Nightwish demo (1996)Edit

Based on the musical experimentations of Holopainen, the original band concept was to create acoustic music.[5] The band featured only keyboards, acoustic guitars, and the classical vocals of Turunen. The three musicians recorded their self-titled acoustic demo in the winter of 1996. The name “Nightwish” was derived from the first song the band recorded together, and the first demo also included early versions of “The Forever Moments” and “Etiäinen”.

After recording the Nightwish demo, Holopainen decided that Turunen’s operatic voice was too powerful for an acoustic band, and decided to add in heavy metal elements, including electric guitars and drums.[5]

Angels Fall First (1997)Edit

Main article: Angels Fall First In early 1997, following the release of the Nightwish demo, Jukka “Julius” Nevalainen joined the band, and acoustic guitar was replaced with electric guitar. The addition of heavy metal elements to the band's existing experimental style gave the band an unique sound, forming the core of the Nightwish sound.

The band entered the studio in April 1997 to record seven songs for their second demo, entitled Angels Fall First. As a precursor to their debut full length album of the same name, the demo made its way to the Finnish record label Spinefarm Records in May 1997. The label signed Nightwish to a two album deal, and the band returned to the studio to re-record songs from their second demo. The full length album Angels Fall First was released internationally in November 1997 and reached number 31 on the Finnish album charts, with the single “The Carpenter” reaching number 3 on the Finnish singles chart. “The Carpenter” single was released as a split with label mates Children of Bodom and Thy Serpent.

Angels Fall First is one of the two albums which features keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen's vocals, appearing on four of the album's eleven tracks, alongside vocalist Tarja Turunen.

Critical reception of Angels Fall First was mixed, with Allmusic rating the album 2 out of 5 stars, and The Metal Observer stating that Nightwish’s debut album “paled drastically in comparison to their later work".

In December 1997, after over a year of existence, Nightwish made their live debut in their hometown Kitee, Finland. During the winter of 1997 and 1998, the band performed only seven times, due to Nevalainen and Vuorinen’s obligatory Finnish military service, and Turunen finishing her schooling.

Oceanborn (1998–1999)Edit

Sacrament of Wilderness, Nightwish’s breakout single garnered the band its first success outside of Finland. Problems listening to the file? See media help.Following a string of live shows in Finland, the band filmed their first video clip for “The Carpenter” in April 1998. Nightwish completed their touring line up in the summer of 1998 when bassist Sami Vänskä, an old friend of Holopainen, joined the band. Nightwish then returned to the studio in August 1998 as a five-piece, to record their follow up album for Spinefarm records.

On October 7, 1998, Nightwish released their second full length album, Oceanborn, in Finland only. Adopting a more technical and progressive sound than Angels Fall First,[8] Oceanborn saw the band abandon much of the ambient and folk elements present on their debut release. In contrast to the female vocals of Turunen, the album also featured guest growling vocals by Tapio Wilska. Oceanborn was well received, with Allmusic writing that the album “as a whole works great”, with songs that are “very strong”. Oceanborn was an instant success in Finland, reaching number 5 on the Finnish album charts. The album’s first single, “Sacrament of Wilderness”, hit number 1 on the Finnish singles charts, where it stayed for several weeks.[5] The album’s release was initially limited to Finland, but due to the success of “Sacrement of Wilderness”, Spinefarm released Oceanborn internationally in the spring of 1999.

In May 1999, Nightwish recorded the single “Sleeping Sun (Four Ballads of the Eclipse)”. In one month the single sold 15,000 copies in Germany alone. Following the band’s first international success, Nightwish was added as the opening band for Rage’s 1999 European tour. Both the album Oceanborn and the single “Sacrament of Wilderness” were certified gold in Finland in August 1999.[5]

Wishmaster (2000)Edit

Main article: Wishmaster (album) While in the studio in early 2000 working on their third album, Nightwish was accepted in the Finnish Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Sleepwalker”. Despite winning the public vote, Nightwish eventually finished in second place, with the jury choosing local gospel singer Nina Åström to represent Finland.

In May 2000, Nightwish released their third studio album Wishmaster which debuted at #1 on the Finnish album charts, and following three weeks at number one, was certified gold in Finland.

Critical response to the album was mixed, with Allmusic citing the album as repetitive, and saying “as a whole album, it can be a little annoying, even frustrating”. However, German magazine Rock Hard declared Wishmaster “Album of the Month”, despite competing against long-awaited May releases from Iron Maiden and Bon Jovi.

