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Nightwish was formed in 1996 by songwriter Tuomas Holopainen and guitarist Emppu Vuorinen in Finland. Holopainen's music style mixes incredible power metal ballads with haunting electric guitar solos and dramatic symphonic orchestrations, all backed up by the stunningly beautiful voices of classically trained opera singer Tarja Turunen and later Anette Olzon.
Nightwish began gaining popularity around the world in 1998 with the release of their 2nd album, Oceanborn, and again in 2000 with the release of Wishmaster. Their popularity began to soar with the 2004 release of their 5th studio album, Once, which included the stellar hit Wish I had an Angel from the Alone in the Dark soundtrack. Once also contains what some believe to be Nightwish's best song (arguably, of course) in Ghost Love Score, a lengthy 10 minute long epic overture featuring seemlessly blended metal, choir, orchestra, and opera all in one song, featuring the London Philharmonic Orchestra (which provided all the orchestrations on the album). A true example of symphonic metal.
Tarja Turunen, better known as Tarja to her fans, split with the group after the release of their 6th album, Once. She has gone on to produce a self-titled solo project with some great results. The band replaced Tarja with new frontwoman Anette Olzon, a Swedish singer and former lead of Alyson Avenue.
With Anette Olzon leading, Nightwish released their 6th and latest studio album, Dark Passion Play, in late 2007. The album opens with the epic title track, Dark Passion Play, which manages to top Ghost Love Score (in my opinion) as a prime example of symphonic metal and Nightwish's best work to date. Weighing in at just shy of 14 minutes, DPP includes everything a symphonic metal fan would want - incredible writing and orchestrations, angelic vocals of Anette Olzon, the incredible guitar work of Emppu Vuorinen, and the haunting backup vocals and bass guitar of Marco Hietala.
The album Dark Passion Play also includes something of an oddity in Nightwish's music with the twin Celtic-tinged songs of The Islander and Last of the Wilds. The Islander, writen and sung by Marko Hietala, revolves around the story of a lighthouse keeper that is ready to join the family he lost long ago in the next life. Last of the Wilds is an instrumental done in the style of Irish folk music mixed with modern metal.
Angels Fall First
Over the Hills and Far Away (EP)
End of an Era (Live DVD and Bonus CD)
Dark Passion Play