Nightwish Overview

Nightwish is a metal heavy metal music band from Kitee, Finland, formed in 1996 by songwriter/keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen, guitarist Emppu Vuorinen, and former vocalist Tarja Turunen. Nightwish is Finland's most successful band with more than 7 million albums & singles sold worldwide, 1 silver award, 11 gold awards, and 31 platinum awards.

Although Nightwish has been prominent in their home country since the release of their first single Single (music) , “The Carpenter” (1997) and debut album Angels Fall First, they did not achieve worldwide fame until the release of the albums Oceanborn, Wishmaster Wishmaster (album) and Century Child, which were released in 1998, 2000 and 2002 respectively. Their 2004 album, Once Once (Nightwish album) , which has sold more than 1 million copies, led to Nightwish video clips being shown on MTV in the United States and inclusion of their music in US movie soundtracks. Their biggest US hit single, “Wish I Had an Angel” (2004), made it onto three US film soundtracks as a means to promote their North American tour. The band produced three more singles and two music videos for the album, as well as “Sleeping Sun”, from the 2005 “best of Greatest hits ” compilation album, Highest Hopes, prior to vocalist Tarja Turunen’s dismissal.

In May 2007, former Alyson Avenue frontwoman, Anette Olzon, was revealed as Turunen Tarja Turunen ’s replacement, and in the autumn, the band released a new album - Dark Passion Play, which has sold almost 2 million copies. The supporting tour started on October 6, 2007 and ended on September 19, 2009. A new E.P./live album, Made in Hong Kong (And in Various Other Places), was released in March 2009 as a MCD Mini CD /DVD, and a seventh studio album is in production, set for release in 2011.



After playing keyboards musical keyboard in several heavy metal bands in the 1990s, including for example Nattvindens Gråt and Darkwoods My Betrothed, Tuomas Holopainen decided to create his own project while sitting around a campfire with friends in 1996.

Debut album and first tour

In early 1997, following the release of the Nightwish demo, Jukka “Julius” Nevalainen Jukka Nevalainen joined the band, and acoustic guitar was replaced with electric guitar. The addition of heavy metal Heavy metal music elements to the band's existing experimental style gave the band a unique sound, forming the core of the Nightwish sound.

The band entered the studio in April 1997 to record seven songs for their second demo, entitled Angels Fall First. As a precursor to their debut full length album of the same name, the demo made its way to the Finnish record label Spinefarm Records in May 1997.

In December 1997, after over a year of existence, Nightwish made their live debut in their hometown Kitee, Finland. Since they were missing a bass player, Samppa Hirvonen joined them as a sessional live member. Marianna Pellinen was also a sessional live member on an additional keyboard Keyboard instrument and was a sessional backing vocalist for Tarja. The band had considered making Samppa Hirvonen a permanent member but he joined the army as part of Finnish army conscription, so they asked Sami Vänskä to join instead, since Tuomas knew him from the band Nattvindens Gråt. During the winter of 1997 and 1998, the band performed only seven times, due to Nevalainen and Vuorinen’s obligatory Finnish military service, and Turunen finishing her schooling.

Following a string of live shows in Finland, the band filmed their first video clip for “The Carpenter” in April 1998. Nightwish completed their touring line up in the summer of 1998 when bassist Bass guitar Sami Vänskä, an old friend of Holopainen, joined the band. Nightwish then returned to the studio in August 1998 as a five-piece, to record their follow up album for Spinefarm records.

International success

On October 7, 1998, Nightwish released their second full length album, Oceanborn, in Finland only. Adopting a more technical and progressive sound than Angels Fall First, Oceanborn saw the band abandon much of the ambient and folk elements present on their debut release, with the only exception of "Moondance". In contrast to the female vocals of Turunen, the album also featured guest growling vocals by Tapio Wilska (ex-Finntroll), since Tuomas did not want to sing. Tapio Wilska is also a former member of Nattvindens Gråt

Oceanborn was well received, with Allmusic writing that the album “as a whole works great”, with songs that are “very strong”. Oceanborn was an instant success in Finland, reaching number 5 on the Finnish album charts. The album’s first single, “Sacrament of Wilderness”, hit number 1 on the Finnish singles charts, where it stayed for several weeks. Both the album Oceanborn and the single “Sacrament of Wilderness” were certified gold Gold album in Finland in August 1999.

The record also included guest performances by Tapio Wilska (ex-Finntroll) once again. Meanwhile, guitarist Emppu Vuorinen had started complaining about his role in the band, feeling like "a hired gun who would only do what he's asked to". According to their music teacher, Plamen Dimov, he and Holopainen have totally different characters, and thus difficulties were expected to arise. But Vuorinen was told to stay cool and "bite the bullet", and the problem was never addressed again.

