Nightwish – Imaginaerum (2011)


It has been four years since the last Pop Metal installment of Nightwish with “Dark Passion Play”. With Anette Olzon finally incorporated into the band’s sound, Nightwish delivers a pretty decent effort with some ‘real Nightwish’ songs and some other ‘money making Nightwish’ tracks. There is a clear distinction between the songs that have more metal structures and the ones that are just to make the teenyboppers jump up and down.

The whole super pretentious concept of having a movie made for “Imaginaerum” and crap like that just shows that the band is moving into very self-indulgent territories. However, the music behind this “Imaginaerum” stuff is not quite bad, and many will be shocked to actually read this, so please bear with us. The opener song “Storytime” immediately induces some gag reflex from us when we first heard it and its crack-induced music video. The track is very bland and capitalizes on the heavy guitars with catchy vocal melodies format, something that Amaranthe made us hate this 2011. this song also sounds very much like anything else from “Dark Passion Play”.

The first surprise comes with “Ghost River”, this song took us to the Nightwish from the “Wishmaster” era, but with shitty vocals. We are not huge Anette haters, but the opening of this track gets weakened by her whiny voice, good thing Marco comes to the rescue with some almost ‘growls’. And all is good and aggressive when Anette is not singing solo, the vocal layers are pretty good and they make this song work.

The second surprise is the very interesting and ‘experimenatl’ jazzy piece “Slow, Love, Slow”. Anette’s vocals are very sultry and amazing in this track, making us think is not even her. This is one of the best songs Nightwish has mad in the last few years since it does not sound too much like them. Moving on we have the very ‘happy’ “I Want My Tears Back”, a track that has a very catchy folk-ish edge to it.

Going into the cinematic/pretentious mode, “Scaretale” goes a bit overboard with all the theatrics but still achieves a very festive mode, not bad at all but weird. The filler “Arabesque” easily goes by and then “Turn Loose The Mermaids” makes it appearance with even more Folk-ish elements. This track reminded us a bit of Kari Rueslåtten’s vocals (yeah…. some people will call this blasphemy), but in overall shows that Anette’s vocals just needed the right fit to sound good with Nightwish.

Our favorite track is the Doom-ish “Rest Calm”, the intro reminded us of Swallow the Sun or Insomnium but with the typical riff + over-the-top orchestrations from Nightwish. The catchy/folk-ish chorus section is pretty good and the solos are very well crafted, by far the best arranged track of this release. We have more Folk/Pop with “The Crow, The Owl and the Rover”, allowing Anette to have a great performance and Marco to nicely accentuate it.

Closing the album we have the more-of-the-same “Last Ride of the Day” and the over the top “Song of Myself”. This last one is another exploratory self-masturbation composition exercise surely from Tuomas with dialogs and stuff. The closer “Imaginaerum” continues with the Avatar-like Folkish/ethereal symphonic stuff and by this time we are kind of passing out of boredom with these sections.

Is “Imaginaerum” worth buying? We kind of lean towards yes. The album ridiculously well produced and it sounds like a million dollars, it also features some very interesting songs. There is no doubt that the band is not near as pop-ish as like on their previous release and it shows in the songs, but there are also getting more and more pretentious in their orchestrations making them in some points very dull. If you are a fan of the band you will love this release, and you might even open up a spot for Anette in your heart after listening to her own most of the songs.

Band: Nightwish Album: Imaginaerum
Label: Nuclear Blast Records

Release: November 30th, 2011

Oficial Site myspace
Genre: Symphonic Metal/Rock

Country: Finland

Rating: 82/100

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