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The Top 10 Best Nightwish Songs

Updated on July 24, 2012
A picture of the band taken in 2005. (Left to right: Marco, Tuomas, Tarja, Jukka, and Emppu)
A picture of the band taken in 2005. (Left to right: Marco, Tuomas, Tarja, Jukka, and Emppu) | Source

The band Nightwish is, surprisingly, one of my all time favorites. I absolutely adore their first three albums, and enjoy a good bit of their other work too. I created this list because I wanted to highlight some of their greatest achievements in songwriting. These are, what I consider to be, the best songs that they have created. This was somewhat difficult to do, because I dearly love many Nightwish songs. Nevertheless, I have selected 10 songs that I cannot get enough of (I’ll list some honorable mentions too, as I usually do with this type of thing). I hope that this hub will be helpful to newer Nightwish fans, and interesting to seasoned listeners. Enjoy!

The song "Tutankhamen".

10. “Tutankhamen” (From Angels Fall First, 1997)

Believe it or not, “Tutankhamen” was the first Nightwish song I ever heard. Because of this, it gets 10th place for mainly nostalgic reasons. Being on their first album, it’s one of the rawest and heaviest songs that the band has ever put forth. This song is quite good for those metalheads who love Egyptian sounding melodies- it’s full of them. There are many good riffs towards the end, as well as a decent guitar solo. “Tutankhamen” is also one of those songs that is criminally underrated, even for the album that it’s on. This is a sad thing, as it really deserves its place as one of Nightwish’s best.

The song "Gethsemane".

9. “Gethsemane” (From Oceanborn, 1998)

It’s no secret that Oceanborn is my absolute favorite Nightwish album. “Gethsemane” is one of the many reasons for this. It’s a beautiful song, and it shows off how the band can create such enchanting melodies. In fact, this is one of their most melodically driven songs. For Nightwish, that’s saying quite a bit. Containing a great verse and chorus, “Gethsemane” is surprisingly catchy and easy to listen to. Also notable are the brief instrumental sections; the keys, flutes, and guitar solos are all excellent. The vocals are haunting. “Gethsemane” is a highly recommended, as it’s a great example of what this band is capable of.

The song "Astral Romance".

8. “Astral Romance” (From Angels Fall First, 1997)

The second song on this list from their debut, “Astral Romance”, is very representative of the early Nightwish sound. There is hardly anything reminiscent of power metal or symphonic metal in this particular track, and that makes it all the more enjoyable. It’s also one of the most difficult Nightwish songs to immediately get into; it took a few listens before I really fell in love with this track. The male vocals could have been better, but the ultra-heavy guitars and well executed female vocals make up for it. Speaking of heavy guitars, “Astral Romance” is probably the heaviest Nightwish song- the riffing just before the vocals come in is very well crafted. Forget “Slaying the Dreamer” and “Wish I had an Angel”, this is much more intense. Finally, “Astral Romance” is somewhat of a slow and doomy song… something very different from the usual Nightwish formula.

The song "Sacrament of Wilderness".

7. “Sacrament of Wilderness” (From Oceanborn, 1998)

“Sacrament of Wilderness” is one of the more popular early Nightwish songs; there was even a video made for it. Pretty much everything about this song is great. Notable are the dueling guitars and keys, the triumphant chorus, and the instrumental display right before the third verse. The song is built upon a great guitar/keyboard riff, but contrasts it with a less intricate verse riff- very classy, in my honest opinion. The vocals are great as always, and the operatic chorus really adds to the epic feel of the track. This song, in particular, is really great for newer fans of the band. It kind of sums up what the phenomenal Oceanborn album is like.

The song "Devil & the Deep Dark Ocean".

6. “Devil & the Deep Dark Ocean” (From Oceanborn, 1998)

There aren’t really enough words to describe “Devil & the Deep Dark Ocean”. It’s one of the band’s heaviest, most complex, darkest, most dramatic, most guitar driven, and most beautiful songs. Structurally challenging, it crams an album’s worth of emotions into a mere 4 minutes and 46 seconds- all seamlessly done. Every performer shines on this song. The guitars play an integral role, as well as the keys and vocals. There are both harsh (sort of) and clean vocals featured, which adds to the dramatic feel of the song. Many changes are shown as the song progresses, and they’re actually quite impressive. Overall it’s really one of the band’s best songs, and one of the best from Oceanborn. Like “Sacrament of Wilderness”, it effectively represents the whole album.

The song "Stargazers".