In 2002, Nightwish released Century Child, along with the singles “Ever Dream” and “Bless the Child Bless the Child (song) ”. The main difference from previous albums is the use of a live Finnish orchestra on the tracks “Bless the Child”, “Ever Dream”, “Feel For You” and “The Beauty of the Beast”, to emphasize the use of classical music European classical music in their compositions. An enduring favorite of fans, though, is the band’s version of “The Phantom of the Opera”, from the famous musical of the same name The Phantom of the Opera (1986 musical) by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. The song was repeatedly played on concerts until vocalist Tarja Turunen was replaced with Anette Olzon, whereupon the band announced that they would never play the song live again.

Century Child was certified gold two hours after its release, and platinum two weeks afterwards. It set a record on the Finnish album charts as well; never before had the second been so distant from the first place. After the “Bless the Child Bless the Child (song) ” video, a second one was recorded, without any single support. The chosen track was “End of All Hope”. The clip contains pieces from the Finnish movie, Kohtalon kirja (English: The Book of Fate).

In 2003, Nightwish released their second DVD, entitled End of Innocence. The DVD tells the story of the band in Holopainen, Nevalainen and Tapio Wilska’s words for two hours. The documentary also features bits of live concerts, exclusive footage, etc. Vocalist Singer Tarja Turunen also got married during the summer of 2003, and there were rumours that the band was about to be dissolved. These rumours were, at the time, proven to be false, as the band continued to play concerts for another year and released another album. Tarja’s marriage later played a part in her dismissal from the band in the autumn of 2005.

Consecration with Once and Tarja's dismissal

A new album entitled Once was released on June 7, 2004, along with their first single, "Nemo Nemo (song) " (Latin: “No one”), from that album. The single topped the charts in Finland and Hungary, and reached the top ten in five additional countries. “Nemo” therefore remains the band's most successful single release to date. With Once, Nightwish started to produce orchestral versions orchestra of some of their songs. Songs that have been produced as orchestral versions include "Nemo Nemo (song) ", "Ghost Love Score", "Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan" and "Creek Mary's Blood".

Once utilizes a full orchestra in nine of the eleven songs on the album. Unlike Century Child, Nightwish decided to look for an orchestra outside of Finland this time, choosing the London Philharmonic Orchestra. It is also their second album to feature a full-length song in Finnish, “Kuolema tekee taiteilijan Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan ” (English: “Death Makes an Artist”). Once has sold triple platinum in Finland, platinum in Germany, gold in Sweden and reached #1 in the Greek Greece , Norwegian Norway and Hungarian album charts. The following singles were: "Wish I Had an Angel" (featured on the soundtrack of the film Alone in the Dark Alone in the Dark (2005 film) ), "Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan" (released only in Finland and Japan) and "The Siren The Siren (song) ". Besides the commercial success, Once was also well received by critics, with many positive reviewers drawing comparisons with Oceanborn.
, Finland, in June 25, 2005.
The success of the album allowed them to perform the Once World Tour, taking them to play in many countries the band had never visited before. Nightwish performed at the opening ceremony of the 2005 World Championships in Athletics, held in Helsinki, highlighting the acclaim the band has recently gained. A “best of” album was released in September 2005, containing songs from their whole discography. The compilation is entitled Highest Hopes, also featuring a live cover of Pink Floyd’s song "High Hopes High Hopes (Pink Floyd song) " (from the The Division Bell album) (sample Media:Nightwish-highhopes.ogg ). Besides High Hopes, a remake of "Sleeping Sun" (from Oceanborn) was included on the album and it was also released as a single. A new video for "Sleeping Sun" was shot, featuring a medieval battle, and can be found on the German release of the single and as a separate DVD released by Spinefarm.

After the recording in the Hartwall Areena (Helsinki) on October 21, 2005, of the new live DVD End of an Era (released June 2006), the four other members of Nightwish decided that it was best to continue Nightwish without Tarja Turunen, a feeling they expressed through an open letter which was given to Turunen by Tuomas Holopainen after the concert, and afterwards posted on the band’s website. It was written by Holopainen but signed by the other three band members. The main justification given in the letter for Turunen’s dismissal was that the band felt that both her husband Marcelo Cabuli (an Argentine businessman) and commercial Commercialism interests had changed her attitude towards the band.

