Nightwish - Angels Fall First

edited November 2022 in Year-1997


ARTIST: Nightwish
ALBUM: Angels Fall First
LABEL: Spinefarm
YEAR: 1997


LINEUP: Tarja Turunen - vocals * Tuomas Holopainen - keyboards, vocals * Erno 'Emppu' Vuorinen - guitars, bass * Jukka 'Julius' Nevalainen - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Elvenpath * 02 Beauty And The Beast * 03 The Carpenter * 04 Astral Romance * 05 Angels Fall First * 06 Tutankhamen * 07 Nymphomaniac Fantasia * 08 Know Why The Nightingale Sings * 09 Lappi (Lapland)

RATING: image



One cannot help but admire how young Nightwish were when they began walking on their path to metal stardom.

Looking at their promo pictures from the era, their skin looks washed out against their appropriately dark clothes and stark lightning, they are camera-shy and stiff, Tarja with a clumsy 90's haircut, the boys in an awkward stage of growing their soon-to-be-long locks out, all baby-faced and chubby-cheeked.

Impossibly young or not, the Finns managed to make a debut to be proud of, a fine stepping stone in their legacy.

The Songs

Their very first hit song, 'Elvenpath', is the reason why this album starts with a bang, it has a well-crafted structure, opening with some narration by Tarja, who promptly shows in the first verse that she can handle both non-operatic and operatic singing, and then completely kills it in the chorus and the lovely bridge surrounded by two instances of narration from Tolkien's famed epic 'Lord Of The Rings' and followed by a short guitar solo.

'Beauty And The Beast' is a dramatic duet very much in style of dark European prog/power that was at its peak in the late 90's, but it is a little slower than it should be, and to have Tuomas Holopainen singing in this track was a very, very bad idea, since he is simply neither a naturally talented singer nor a trained singer. Both of these mistakes, however, would be fixed on the band's first DVD, when they brought Sonata Arctica's Tony Kakko to sing this track.

'The Carpenter', a religious-themed piece follows with more vocals by Holopainen (better done this time), and it somewhat boringly chugs along at a crawling pace.

'Astral Romance' is again slightly marred by the keyboardist's attempts at singing, but the song is very dramatic and beautiful, with a lovely Iron Maiden-esque intro, and the band's name makes a cameo in the lyrics. I would suggest everyone to check out its 2001 remake with slightly changed lyrics and Tony Kakko singing Tuomas' parts once again.

The title track is a mostly acoustic ballad featuring some flutes and Tarja's usual solemn style of singing.

'Tutankhamen' could be the band's tribute to Amorphis' brand of Orient-derived meandering melodic folk metal, and 'Nymphomaniac Fantasia' begins as yet another inconspicuous acoustic ballad, but a dramatic bass line, war drums, and Tarja's sultry, entwining vocals quickly drag you into a much darker, gothic soundscape.

'Know Why The Nightingale Sings' rests on a guitar riff that's fabulous in its simplicity alongside richly nuanced, lyrical vocals. Near the end of the song, Emppu Vuorinen gets a chance to show off his chops and there is even a short piano solo thrown in there for good measure.

'Lappi (Lapland)' is a nine-minute demonstration of what the band would be like if they never got into metal - dominated by mostly acoustic guitars, tribal and trance-like drums, flutes, and calm and soothing vocals in Finnish. True campfire music and a great closer.

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