Come Cover Me

Nightwish/symphonic metal nerds? This one is for us.

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We’ve been wondering a lot about Floor Jansen becoming Nightwish’s permanent singer – she’s boldly stepped into the breach to do replace Anette Olzon after her departure from the Finnish symphonic metal titans and done a brilliant job of it.  Fans seem to appreciate her and Floor’s vocal range is more than up to the task.  Conversely, she has her own band, ReVamp – which has just rescheduled their second album to Autumn 2013 – and might not want to join such a high-profile band on a permanent basis.

Seems that any decision on Floor becoming the Flying Finns front woman is a little premature – keyboardist/band leader/batty visionary Tuomas Holopainen is keen to just take things steady and leave any major decisions on the vacant singer’s position until 2014 at the earliest.

Now that, fellow nerds, is a poster…

Still, whilst we’re waiting for some news – there’s always the movie to look forward to.

Nightwish, Manchester 05/11/2012 gig review

Nightwish pictured recently or a roguish band of Steampunk bandidos?  Who can say?

I went to see Nightwish last night in Manchester – they were sublime, needless to say.

This is the first time that UK fans have had a chance to see the band since they parted ways with previous singer Anette Olzon, with former After Forever and ReVamp singer Floor Jansen stepping into the proverbial breach and helping the band finish the rest of the dates on their “Imaginaerum” world jaunt.  Some early reports on the US leg of the tour were mixed, but I strongly suspect we can put them down to allowing a new singer to learn a lot of material in a short time period, under pressure, in front of fans with very distinct ideas about how the songs should sound.

The show which Mrs Rolling Eyeballs and I saw last night was fantastic and confirms that we should be very happy if Floor decides to stay with Nightwish for a while – she can certainly handle the more operatic, multi-octave material with original Nightwish singer Tarja Turunen was synonymous with and the more recent albums which Anette sang on hold no problems for Jansen either – she’s neither copying the vocal style of her predecessors or trying too hard to stamp her own identity onto the songs – she’s just singing them quite brilliantly.

Swedish purveyors of industrial/metal/sleaze tunes, Pain, were the opening band and they were…fine, I guess?  The crowd got into them a lot more than I did, and certainly seemed to know more of the songs – I’ve heard their “Shut Your Mouth” on Spotify and it’s a decent tune, but much of their set last night blended into one unholy mush, thanks to one of the more unsympathetic sound mixes that I’ve encountered at a gig.  Singer Peter Tägtgren was, by his own admission, having an off-night too and admitted that he had lost his voice somewhere between Stockholm and Manchester.  A bad day at the office, as they say.

Nightwish, to be fair, didn’t get on any better with the Apollo’s mercurial sound system – a lot of the subtleties and musical texture of their songs were well and truly gobbled up somewhere ‘twixt stage and the circle seating where I was safely ensconced for the evening.  Audio woes didn’t spoil the gig, though, and I was able to enjoy the band in what amounts to an intimate and up-close gig for them (in mainland Europe, Nightwish tend to play festivals, arenas and that size of venue).

My personal highlight was the section with the multi-instrumentalist Troy Donockley“I Want My Tears Back”/”The Islander“/“Nemo”/”Last of the Wilds” – which took the volume down a bit and amounted to an acoustic interlude and amply demonstrated just how versatile this band is and how diverse their sound can be.  They’re nominally a metal band which has a vein of orchestral/soundtrack/score composition underpinning and complementing the massive riffs which are their stock in trade – this is almost certainly why I like them as you never know quite where the next song on an album will go.

Although, “Everything AND the kitchen sink” is a pretty good rule of thumb.

I enjoyed everything about the band’s performance – bassist Marco Hietala‘s gurning faces and eccentric on-stage banter, guitarist Emppu Vuorinen‘s apparent inability to stay still for more than a second, drummer Jukka Nevalainen‘s curious habit of hovering low over his drum skins (almost as though he’s talking to them) before starting a song, band leader Tuomas Holopainen‘s ‘lost in music’ reveries and sneaky quaffing from a bottle of vino between tunes – there’s a lot to love about Nightwish and going to see this film only made me love them more.

