CD review NIGHTWISH ‘HUMAN. :II: NATURE.’

It was a while ago that Finnish Nightwish released with ‘Endless Forms Most Beautiful’ their latest studio album. Five years went by and now the band is back with ‘HUMAN. :II: NATURE.’, an album that is more just a release amongst many others. Already a running time of nearly 1,5 hours shows that there’s something big on the way. Knowing that Nightwish mainman Tuomas Holopainen and his almost endless flow of musical creativity can also deliver quality and not solely quantity rises expectation and excitement. Can Nightwish deliver? Yes, they can.

Nightwish’s new album is a two-phase journey for listeners. It’s basically two records of which the first step comprises of nine Nightwish anthems in the typical fashion, while the second part of the album shows another aspect of Nightwish.

Let’s start at the end of the album. ‘All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World’ is a masterpiece in eight acts. It’s a beautiful piece of music, driven by Nightwish mainman Tuomas Holopainen and his virtuosity. Done in a close collaboration with Pip Williams ‘All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World’ is more than a song. It’s a composition that shows Holopainen ability to think in bigger musical spheres. The epos is a homage to planet Earth or as Holopainen describes it “a love letter to the World”. With a cinematic approach ‘All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World’ triggers thoughts about the current state of our planet, which is even more important these days. In this sense the epos fits perfectly into the here & now but also into the context of ‘HUMAN. :II: NATURE.’. “People”, “Nature”, “Art” and “Music” are the lyrical pillars of the album that isn’t a concept album. The four themes are more of a common thread that guides through the longplayer.

Before you get to the glorious ending of ‘HUMAN. :II: NATURE.’ the band takes you through a nine-songs-trip that reflects Nightwish and their qualities very well. While ‘All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World’ is an instrumental work, the other nine tracks bring Floor Jansen’s vocals into the spotlight. The Dutch singer and her multi-varient voice enriches Nightwish songs, not only, but for sure also on this release. With all the nuances her voice offers, it’s more musical storytelling than singing lyrics for a song. The idea of letting also Marco Hietala and Troy Donockley sing some parts (‘Harvest’ and ‘Endlessness’) is an extra spice Nightwish adds to this delicious musical offer.

Musically, the nine songs are potpourri of sounds and influences. There is the opener ‘Music’, reflecting on the evolution of music, a journey from sounds and rhythms via melodies and harmonies, to Rock and Metal. It’s a well-chosen start into the album and paves the way for the other songs in a great fashion. The way this song builds-up is impressive.

‘Noise’ is a song that has been revealed already a couple of months ago, a typical Nightwish anthem, including all the trademarks of the band. ‘Shoemaker’ shows the good sense for big melodies, before ‘Harvest’ takes over with a solid drum-sound. A lot of Folk is a differentiator of this song from the rest of the album. The song’s like a musical thank you to Mother Earth for harvesting what soil and seeds brings to surface.

Bigger soundscapes is what ‘Procession’ builds upon, also with a nuanced Folk vibe that swings with the song. With ‘Tribal’ you face the heaviest moment of the album, aggressive and powerful three minutes. Nightwish – spot on.

‘Endlessness’ is the slower paced ending of part one of ‘HUMAN. :II: NATURE.’ and rounds off things in a good manner.

Nightwish add with ‘HUMAN. :II: NATURE.’ their most mature album to their long list of musical achievements. Supported by an excellent production, the Symphonic Metal spearhead brings songs to the plate, wowing from start to end. Although things seem to be planned to detail, there is still an ease embedded that makes the album to a stellar listening experience. Bombastic Symphonic Metal can’t sound much better than what ‘HUMAN. :II: NATURE.’ offers. This album lifts the bar to a level that will not be reached that easily, maybe not even by Nightwish anymore.

Rating: 10 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. Music
  2. Noise
  3. Shoemaker
  4. Harvest
  5. Pan
  6. How’s the Heart?
  7. Procession
  8. Tribal
  9. Endlessness
  10. All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World
    • Vista
    • The Blue
    • The Green
    • Moors
    • Aurorae
    • Quiet as the Snow
    • Anthropocene (incl. Hurrian Hymn to Nikkal)
    • Ad Astra

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Symphonic Metal

Release Date EU: March 10th, 2020

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