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Review of the Album Oceanborn by the Finnish Power Metal Band Nightwish

Updated on April 1, 2023
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Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

An Alternate Album Cover for Oceanborn


The Album Oceanborn Has a Definite Feel of the Band Stratovarius in it

It is now 22 years since the release of Finnish band Nightwish’s second studio album Oceanborn. The first song Stargazers gives longtime heavy metal fans the indication that they were influenced by the band Stratovarius. In my review of the album Angels Fall First, you got an introduction to the band members that played on the album so the lineup for this one is the same. However, Tarja Turunen is no longer with the band due to the difficulties that the band had in working with her. I think it is important to recognize the talent of this band as the soothing nature of Tarja’s vocals can serve as a sort of coping mechanism for some of us.

A Brief Review of the Album Oceanborn As of the First Writing

Devil & the Deep Dark Ocean has guest vocals by former Finntroll vocalist Tapio Wilska. Oceanborn has a more power metal feel to it as the riffs are more powerful and heavy compared to their debut album. The famous song Sacrament of Wilderness tells the story of an angel traveling through the snow as a hunter wants to go in the woods to hunt and learn about the nature and mountains that are surrounding him or her. Passion and the Opera sees Tarja take her vocal talents up a notch as she does these beautiful operatic chants as the drumming in this song especially shows the Stratovarius. Swanheart is a song that advocates for more love in this world as you can her the piano playing. THIS is what a power metal band should do not only to make themselves more diverse musically but to also give fans a reason to listen to the beauty of the music and see that there is potential for spreading more love through the world. A ballad song such as Years Go By is beautiful but this kind of ballad takes it one step further. We should want for there to be more love in this world! Moondance is a new-age inspired instrumental song. The Riddler is a song that sounds like something that Finnish Gothic metal band For My Pain would write later on. Sometimes we question what the point of life is as we are born and then we die. The song Gethsemane has a definite religious overtone to it as the call is for GOD’s will be done on this Earth is the opening message. As Easter approaches, the woman says that the Lord weeps with her. The song sounds like a better progressive version of the type of songs that American band Kamelot wrote back in 1995. The Pharaoh Sails to Orion has a passage from Exodus as the keyboard play starts and the atmospheric feel is in this song.

Further Analysis of the Song Moondance

Let’s go back to the song Moondance and analyze it a bit further. After the initial keyboard play, the song turns into a symphonic style instrumental song as the keyboards set the tone for what is also a new age style song. I hear touches of Skylark mixed power metal style in here but in my opinion, Nightwish is a better band.


More Perspective On the Album Oceanborn

Looking back at the album Oceanborn, it is an album that has the feel of Stratovarius as was mentioned earlier along with a touch of Yngwie Malmsteen in the mix which is present in the first song Stargazers. Lyrically, Oceanborn has fantasy based lyrics along with a more complex use of the English language.

When Tuomas Holopainen spoke to the British magazine Kerrang! He really described what was put into making the album Oceanborn. He explained that the band got very ambitious after the album Angels Fall First that was never meant to be released as a full proper album. Holopainen elaborated on Oceanborn saying that “it’s a pretty stuffed album but I also think it’s one of our best because you can hear the excitement of trying all these new things.”[1]

[1] Nick Ruskell, "Treasure Chest. An Ultimate Portrait of a Life in Rock. Tuomas Holopainen,” Kerrang! August 16, 2008, Bauer Media Group, p.54.

Final Thoughts About the Album Oceanborn

As the album comes to a close, the waves can be heard washing on the shore and the new age style song called Walking in the Air ends what is otherwise a very good symphonic power metal album and it is better than the album Angels Fall First. The song is about that supernatural ability to fly through the air across the world past villages, mountains, and lakes.


Ruskell, Nick. “Treasure Chest: An Ultimate Portrait of a Life in Rock. Tuomas Holpainen.” Kerrang! Bauer Media Group, p.54. August 16, 2008.

The Song Called "Moondance"

Rate the album Oceanborn

5 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of Nightwish Oceanborn

© 2018 Ara Vahanian


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