Following the release of Wishmaster, Nightwish embarked on their first world tour, playing dates in South America, Mexico, Canada, and the first headlining European tour with Sinergy and Eternal Tears Of Sorrow. In the summer the band returned to Europe, appearing at the Wacken Open Air festival and the Biebop Metal Fest.

Over the Hills and Far Away EP (2001)Edit

In 2001, Nightwish recorded a cover of Gary Moore’s “Over the Hills and Far Away” together with two new songs (“10th Man Down” and “Away”) and a remake of “Astral Romance” (from the Angels Fall First album). This was released as their first, and so far only, EP Over the Hills and Far Away.

The record included guest performances by Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica) and Tapio Wilska (ex-Finntroll). They also released a VHS, DVD and CD with live material recorded in a show in Tampere, on December 29, 2000. All of these were entitled From Wishes to Eternity.

Nightwish’s version of Over the Hills and Far Away was well received by fans, being a repeating part of the band’s live performances and featuring on several compilation albums as well as the End of an Era DVD (in 2006). However, the other new songs never had a great break-through nor has been re-released in any way, as of January 2008.

Shortly after the release, bassist Sami Vänskä was asked to leave the band, and Marco Hietala (Tarot, Sinergy) joined the band, effectively leaving Sinergy. Hietala would, apart from playing his instrument, also perform male vocals. Earlier, when needed, either Holopainen (on the Angels Fall First album) or a guest musician performed the male vocals. Holopainen has afterwards said that he and Vänskä still keep in touch, contrary to rumours saying that they haven't met since. However, they are not interested in making another project together. The reason of Vänskä’s dismissal was that he and Holopainen were too different as musicians, and this was seen as a threat to the band.

Century Child (2002–2003)Edit

Nightwish on original formation, at Ireland, 2005.In 2002, Nightwish released Century Child, along with the singles “Ever Dream” and “Bless the Child”. The main difference from previous albums is the use of a live orchestra from Finland on “Bless the Child”, “Ever Dream”, “Feel For You” and “The Beauty of the Beast”, to get a more present feeling of classical music. An enduring favorite of fans, though, is the band’s version of “The Phantom of the Opera”, from the famous musical of the same name by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. The song was repeatedly played on concerts until vocalist Tarja Turunen was replaced with Anette Olzon, whereupon the band announced that they would never play the song live again.

Century Child was certified gold two hours after its release, and platinum two weeks afterwards. It set a record on the Finnish album charts as well; never before had the second been so distant from the first place. After the “Bless the Child” video, a second one was recorded, without any single support. The chosen track was “End of All Hope”. The clip contains pieces from the Finnish movie, Kohtalon kirja (English: The Book of Fate).

In 2003, Nightwish released their second DVD, entitled End of Innocence. The DVD tells the story of the band in Holopainen and Nevalainen’s words for two hours. The documentary also features bits of live concerts, exclusive footage, etc.

Vocalist Tarja Turunen also got married during the summer of 2003, and there were rumours that the band was about to be dissolved. These rumours were, at the time, proven to be false, as the band continued on to play concerts for another year and released another album. The marriage later meant a great part in Tarja’s dismissal from the band in the autumn of 2005.

Once (2004–2005)Edit

Nightwish live in 2004, during their “Once World Tour”. Left to right: Tuomas Holopainen (keyboards), Jukka Nevalainen (drums), Tarja Turunen (vocals), Marco Hietala (bass & vocals), Emppu Vuorinen (guitars).A new album entitled Once was released on June 7, 2004, along with their first single, “Nemo” (Latin: “Nobody”), from that album. The single topped the charts in Finland and Hungary, and reached the top ten in five additional countries. “Nemo” therefore remains their most successful single release to date.

With Once, Nightwish started to produce orchestral versions of some of their songs. Songs that so far have been produced as orchestral versions include “Nemo”, “Ghost Love Score”, “Eva” and “Amaranth”.

Once utilizes a full orchestra in nine of the eleven songs on the album. Unlike Century Child, Nightwish decided to look for an orchestra outside of Finland this time, choosing the London Philharmonic Orchestra. It is also their second album to feature a full-length song in Finnish, “Kuolema tekee taiteilijan” (English: “Death Makes an Artist”). Once has sold triple platinum in Finland, platinum in Germany, gold in Sweden and reached #1 in the Greek, Norwegian and Hungarian album charts. The following singles were: “Wish I Had an Angel” (featured on the soundtrack of the film Alone in the Dark), “Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan” (released only in Finland and Japan) and “The Siren”. Besides the commercial success, Once was also accepted by critics, with many positive reviewers drawing comparisons with Oceanborn.