5. “Stargazers” (From Oceanborn, 1998)

I had a really difficult time deciding where this song should go, but “Stargazers” ended up opening my top 5 Nightwish songs. A favorite from the second I heard it, “Stargazers” is a majestic piece. The guitar leads are very nice, and the riffs in the middle of the song are incredible as well. The keys at the beginning are a bit cheesy, but it’s easy to overlook when presented with the rest of the song. Additionally, the chorus is one of the best Nightwish have ever done. However, my favorite part of the song is just after the second chorus (2:17). It makes me smile every time. This is another one that’s recommended to newer Nightwish fans. It’s fast and fun and similar to bands like Stratovarius and Sonata Arctica.

The song "The Pharaoh Sails to Orion".

4. “The Pharaoh Sails to Orion” (From Oceanborn, 1998)

Of all the songs on this list, “The Pharaoh Sails to Orion” is the one that I did not come to like a lot until I had already become a real fan of the band. Initially, I really hated the piano riff which serves as one of the only repeating parts of the song. Even today, I had a hard time putting this ahead of the two previous songs- which I liked a lot more when I was first getting into the band. However, after listening to this song a lot more, I realized that it was genuinely one of the best that they had every put forth. Every aspect of the song is flawlessly executed. It is one of their most complex songs and one of their most thought provoking (musically, not lyrically). The chorus is amazing, as well as the epic ending of the song. I would highly recommend “The Pharaoh Sails to Orion” to anyone who is into metal music. It’s similar to power metal, but the keys are less neoclassical and the guitars are a bit less melodic.

The song "FantasMic".

3. “FantasMic” (From Wishmaster, 2000)

The only song I’ve included from the band’s third album (the highly enjoyable Wishmaster), “FantasMic” is just ridiculously awesome. It’s not as complex as some of the others I’ve mentioned, but it makes up for that in catchiness. From start to finish, this is really a track to sing along to (and that’s saying something, since it’s a whopping 8 minutes long). “FantasMic” also contains some of the very best Nightwish guitar riffs. Nightwish is not usually a band I think of when I think of great metal riffs, but this song has some that can compete with the very best metal bands. It also changes a few times throughout, which is always a good thing. This is a good one for newbies to the band, as it’s infectiously catchy without sacrificing the metal element of the song.

The song "Elvenpath".

2. “Elvenpath” (From Angels Fall First, 1997)

When I think of awesome Nightwish songs, “Elvenpath” is always one of the first songs to come to mind. It’s easily the fastest song from Angels Fall First, and it’s really the best as well. I’ve said this about so many songs already, but every element of “Elvenpath” is incredible. The guitars are quite heavy, the vocals are raw and youthful sounding (but still well performed), and the drums are very memorable. It’s also surprisingly catchy, and one of my first favorite Nightwish songs. I particularly love the singing at 3:25, and the guitar solo at the end. It’s one of my favorite Nightwish guitar solos, as it really lifts the song to a higher level without destroying the mood that the rest of the song creates.

The song "Passion and the Opera".

1. “Passion and the Opera” (From Oceanborn, 1998)

I think that this #1 choice might surprise some people, including myself. “Passion and the Opera” is not really one of the more popular Nightwish songs, even though it was a promo single for Oceanborn. Despite all of this, “Passion and the Opera” is an amazing song. It was the first song from the band that really grabbed me. The melodies are beautiful as well as haunting and, even though the song follows a recognizable structure, there are subtle undertones that make it rather complex. It’s one of their heaviest, and also features the best vocal performance on any Nightwish song. I like the instrumental/operatic part that consumes the second half of the song- it was hard for me to swallow this portion of the song at first, but I ended up really liking it. However, nothing beats the opening riff combined with the verse and chorus. These were what drew me to the song on first listen, and they are still amazing. It’s a unique experience from start to finish.

Which honorable mention deserved to be on the list the most?

See results

Well, that wraps it up. I hope that anyone reading this found it either interesting or helpful. I certainly had a good time writing it, and revisiting these songs. As promised at the beginning of this hub, I’m going to leave a list of some honorable mentions. They are as follows:

-“Crownless” (VERY honorable mention, great and criminally underrated)

- “Wanderlust”



-“Beauty and the Beast”

-“Come Cover Me”

-“Bare Grace Misery”

-“10th Man Down”

-“The Riddler”

-“Deep Silent Complete”

Thanks for reading and be sure to vote in the two polls I've made! Comment and tell me what you think about the list!

