Albums In My Collection
– Angels Fall First
– Century Child
– Dark Passion Play
– End Of The Era
– Endless Forms Most Beautiful
One of the best female-fronted bands, not only in this genre/style, but of all time…although these days the females seem to change quite often. Nevertheless, each of the gals who has fronted this band has better than average talent and is each, in her own right, unique and instantly identifiable.
Tarja Turunen, the first and the longest reigning (thus far) of the three vocalists, is perhaps–at least to me–the singer who best “fits” the overall Nightwish sound and “image.” Not only did she contribute her unique style to the band’s output for the first ten years of their existence, but she is probably the singer who most inspired the “ultimate sound” that so many other bands adopting a similar style have most attempted to duplicate through the years. The band undoubtedly hit their most successful period with Tarja fronting, and will most likely (should they ever break up) be the singer most “known” within the band.
Tarja’s replacement for two albums (one damned good–Dark Passion Play–and the other release, considered way below average–Imaginaerum) was Anette Olson. Thankfully or horribly (depending on which Nightwish fan you ask) she did not attempt to duplicate Tarja’s style, but contributed her own brand of vocals that, for better or worse, placed another “identifiable stamp” on the band. In my opinion, Anette’s contribution to Nighwish was generally successful, and I liked much of what she did. Certainly the girl has talent galore, but the question remains as to whether she was actually “appropriate” for a band of this style since her vocals might have been better suited for a band with a more “pop” direction. Nevertheless, Anette did her job, and probably faced one of the biggest fan-backlashes in music history because some Tarja fans can get quite venomous. Be that as it may, Anette recently decided to leave the band (or was she pushed out?…we may never know the full truth). I wish her luck, and she deserves success in her own right.
And now, another singer has stepped in to the fill the front-girl shoes, albeit temporarily…Floor Jansen, formerly of After Forever (an excellent act!) and currently with ReVamp (another excellent act!). Anyway, Floor is one of my FAVORITE female vocalists, her style unique and her spot-on, robust delivery nothing short of spine-tingling. I must say, I’m seriously torn between the idea of Floor becoming the permanent replacement for Anette. Initially, when I learned that Tarja had left the band back in 2006, I immediately wished for Floor to become her replacement. Her voice is stellar yet different, but not too different from Tarja’s that the change in singers would be too jarring for longtime fans of the band. She was (to me) the OBVIOUS replacement, and for all I know, she might have been offered the opportunity. But the timing of Tarja’s departure from Nightwish (at their high-water mark) and Floor’s non-availability proved wretchedly bad, with After Forever still kicking ass (also producing their high-water mark album) and not breaking up until just after Nighwish had already selected Anette. And now, with ReVamp still an active band (from whom I’ve been patiently awaiting another album, damn it) I’m not sure how I feel about Floor joining Nightwish on a permanent basis. She definitely “fits” the style of the music, and I can picture her successfully contributing to some more powerful albums, but what would happen to ReVamp should this occur? Who knows, which is the reason for my floundering.
Regardless, Floor is a terrific (temporary) addition to the band, and should Nightwish eventually ask her to join them, I will (more likely than not) welcome her with open and enthusiastic arms. (An update to my original overview, which was written several years ago: Nightwish has indeed roped Floor into joining them as their new vocalist and have released their first album with her at the helm, Endless Forms Most Beautiful.)
The bottom line, though, whether you’re a fan of Tarja’s, Anette’s, or Floor’s, is that Nightwish has set a high standard for Female-Fronted Symphonic Metal, has inspired hundreds if not thousands of “wannabe” bands, and has generated album after album of high-quality material. If you haven’t checked them out in the past, do so now…before they change singers yet again…