Nightwish – Human :II: Nature

2020 (Nuclear Blast)

CD 1
1: Music (7:23)
2: Noise (5:40)
3: Shoemaker (5:19)
4: Harvest (5:14)
5: Pan (5:18)
6: How’s The Heart? (5:02)
7: Procession (5:32)
8: Tribal (3:57)
9: Endlessness (7:12)
CD 2
All The Works Of Nature Which Adorn The World:
1: Vista (4:00)
2: The Blue (3:36)
3: The Green (4:42)
4: Moors (4:44)
5: Aurorae (2:07)
6: Quiet As The Snow (4:05)
7: Anthropocene (incl. Hurrian Hymn To Nikkal) (3:06)
8: Ad Astra (4:42)

The Dutch singer Floor Jansen debuts with the popular Finnish symphonic metal formation Nightwish through the CD “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” in 2015. Followed by a period of extensive touring resulting in the DVD package “Vehicle Of Spirit”. Until then, it is largely lovers of progressive rock and metal who appreciate her qualities. Until the fall of 2019 when she has a nationwide break through thanks to the TV program Beste Zangers where she brilliantly shines weekly. Then, spring 2020, a new Nightwish album is released, “Human :II: Nature”, and then the world lies mercilessly at her feet.

Let’s set things straight: the popularity Floor Jansen has generated with the TV show has had no influence on the integrity of the album. No can do. The music of the album was already written before Beste Zangers 2019 was filmed. By the way, we are talking about a double CD, discs of respectively 50 and 30 minutes. On the first CD, called “Human”, it is Nightwish’s turn to bring out the best in itself together with a choir and an orchestra in nine songs. On the second CD, “Nature”, we hear an ode to the beauty of the earth performed by orchestra and choir with some vocalizations by La Jansen. This piece of work, which bears the name All The Works Of Nature Which Adorn The World, is presented in eight tracks.

Onto the album. First of all, “Human” and immediately you are sucked into the intro of Music by orchestra and choir. This sumptuous opening track swings you back and forth between beautiful moments and catchy metal choruses constantly. The song shows an enormous synergy between the three components (band, orchestra and choir) in which Floor Jansen does unprecedentedly cool things. In the ensuing Noise, Nightwish sounds exactly as they intended, contagious and loud. This is undeniably the most intense song of the Finns, especially the thunderous piece towards the end will make many heads bang.

Despite the fact that the distorted guitar chord is nowhere far away on this disc, there is a healthy variation. For example, Shoemaker contains beautiful moments where the band slows down. Together with the more common pieces and the intriguing ending, where Floor Jansen and the choir are heavenly, it forms a remarkable song. The folky approach of songs such as Harvest and How’s The Heart is also remarkable, all the more so because Troy Donockley’s interpretations on uillean pipes with its lush sound are not common. This Irish bagpipe gives a surprising twist to the album. Donockley plays some guitar and does the lead vocals in Harvest also.

Nightwish varies in dynamics as well. Pan is a fearless Within Temptation-like song with a great atmosphere created by the orchestra, while Procession has a light-footed ambiance with crystal clear vocals. Tribal, on the other hand, is a thunderous exercise with a delicious piece of drums in the ranks and in Endlessness, the last song of this first CD, sung by bassist Marco Hietala, we are presented with melodic, bombastic and monumental delicacies.

Although “Human” is an excellent disc, the second CD of this album is extremely welcome. What a genius find. The 30 minutes of instrumental music that the Pale Blue Orchestra plays together with the Metro Voices and other voices here is so indescribable that any attempt to do so detracts from it, unless your name is Tijl Beckand. Nightwish has delivered a great album with “Human II Nature” that shows a bold mix of metal and classical, a product overflowing from bliss.

Floor Jansen: vocals
Tuomas Holopainen: keyboards
Emppu Vuorinen: guitar
Marco Hietala: bass, vocals, acoustic guitar
Troy Donockley: uilleann pipes, low whistles, bouzouki, bodhran, aerophone, guitar, vocals
Kai Hahto: drums, percussion
Metro Voices
Jenny O’Grady – choir leader
Alexandra Gibson, Alice Fearn, Ann de Renais, Anne Marie Cullum, Caroline Fitzgerald, Claire Henry, Davina Moon, Eleanor Meynell, Heather Cairncross, Helen Brooks, Helen Parker, Jacqueline Barron, Joanna Forbes, Kate Bishop, Mary Carewe, Rachel Weston, Rosemary Forbes Butler, Sarah Ryan, Soophia Foroughi, Andrew Busher, Andrew Playfoot, David Porter Thomas, Gerard O’Beirne, Ian McLarnon, Lawrence Wallington, Lawrence White, Michael Dore, Peter Snipp, Robin Bailey, Sebastian Charlesworth, Tom Pearce
Pale Blue Orchestra
Isobel Griffiths – orchestral contractor
Andy Findon – flute, alt flute
Anna Noakes – flute, piccolo
John Anderson – oboe, cor anglais
Nicholas Bucknall – clarinet
Dave Fuest – clarinet, bass clarinet
Gavin McNaughton – bassoon, contra bassoon
Nigel Black – French horn
Martin Owen – French horn
Philip Eastop – French horn
Andrew Crowley – trumpet
Kate Moore – trumpet
Mike Lovatt – trumpet
Andy Wood – tenor trombone
Ed Tarrant – tenor trombone
Dave Stewart – bass trombone
Owen Slade – tuba
Stephen Henderson – timpani, etnic percussion
Frank Ricotti – orchestral percussion
Gary Kettel – orchestral percussion
Paul Clarvis – etnic percussion
Perry Montague-Mason – violin
Emlyn Singleton – violin
Chris Tombling – violin
John Bradbury – violin
Emil Chakalov – violin
Patrick Kiernan – violin
Mark Berrow – violin
Warren Zielinski – violin
Rita Manning – violin
John Mills – violin
Chris Tombling – violin
John Bradbury – violin
Steve Morris – violin
Pete Hanson – violin
Clio Gould – violin
Dai Emanuel – violin
Daniel Bhattacharya – violin
Peter Lale – violin
Andy Parker – viola
Julia Knight – viola
Kate Musker – viola
Helen Kamminga – viola
Caroline Dale – cello
Martin Loveday – cello
Frank Schaefer – cello
Jonathan Williams – cello
Tim Gill – cello
Chris Worsey – cello
Chris Laurence – double bass
Steve Mair – double bass
Stacey Watton – double bass
Skaila Kanga – harp
Dirk Campbell – duduk, etnic horn instruments

© Dick van der Heijde 2022