They play London tonight (5/11/2012), Birmingham on Tuesday and Glasgow on Wednesday this week.  If you’re near any of those venues in the UK, I highly recommend a night out with Finland’s finest musical export.

 

Dark Passion Play?

 

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Yep, fellow Nightwish fans, this one’s for us.

In a rather unexpected announcement on Monday – which you can read here – the band announced that they were parting company with singer Anette Olzon, who in turn replaced much-loved original singer Tarja Turunen  in 2007.

It’s all a bit out of left field, frankly.  Anette missed a show on the band’s current US tour due to hospitalization, recuperated and then played one last show a day or two later before Monday’s announcement arrived and made me do the proverbial spit take.

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A paranoid side of me was convinced that the Nightwish show that Mrs Rolling Eyeballs and I are going to see in November was going to be cancelled – that hasn’t transpired, as the band have recruited former After Forever and current ReVamp vocalist Floor Jansen to complete the rest of the ‘Imaginaerum‘ tour.

I’m glad that I get to see Nightwish, and I’m sure that Floor is going to be a fantastic guest singer, but I’m sad that I don’t get to see Anette play with the band.  She may not have had Tarja’s insane vocal range, but her voice was distinctly different to a lot of the singers on the symphonic metal scene.

Witness one of my favourite Nightwish songs, “The Islander” – not your soaring, octave-busting kind of song, but certainly one of the songs that I looked forward to perhaps hearing Anette sing live.  C’est la vie – perhaps we’ll get to see her in the UK with whatever project she fronts next?

A lot of fans are eagerly speculating who Nightwish will audition to be their next lead singer – speculation which might yet run and run as I’m fairly certain that the band are taking much of 2013 off to allow keyboard player/founding member/awesome dude Tuomas Holopainen to work on a solo record.

But if they want to get somebody with amazing vocal range, Diabulus In Musica’s Zuberoa Aznárez rocks…

 

 

Tarja – “Act One” artwork online

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Former Nightwish vocalist and High Priestess of Rock drama, Tarja Turunen, has posted the artwork for her upcoming “Act 1” live album and DVD/Blu-Ray – the cover of the HD version is above, because that’s how I roll.  Pretty, isn’t it?

Currently scheduled for an August 24th release, the album comes in 2 CD, 2 DVD and Blu-Ray configurations and has a tracklisting which looks something like this:

Act I CD Track Listing:


CD 1
01. Anteroom Of Death
02. My Little Phoenix
03. Dark Star
04. Naiad
05. Falling Awake
06. I Walk Alone
07. Little Lies
08. Into The Sun (previously unreleased)
09. Nemo (Nightwish)
10. Never Enough (previously unreleased)
11. Still Of The Night (Whitesnake)
12. In For A Kill

CD 2

01. Boy And The Ghost
02. Lost Northern Star
03. Ciaran‘s Well
04. Tired Of Being Alone (written with Schiller)
05. Where Were You Last Night / Heaven Is A Place On Earth / Livin’ On A Prayer
(Medley)
06. Underneath
07. Oasis / The Archive Of Lost Dreams
08. Crimson Deep
09. The Phantom Of The Opera (Andrew Lloyd Webber)
10. Die Alive
11. Until My Last Breath
12. Over The Hills And Far Away (Gary Moore)

Yes, copy and paste is very much my friend.

If you’re expecting there to be slight, collector-baiting differences in track listing between the CD and DVD versions, you’d be correct (the Blu-Ray is the same as the DVD, only shinier and prettier) – got to maximize that geeky fan desire to catch all of those formats.

I will, of course, be picking this up but I’m having a Dickens of a time pre-ordering the record on my online retailer of choice – it’s almost as though the niche pop culture pursuits of nerds don’t mean a serving of Pannukakku to Jeff Bezos’ happy shopping cyber-elves…

The Simple Things Make You Happy…

Hi folks – normal blog service is now resumed.

It’s a long story involving curtailed holidays, pets and places we won’t be staying in again until Heck freezes over.  Ask me again at some point and I’ll give you the real skinny – it’s probably best to give that particular story some much-needed room to breathe.

