann helps Gem to solve the Tom’s secret and finally to find her father again. First of all I loved the idea of bringing NIGHTWISH to the movie as “Tom’s old band”. It’s the whole different group, but at the same time all the guys are very easy to recognize: Anette is Ann, Tuomas is Tom, Jukka is Jack, Emppu is Emil and Marco is Marcus.

Imaginaerum Imaginaerum Imaginaerum Imaginaerum Imaginaerum Imaginaerum Imaginaerum Imaginaerum Imaginaerum Imaginaerum Imaginaerum Imaginaerum Imaginaerum Imaginaerum

Tuomas plays the young Tom and I must take my hat off for him, he did his job very well. Some of his episodes are very dramatic. There’s a very “arthouse” episode when Tom smashes the crystal toy his daughter gave to him and you watch it in slow motion opposed to other scene when the little Tom’s dad falls on the floor after he shot himself… it sent some shivers down my spine. Exactly like other episode when the tin soldiers carried the bed with the old sick Tom… You see, it’s not Coppola, but if you can perceive such imageries you’ll be very surprised. Talking about the digital effects, you can see every penny from those $4.275.000 they spent for it, everything looks just great on the big screen. The fans will also find some nice little hints, like for example a “Century Child” platinum award on a wall in the old Tom’s house. Other fans would be pleased to see how much Joanna Noyes who played the old Ann actually looked like Anette, she looked like Anette’s mother could look! All in all the movie “Imaginaerum” was a great and hopefully financially successful project. It’s not for everybody and it’s not for you if you love a lot of action and shooting, but I must say I can’t stop listening to the album after I watched the movie, because they kind of belog to each other. If you watched the movie you would find a lot of new unexpected nuances on the album, probably because the album’s music was written not as “just songs”, but rather as the music for the movie.

So what do we have now?… The band in a very unstable position, without its second singer the fans really liked, with no official singer now, but with a new risky album and even a more risty “not-for-common-people” movie. Any other band would be ruined by all that, but it seems NIGHTWISH feel just fine… as they always do fed with armful of new “mistakes” :)

Text : Albert Buchatskyy

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