Nightwish - Wishmaster

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Century Media
Catalog Number: 8001-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 47:50:00

The first thing you will immediately notice about Nightwish is the lovely, high, sweet and operatic voice of Tarja Turunen. In a way, it is this that sets Nightwish apart from other bands, though more and more progressive/power metal bands are featuring female vocalists, whether in the "beauty and the beast" mode or as sole vocalist. But Turunen's voice is of a unique quality that, at least to me, she sounds like no other vocalist out there. She is often accompanied by a chorus, which only intensifies the sense of the operatic. In fact, the sadly mellow ballad "Two For Tragedy" seems as if it should be part of some larger and epic stage play, though for the most part this "scene" would have a single spotlight on the vocalist, singing in soliloquy (over a sleeping, dying child). This is one of my favorite tracks on the album. It is followed by the epic title track "Wishmaster." This and "Kinslayer" which comes before it at track 2, will appeal to those who like that testoterone fueled, heroic metal. Of course this power is "beast" to the beauty of Turunen's lilting vocals. Each track has what might be described as a chunky rhythm and each has a chorus of voices; in the case of "Kinslayer" it's all coming at you with tightly controlled belligerence.

Nightwish explore various themes that, at the root, all stem from "wishes" - whether that wish is desire ("She Is My Sin," "Come Cover Me," "Bare Grace Misery") or a sense of peace ("Wanderlust," "Two For Tragedy," "Dead Boy's Poem"). Though there are songs that don't quite as easily fit into that concept, that being "Kinslayer," "Crownless," "Deep Silent Complete" and "FantasMic," the latter of which is a three part epic, where the atmospheric, lanquidly paced middle section is bridged into the strident latter part via guest Esa Lehtinen's flute, which adds a touch of the old world (don't want to go so far as to say Celtic) to the piece.

Nightwish's style could be described as epic metal, which puts them in the same general category as bands such as Kamelot, Rhapsody, etc. Many of the albums pieces have a huge sound, an epic sweep. Providing this the musical bed against which Turunen sings, are Tuomas Holopainen on synthesizers, Jukka Nevalainen on drums and percussion, Emppu Vourinen on guitars, and Sami Vänskä on bass. "She Is My Sin" has a chorus that will echo in your head long after the album is over, though that doesn't mean there aren't other memorable vocal hooks elsewhere on the album. Certainly the epic choruses that are heard throughout affix themselves to the mind's ear.

"Come Cover Me" is a radio ready track, easily accessible, made distinctive by the tight, operatic way that Turunen sings. It is a voice that projects an aristocratic, regal air, but also hints that this is the "public face," that a more relaxed individual is locked inside. One underlying theme in this song fits that perfectly, where here the protagonist is imploring a male lover (lover in the old sense of the word: suitor, object of interest) to share a night of passion (thus then lover in the more "modern" sense of the word).

"Wanderlust" isn't as effective as the other tracks on the album, though Holopainen does explode with some frenetic keyboard passages (which happens again on "Crownless"). This is probably the heaviest track here in terms of the distorted, chopping guitars that chug along like hammers during the bridge (though "Crownless" comes very close).

Wishmaster is a very good album, featuring spectacular and warm production. The pieces flow together nicely, though the contrast beween the calm of "Two For Tragedy" and the energy of "Wishmaster" is a bit jarring at first.

Released also by Spinefarm (SPI87CD)

She Is My Sin (4:46) / The Kinslayer (3:59) / Come Cover Me (4:34) / Wanderlust (4:50) / Two For Tragedy (3:51) / Wishmaster (4:23) / Brace Grace Misery (3:39) / Crownless (4:26) / Deep Silent Complete (3:57) / Dead Boy's Poem (6:47) / FantasMic (8:18)

Tarja Turunen - vocals
Tuomas Holopainen - synthesizers
Jukka Nevalainen - drums and percussion
Emppu Vourinen - guitars
Sami Vänskä - bass


Esa Lehtinen - flute
Sam Hardwick - dead boy's voice (10)
Ike Vil - Kinslayer's voice (2)
Choir: Ville Laaksonen (tenor), Matias Kaila (tenor), Kimmo Kallio (baritone), Riku Salminen (bass), Anssi Honkanen (bass)

Angels Fall First (1997)
Oceanborn (1998)
Wishmaster (2000)
Wishmastour 2000 (2000)
Over The Hills And Far Away (ep) (2001)
From Wishes To Eternity (FI only) (2001) Century Child (2002)
Once (2004)
Tales From The Elvenpath (2004)
Bestwishes (2005)
Highest Hopes: The Best Of Nightwish (2005)
End Of An Era (2006)
Dark Passion Play (2007)
The Sound Of Nightwish Reborn (2008)
Made In Hong Kong (2009)
Imaginaerum (2011)
Walking In The Air: The Greatest Ballads (2011)
Imaginaerum: The Score (2012)
Showtime, Storytime (2013)
Endless Forms Most Beautiful (2015)
Vehicle Of Spirit (2016)
Decades (2018*)

From Wishes To Eternity (DVD/VID) (2001)
End Of Innocence (DVD) (2003)
End Of An Era (DVD) (2006)
Made In Hong Kong (DVD) (2009) Imaginaerum (DVD/BR) (2011)
Showtime, Storytime (DVD/BR) (2013)
Vehicle Of Spirit (DVD/BR) (2016)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin FI

Added: September 8th 2003
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 702
Language: english


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