No sooner had I arrived back from a nice break in a place that the Internet has yet to arrive than I discovered that Swedish Power Metal loons, Sabaton…

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Plus Swiss Pagan/Folk Metal Ragers, Eluveitie 

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…are playing at Sheffield’s Corporation club on the 11th of November this year.  It’s become quite difficult to type as my fingers are forming involuntary horns.

What with Firewind/Leaves’ Eyes, Nightwish, Epica and now Sabaton/Eluveitie on my gig list for the Autumn, it’s getting difficult to see how my gig-going could get any better for the rest of the year.

Anybody want to persuade Within Temptation and Diabulus In Musica that they really need to tour the UK this year?

A Nightwish to remember…

Gloomy, oh-so-serious masters (and mistress) of neo-gothic grimness, Nightwish, here pictured on their annual ‘Happy Super Metal Fun Day’. Possibly.

After some internet ninja action worthy of note, Mrs Rolling Eyeballs successfully scored Nightwish tickets for us today, which means that we’re going to see them in action in Manchester, at the O2 Apollo on Sunday November 4th.

Permit me to now do the Snoopy Dance around the living room at the very prospect of seeing one of my favourite bands live for the first time.

Happily, we’re in the seated section, which means that I can be authentically curmudgeonly in the company of my fellow old rockers rather than mixing it up down the front with people who still have their own teeth and no back pain to speak of.   I look forward to boring you all with more observations and nerding out over Nightwish nearer to the time (by which point, Mrs Rolling Eyeballs will hopefully be familiar with the songs and able to sing along with Anette Olzon – knowing my wife’s lovely voice, she might even have a shot at some of the Tarja era stuff, too…)

New Tarja live record in August – no octave left behind

Whatever, mate, you’re the one with the sword. Quit looking at me!

Erstwhile former Nightwish vocalist and actual, proper diva Tarja Turunen has announced a new live record for release in August – Blabbermouth has more.

She also promises a new solo record next year – following the recent Harus album of traditional Finnish odds and sods – which will delight fans who love to hear her classically trained voice laying waste to the idea that rock bands don’t require technically proficient vocalists.

Are we now past the whole ‘Anette/Tarja’ debate, Nightwish fans, or is that still a thing?  Can’t we have both and enjoy them equally?

Nightwish announce UK tour

My Musketeer goatee is nearly as impressive as Tuomas’ – fact!

So, Finnish Symphonic Awesomeologists Nightwish have confirmed dates for their 2012 UK tour –

Nov 4th: Manchester Apollo
Nov 5th: Brixton Academy
Nov 6th: Birmingham Academy
Nov 7th: Glasgow Academy

And…I guess that I would be going to the Manchester show, if I can possibly hook that up.  Tickets on general sale from next Friday, apparently.

Motivation for me to use some of my driving skills to get me to big old Manchester or an excuse to go on the train as traffic in the ancestral home of Morrissey is not known to be brilliant?

Time to get saving my pennies…

“Imaginaerum” teaser trailer online

This one is purely for the Nightwish fans out there.  Everyone else…well, this won’t take long.

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If you like this band as much as I do, you’ll probably be aware of their film project, inspired by the music on their most recent album Imaginaerum“, which relates the death-bed fever dreams of an ageing composer whose reflections on his life are intermingled with his fantasies and his life’s creative works.

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The song "Slow, Love, Slow" will be in the film if this still is any indicator.

The first teaser trailer for the film is available on YouTube via Nightwish’s channel and looks about as heavily indebted to Terry Gilliam and his brand of emotional, artistic, expansive fantasy as it’s possible to be – which is a recommendation in my book.  I’m getting Fellini, Gilliam, riffs, Marco‘s beard and singer Anette Olzon looking like she’s auditioning for “The Fabulous Baker Boys 2” from this trailer, which make me very intrigued to see more of this film.

Marco Hietala- possessed of one of Rock's best screams...

I doubt that it will make a lick of sense and I wouldn’t have it any other way…