Nightwish - _Wishmaster_
(Spinefarm / Vinyl Collectors, 2000)
by: Alvin Wee (
Perhaps my expectations were overly high for Finland's operatic masters Nightwish, but _Wishmaster_, their third offering, seems rather lacklustre in view of _Oceanborn_'s excellence. While by no means a bad album, the band's knack for soaring, epic melody-lines seems to be compromised in favour of a slightly more experimental approach, introducing more atonality and staccato rhythm into the previously smooth songwriting. Many fans have already ascribed the new direction to progression, and less melody-oriented tracks like "The Kinslayer" do add a touch of spice, offsetting the sublimely beautiful "Come Cover Me". Remarks have been made about _Oceanborn_ being more straightforward than _Wishmaster_; on the other hand, the music on the latter album appeals more to conventional power-metal sensibilities, downplaying the complex virtuosity and neo-classical arrangements in favor of harder-hitting power riffs. Tarja's polished soprano seems in fine form, but once again lacks the raw inspiration and operatic conviction of her previous efforts, lending the music a rather over-produced, boringly polished feel (read: The Gathering). Hammerheart's LP version boasts top quality pressing on heavy-vinyl; add to that a beautiful gatefold cover complete with separate lyric sheet and vinyl lovers have a near-flawless example of vinyl production. Certainly a recommended album despite the minor let-down, but to expect the band to top an effort like _Oceanborn_ would be asking too much, surely.
(article published 10/1/2001)
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