Nightwish: Century Child

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Nightwish: Century Child
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Nightwish: Century Child
Operatic Power Metal, Symphonic Power Metal
Century Media Records, Spinefarm Records
June 24th, 2002
Release length: 50:15
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Nightwish is quickly becoming a staple act in the movement of molding a Metal style around symphonic and orchestral back drops to create a beautiful atmosphere to accompany well composed albums. Century Child is no different an album then their past full-length releases, and is still one of the group’s finer attempts to this day. Blending some heavy hitting orchestral Power Metal tracks, as well as some slower paced ballads with Symphonic influences that sometimes while not be as dramatic as some would want, this effort really does it’s job well of blurring the lines between both Metal and Opera, a unity that is quickly becoming a well embraced norm for the Power Metal genre.

Given the band’s past and the quickly growing showcase of talent, it was almost guaranteed that Nightwish would belt out an album like this one. Century Child is an astounding piece, even if some of the material on here does feel a little lax in comparison to what they have the potential to accomplish. There’s no denying there are plenty of heavy songs on here that will make you want to sing along while pounding your fists in the air, such as the openning powerhouse “Bless the Child,” which sets the tone for this release well and seems to carry onto the next few tracks, coming off almost as a conceptual piece by the time “Dead to the World” kicks in. This is a beautiful masterpiece that can move the listener on the first go with it’s superb vocal work against a powerful musical landscape and dark, yet majestic lyrics. But it’s shortly after here that the music starts to become a little more bland.

“Forever Yours” acts more as the ballad for the album, showing enough ambition to be something special. The problem here is that it feels restrained, almost as if the band couldn’t acknowledge their talent through either not wanting to push themselves, or perhaps even financial issues. Had they worked harder on the symphonic aspect instead of simply relying on a few moments that establish the atmosphere through what seem to be keyboards or chimes, this song could have been something to blow the minds of the listener. Aside that hiccup, you have “Ocean Soul” and “Feel For You.” These seem to not have been the central focus of the band, showing unrecognized potential to be excellent tracks, whether through the guitar work, such as on the first, or the duet vocals in the latter.

Century Child does make up for those few tracks with “Phantom of the Opera” and “Beauty of the Beast.” Yes, “Phantom of the Opera” is a cover of the Rodgers and Hammerstein song from the opera of the same name. It’s a very well composed cover that is not too far from the original version you would expect to witness on Broadway. The album closes with “Beauty of the Beast,” which is composed in three parts. These passages close out the album well with their slower paced symphonic material. The restrained feel you would get actually works well this time due to moments where they build up to powerful passages.

With the filler tracks aside, Century Child really does show the promise and talent the band has. This beautiful release is full of entertaining music that is either powerful and hard hitting, or beautiful and moving. It’s clear that Nightwish have a bit of a new musical direction with this release, and hopefully the group can look at some of the restrictions that fell into place with a few of these tracks and try to expand on it more to create a truly epic and moving masterpiece that their listeners deserve, and that they simply need to release. In the mean time, this is as good an album as any to jump in with if you have not heard this act.

01. Bless the Child – 6:12
02. End of all Hope – 3:55
03. Dead to the World – 4:20
04. Ever Dream – 4:44
05. Slaying the Dreamer – 4:32
06. Forever Yours – 3:50
07. Ocean Soul – 4:15
08. Feel for You – 3:55
09. The Phantom of the Opera – 4:10
10. Beauty of the Beast: Long Lost Love/One More Night to Live/Christabel – 10:22
Overall Score: 7/10


Physical review copy of this release provided by personal funds.