Turunen responded to the incident twice, during a press conference in Finland and in Germany, saying that her dismissal came entirely as a shock to her, given that she had not been notified before the letter was given to her. She felt that the personal attacks on her husband were unwarranted, and that playing the issue out in public was “senselessly cruel”. She expressed these feelings through her own open letter, which was published on her personal website, and through various TV, magazine, and newspaper interviews.

Since then, Turunen has focused on her solo career, however she is still often performing old Nightwish songs on live concerts.

Hiatus and new frontwoman

, at Springfield, USA, in October 15, 2007.

In September 2006, the band entered the studio to record their sixth studio album, entitled "Dark Passion Play". In order to find a replacement for Turunen as the female vocalist of the band, on March 17, 2006 the band allowed vocalists interested for the position to send in demo tapes as an audition for the spot. During this time, speculation began to emerge about who would eventually be chosen. In April 2007, the heavy metal magazine Terrorizer as an April Fools joke reported that Sarah Brightman would be the new vocalist. In response to this and other rumors, the band stated on their website that fans should not believe any source other than the band itself for information regarding the new vocalist.
, France, in April 6, 2008.
On September 22, 2007, the band hosted a secret concert at Rock Café in Tallinn, Estonia, disguising itself as a Nightwish cover band called “Nachtwasser”. Their first official concert with the new singer was in Tel Aviv, Israel on October 6, 2007. The Dark Passion Play tour thus started, visiting the United States, Canada, most of Europe, Asia, and Australia.

The third single of the album was "Erämaan Viimeinen", a previously unreleased vocal version of the instrumental song "Last of the Wilds”". It was released in Finland only on December 5, 2007. On this song, Jonsu of the Finnish pop pop music /rock rock music band Indica Indica (Finnish band) performs the Finnish vocals. Within a week after the release, the fifth single was announced to be "The Islander The Islander (song) ". "The Islander" single features an orchestral version of the epic ballad "Meadows of Heaven" and also includes an instrumental version of "Escapist" and a new edit version of "The Islander" itself. It was released over a month after the release of its music video, shot in late 2007 in Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland Lapland (Finland) . Holopainen described the video as "the Lapp wilderness meets the surrealism of Salvador Dalí". He also said that the lyrics for once go hand in hand with the video's storyline. Except for the band, the video shows actor Hannu Vuorinen in the role of the old sailor, and features guest musician Troy Donockley in a bagpipe solo.

On December 13, 2007, Nightwish opened an official account on YouTube, linked to their official website. On this, they've uploaded tens of live filmings from their concerts.

The Dark Passion Play tour turned out to be Nightwish's longest tour yet, lasting from the fall of 2007 to September 2009 when it ended with a concert in Hartwall Arena, Helsinki with the band Apocalyptica. For trivia, Nightwish' only other concert in Hartwall Arena was in 2005 when they ended their Once Once (Nightwish album) world tour. This concert was filmed for the End of an Era DVD, and it was Tarja Turunen's last show with the band..

On March 3, 2008, Nightwish lost by a single vote to the American metal band Kamelot, in the Metal Storm Awards 2007. Both Nightwish and Kamelot were among the nominees for Best Melodic Metal Album of 2007 (Dark Passion Play, and Ghost Opera respectively). They suffered another loss to Kamelot in the category for Best Music Video, their nominated video being for the song “Amaranth”. They, however won Biggest Surprise of 2007.
However, they received the German Echo (music award) for the “Best International Group” in 2008. Other nominees were Kaiser Chiefs, Within Temptation, Foo Fighters and Marilyn Manson.

In October, the album was followed by a photobook, entitled Dark Passion Gallery, with photos by Finnish photographer Ville Akseli Juurikkala and with captions by the band members, as well as a foreword by Holopainen. In November, the band won in the Best Finnish Act category at the MTV Europe Music Awards and received a nomination in the Europe's Favourite Act category.

On March 6, 2009,, Nightwish released a new live MCD/DVD entitled Made in Hong Kong (And in Various Other Places). The eight live tracks were recorded during the "Dark Passion Play World Tour" in 2007-2008, and the album also includes one b-side from the "Bye Bye Beautiful" single, one b-side from the "Amaranth Amaranth (song) " single, a previously unreleased demo version of "Cadence of Her Last Breath", and a bonus-DVD with three music videos as well as a 37 minute documentary called "Back in the Day is Now".