Which of my picks do you like the most?

See results


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    • MarketingBen profile image

      Ben Oliver 

      5 years ago from Chicago

      Nightwish are the best! Passion and the Opera was their first song I've heard and it was love from first sight!!

    • profile image

      Stuart W 

      5 years ago

      As a more recent convert to Nightwish who started with Imaginaerum and worked backwards, the Tarja/Annette/Floor thing doesn't really bother me. Nor does the band's genre-shifting, probably because I like all kinds of rock and pop. However, it's good to see that someone else really appreciates the two Tapio Wilska songs from Oceanborn, which some fans seem to positively dislike, but for me are the two obvious standouts from the album, and well described by the author here.

    • MidwinterMagic profile image


      5 years ago

      I know this is an old post, but I can't help but comment. I love your choices and there isn't a single one I disagree with. Not to say my list is in the same exact order, but pretty close!! It's so refreshing to see someone with great taste in NW songs. I couldn't agree more that their first three albums were their best. For the record, my top 10 would be:

      Honorable mention: Crownless

      10. Passion And The Opera

      9. Wanderlust

      8. Gethsemane

      7. Astral Romance

      6. Tutankhamen

      5. The Riddler

      4. The Pharaoh Sails To Orion

      3. Sacrament Of Wilderness

      2. Stargazers

      1. Elvenpath

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Nightwish has always been my favourite band. Because they have a unique sound. There are similar symphonic metal bands and they all sound the same. But Nightwish was always different and I love their stuff! I have to admit that I liked the old era more. I liked Anette too but Tarja was my favourite. Sadly, I don't like Floor at all.

    • World Earth profile image

      Brian OldWolf 

      7 years ago from Troon

      What's not to like. I saw them live with Anette Olzon but now they have Floor Jansen who is brilliant, hope she stays. PS you forgot Ghost Love Score as No1 in the top ten !!!!

    • TheHeavyReview profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thanks for the comment Darkmetaly! I'm glad you liked it They do have an abundance of great songs, it's hard to make a top ten because 90% of their stuff is awesome.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      love the list I actually like both the old stuff by Nightwish and the new stuff i don't know if I can pick a favorite song they have so many good songs.

    • TheHeavyReview profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thanks for the comment, NightwishFan! I love Nightwish, they're also one of my favorites. I personally don't really care for their newest (it actually has very little to do with the singer) simply because the band seems to be more focused on the symphonic elements than on the metal elements. But for those who really love that orchestra in the metal music, Imaginaerum is great.

      Their sound is really unique, indeed!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Elvenpath!! Been a fan of NW as long as i can remember. Still my fav band. I highly agree i never really digged anything past Tarja. But their latest album really is not all that bad.

      Their sound is just simply unique and im proud to rep them when someone asks my fav band

    • TheHeavyReview profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thanks for the comment, ChristyWrites! Here in the U.S., they aren't very popular either- I've never met anyone in real life who knows them. Glad I could introduce you to some great music!

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 

      8 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I live in Canada and had not heard of this band before. What a unique sound they have. Thanks for introducing me to this band.

    • TheHeavyReview profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thanks for the comment, mhatter99! I'm glad you liked it, they are a great band. :)

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Ah memories... thanks

    • TheHeavyReview profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thanks for the comment Debbie! I love "Stargazers" so much; the chorus... just chilling! I had a hard time putting it at only #5. :)

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 

      8 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      Stargazers love it


    • TheHeavyReview profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thanks for the comment, jacqui2011! I'm glad I could share some great music! They really are a very good band!

    • jacqui2011 profile image


      8 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      My partner would love Nightwish. We live in the UK and I haven't heard of them before. I listened to their tracks and this music would appeal to him. I have bookmarked to let him hear. Thanks for sharing with us.

    • TheHeavyReview profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thanks for the comment Georgie! I haven't gotten into anything without Tarja either, far too symphonic and poppy for my tastes. I prefer their earlier style, where they were more of a power metal band. I honestly really disliked their latest album. "Nemo" was another song that got me into Nightwish when I first listened to them; I know it's one of their most popular songs so it does deserve to be considered one of their best.

    • Georgie Lowery profile image

      GH Price 

      8 years ago from North Florida

      Nightwish are awesome. I'll admit I haven't gotten in to anything they've done post-Tarja, though. I loved your list. I'd add Nemo, maybe, just because I love the way the song sounds.

      Great Hub! :)


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