Nightwish, Sabaton, Delain | Concord Music Hall | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Sat., April 18, 6:45 p.m. 2015
Price: sold out
This beloved Finnish symphonic- metal band have historically had a bit of a problem with vocalists: they’ve had several good ones, but they’ve also had trouble holding on to any of them. Original singer Tarja Turunen took a lot of hearts with her when she was dismissed in 2005, and her successor, Anette Olzon, had an uphill battle winning them back with 2007’s Dark Passion Play (a two-year-long tour should have been enough to prove her worth). Still, that album and 2010’s Imaginaerum—which was later developed into a fantasy film—aren’t among Nightwish’s best-loved works, and in 2012 Olzon too was cut loose. Their eighth album, the new Endless Forms Most Beautiful, is their first with new vocalist Floor Jansen (late of After Forever and ReVamp). It’s also their first without founding drummer Jukka Nevalainen, who was forced to leave the band due to severe insomnia (Wintersun’s Kai Hahto replaced him on the album). Endless Forms is a bit of a zigzag for the band, beginning with a title that was born of a particularly rapturous passage by Charles Darwin; biologist, geneticist, and atheist gadfly Richard Dawkins contributes a pair of spoken-word passages, one of them contained within the meandering five-part 24-minute track “The Greatest Show on Earth.” Despite its sprawl, the album feels more restrained than its predecessors, and therefore more focused and disciplined—perhaps a new singer and a new set of lyrical themes (nature, ecology, beauty in presence) gave them a shot in the arm. “Weak Fantasy” and “Yours Is an Empty Hope” bring a rousing heaviness, and even a ballad like “Elan” seems reasonably well-earned. “Shudder Before the Beautiful” might be my favorite album opener from them ever. Nightwish still feel like they’ve not quite lived up to their potential, but Endless Forms is a great case for never giving up. —Monica Kendrick
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