Future projects

In the June 2009 edition of the Finnish magazine, Soundi, Holopainen stated he had started work on the new album. In October 2009, rumors about the new album's name were going around with the title Wind Embraced, but Olzon listed the rumours as "not true"I can't reveal to you anymore but there is going to be a big twist so to say, on the next album."
On the 21st of October 2009 Nightwish announced that they will be recording a cover of the song "Hilma ja Onni" by singer/songwriter Jaakko Teppo as part of a tribute release to the artist. Their version will appear on the album Pörsänmäen Sanomat - Tribuutti Jaakko Tepolle along with other tributes to the singer/songwriter.
In December 15 of 2009, Jarmo Lautamäki (Member of Nightwish crew) confirmed on his facebook page that Nyman finally gave his permission to the band to release the cover of the song "The Heart Asks Pleasure First". Dates and details of the release are unknown.

On the 1st of February 2010, Anette Olzon stated on her blog that Tuomas has 9 songs ready for the new album. She also stated that Nightwish will be meeting in the summer to make a demo, and fans should not expect anything any earlier than fall of 2011.
Lyrical themes

story The Pit and the Pendulum.

In the beginning, Holopainen mainly wrote on mythological Mythology and fantasy themes, and often used references to "metaphysics and nature". For example, the song "Elvenpath" is about fantasy in general with references to traditional stories as well as Tolkien J.R.R. Tolkien . Through the years the lyrics became more personal. On Wishmaster, the title track is still a "tribute to Tolkien and all the other fantasy writers", and "FantasMic FantasMic (song) " is a direct tribute to Walt Disney and Disney animated films, which Holopainen has said are among his influences. However, with "Dead Boy's Poem", the album also includes a very emotional piece, which Holopainen calls his "legacy and [...] testament for the whole world. [...] I wanted to do this song before I die, because I wanted to tell the whole world what I think and feel. It expresses a lot of myself." Other personal songs on the album are "Come Cover Me", a love song, and "She is My Sin", which is about ***ual desire and lust. "The Kinslayer", also found on the Wishmaster album, is written about the Columbine High School massacre which occurred on April 20, 1999, and is "In memory of the Redeemers".

"10th Man Down" from Over the Hills and Far Away Over the Hills and Far Away (album) is about civil war and the lyrics are written from a soldier's perspective.

The personal development became even more obvious on the Wishmaster-successor Century Child. Turunen thinks that the lyrics do not anymore deal "with the dreamland we were used to, but with the brutal reality of life."Tom Klaner: [386 NIGHTWISH] at (German, viewed on August 3, 2007) "Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan" (eng. "Death Makes an Artist") from the Once album describes the experience of loss and its impact on art, "Nemo Nemo (song) " deals with the feeling of being lost.

In the opposite, "Creek Mary's Blood" is based on Dee Brown Dee Brown (writer) 's story of the same name, which presents the situation of Native Americans Native Americans in the United States at the end of the 19th century. Other songs also contain many references to authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman and Stephen King, but the album also features a return to the fantasy theme with songs such as "Sahara", "Whoever Brings the Night" and "7 Days to the Wolves".

The song "7 Days to the Wolves" from Dark Passion Play is loosely based on Stephen King's novel Wolves of the Calla The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla , the fifth book in the Dark Tower series The Dark Tower (series) . The song "The Poet and the Pendulum"'s first section is called The White Lands of Empathica, which is also the fourth part of the seventh book The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower in the Dark Tower series.

Although the lyrics of Nightwish generally are serious with dark meanings, they have also produced several less serious songs, including the bonus track Nightquest, which talks about the band members' (the three original members as well as Nevalainen Jukka Nevalainen ) connection as musicians, and the "quest" of Nightwish.


On their debut album Angels Fall First, songs were written in both the English and Finnish languages, but since then the band has only written songs in English, with the only exceptions being "Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan" from the Once album and the single "Erämaan Viimeinen" (2007), which is a vocal version (with the vocals contributed by Jonsu from Indica Indica (Finnish band) ) of the instrumental "Last of the Wilds". Holopainen thought that he was very uncertain about the lyrics of that song, because he is of the opinion that writing in Finnish is rather hard, and stated "Finnish [could] quickly sound really cheesy." The 2004 song Creek Mary's Blood also featured a poem read in Lakota Lakota language , originally written in English and then translated by guest singer John Two-Hawks.


Tuomas Holopainen, writer of most of the band’s lyrics and musical scores Sheet music , says that he gets most of the inspiration for Nightwish’s songs from film music Film score . Songs like “Beauty of the Beast” (from Century Child), “Ghost Love Score” (from Once Once (Nightwish album) ) and “The Poet and the Pendulum” (from Dark Passion Play) are examples of this influence. Other songs, such as “Bye Bye Beautiful” (from Dark Passion Play), and “Wish I Had an Angel” (from Once) have elements of industrial metal, and some others, like “The Islander” and “Last of the Wilds” (from Dark Passion Play), “Creek Mary's Blood” (from Once), and the Angels Fall First album have elements of folk metal. Holopainen has also said that film music is the music he listens to for leisure. Ex-singer of symphonic metal band Visions of Atlantis, Nicole Bogner, also acknowledged that Nightwish had greatly inspired them for their first album. Sander Gommans of After Forever said that Nightwish “will certainly influence us in creating new songs”. Power metal band Sonata Arctica’s lead singer Tony Kakko has explained how much of an influence Nightwish is to him.

Musical style

through traditional piano, power metal-style and to create a special atmosphere is an important part of Nightwish's original music.

Nightwish performs a blend of symphonic metal, gothic metal and power metal. Their music has been described as "bombastic heavy, symphonic and cinematic, with keyboards and strings creating a gothic atmosphere." While the music of Nightwish is "laced with accessible pop sensibilities," and multi-layered. Critic Chad Bowar notes that the music is "always very melodic with memorable choruses and a lot of hooks."
The usage of a female vocalist has become a sort of trademark, though less so since the outbreak of new female fronted metal bands in the mid-2000s with the po***rization of bands such as Evanescence, Within Temptation, and several gothic metal bands mixing female and male vocals, such as Tristania Tristania (band) , Epica Epica (band) and the early Within Temptation.

Nightwish has also been identified by some critics as a gothic metal act. Bassist and vocalist Marco Hietala describes the band's style as "melodic symphonic gothic metal." but this is not a view shared by all members of the group, including band composer Tuomas Holopainen. Nightwish was perceived to shift from their trademark operatic power metal style for a more "commercial" gothic sound on their albums Century Child and Once Once (Nightwish album) . The music of Nightwish had been "distinguished by the operatic voice" of soprano Tarja Turunen, a "charismatic frontwoman with a powerful voice". Critics observed that her vocals became less operatic with the release of Once. Following the departure of Tarja Turunen from the group, Nightwish left behind the "signature operatic vocals" of their earlier albums, the band has also featured some male vocals on their albums ever since their debut release Angels Fall First. This debut album also included "elements of folk music and ambience" that were discarded on their subsequent album Oceanborn.

Live performances

Having their first concert in hometown Kitee on December 31, 1997, Nightwish has throughout the years grown as a live act, always with the attitude "the more gigs managed in a year, the better". Early in their career, Nightwish gained a bad reputation for not being "metal" enough. "As anyone can see from early photos, our image was pretty far from Rock'n'Roll", drummer Jukka Nevalainen explains their early days. "We all looked like ol' goody-goody nerds!".

As the band budget grew after the fame of Oceanborn and Wishmaster, the live performances had more space and along with better arenas and a wilder crowd, they could also start the using more professional lighting and pyrotechnics, which are now standard for most shows. The band also developed on stage, with wilder metal-like appearances.

When Tarja Turunen still was a member of the band, the band usually played a cover with only Hietala on vocals halfway through the set, while Turunen could rest for about five minutes. Since her dismissal and Anette Olzon's joining, they usually play "The Islander" instead, in which Hietala has the main vocal part and Olzon joins in the end, but they have also played Megadeth's Megadeth "Symphony of Destruction" post Olzon's joining.Nightwish has received eleven awards from both the Emma-gaala Awards Emma-gaala , from thirteen nominations, and one Echo Awards from two nominations. Nightwish has also received 2 nominations from the Metal Hammer Golden God Awards Metal Hammer but has not received an award; Nightwish already won awards from MTV Europe Music Awards and from World Music Awards, and also was nominated for the MTV Video Music Awards in 2004.* Tuomas Holopainen – keyboards, piano, lyrics, studio backing vocals (1996–present)
* Erno "Emppu" Vuorinen Erno Vuorinen - lead guitars Guitar , classical guitar (1996–present), bass bass guitar (1997-1998)
* Marco Hietala – bass bass guitar , classical guitar, vocals (2002–present)
* Jukka Nevalainen – drums Drum kit , percussion Percussion instrument (1997–present)
* Anette Olzon – vocals Singer (2007–present)

Former members

* Tarja Turunen – vocals (1996–2005)
* Sami Vänskä – bass guitar (1998–2001)

Touring musicians

* Samppa Hirvonen – bass guitar (1997–1998)
* Marianna Pellinen – backing vocals (1997–1998)* Angels Fall First (1997)
* Oceanborn (1998)
* Wishmaster Wishmaster (album) (2000)
* Over the Hills and Far Away Over the Hills and Far Away (album) (EP) (2001)
* Century Child (2002)
* Once Once (Nightwish album) (2004)
* Dark Passion Play (2007)


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