The success of the album allowed them to perform the Once World Tour, which enabled them to play in many countries the band had never visited before. Nightwish performed at the opening ceremony of the 2005 World Championships in Athletics, held in Helsinki, highlighting acclaim the band has recently gained.

A “best of” album was released in September 2005, containing songs from their whole discography. The compilation is entitled Highest Hopes, also featuring a live cover of Pink Floyd’s song “High Hopes” (from the The Division Bell album) (sample). Besides High Hopes, a remake of “Sleeping Sun” (from Oceanborn) was put on the album, which was also released as a single. A new video for “Sleeping Sun” was shot, featuring a medieval battle, and can be found on the German release of the single and as a separate DVD released by Spinefarm.

End of an Era (2005–2006)Edit

Main article: End of an Era After the recording in the Hartwall Areena (Helsinki) on October 21, 2005, of the new live DVD End of an Era (released June 2006), the four other members of Nightwish decided that it was best to continue Nightwish without Tarja Turunen,[11] a feeling they expressed through an open letter which was given to Turunen by Tuomas Holopainen after the concert, and afterwards posted on the band’s website. It was written by Holopainen but signed by the other band members. The main justification of Turunen’s dismissal given in the letter was that the band felt that both her husband Marcelo Cabuli (an Argentine businessman) and commercial interests had changed her attitude towards the band.

Turunen responded to the incident twice, during a press conference in Finland and in Germany, saying that her dismissal came entirely as a shock to her, given that she had not been notified before the letter was given to her. She felt that the personal attacks on her husband were unwarranted, and that playing the issue out to the public was “senselessly cruel”. She expressed these feelings through her own open letter, which was published on her personal website,[12] and through various TV, magazine, and newspaper interviews.

Dark Passion Play (2006–)Edit

Nghtwish in actual formation at Paris, 2008.In 2006–2007, the band recorded their sixth full-length studio album, Dark Passion Play. The process began with drum recordings, then guitar, bass and demo keyboards. Orchestral and choir recordings took place in Abbey Road Studios. After those, the final synthesizers and vocals were recorded.[13]

To find a replacement for Turunen as the female vocalist of the band, on March 17, 2006 the band allowed vocalists interested for the position to send in demo tapes as an audition for the spot. During this time, speculation began to emerge as to who would eventually succeed Turunen as the female vocalist for the band. In April 2007, the heavy metal magazine Terrorizer as an April fools joke reported that Sarah Brightman would be the new vocalist. In response to this and other rumors, the band stated on their website that fans should not believe any source other than the band itself for information regarding the new vocalist.[13] Some rumors also said that Vibeke Stene, the former singer of the gothic metal band Tristania, would join the band.

For the same reason, the identity of the new singer was to be published earlier, and on Thursday 24 May, the 35-year-old Alyson Avenue lead singer Anette Olzon from Katrineholm, Sweden was announced to replace Turunen. The replacement of the lead vocalist has lead to many fans calling the band 'new' Nightwish. Holopainen has said in interviews he did not wish to reveal her identity until new material was available because he did not want fans judging her by nothing more than a picture, or past work.

Wikinews has related news: Nightwish release 'Dark Passion Play', most expensive album in Finnish history‎The day after this revealing, charity single “Eva” was released as the first off the album, as download only. It was originally scheduled for release on May 30, but due to a leak on a British music download site the single was released on May 25. This was the first published song (excluding short audio samples on the website) to feature Olzon.

On 13 June, Nightwish released the title, Dark Passion Play, and artwork to the new album on their official website, as well as the name and the cover of the second single (this time CD), “Amaranth”. The single, that first was released in Finland on August 22, included a bonus track entitled “While Your Lips Are Still Red” written by Tuomas as the main theme track for the upcoming Finnish feature film “Lieksa!”. Technically, it is not a Nightwish-track as it only features Marco Hietala on vocals and acoustic bass, Tuomas Holopainen on keys and Jukka Nevalainen on drums. The song’s video was officially released on June 15.[13] “Amaranth” achieved gold status in Finland after less than two days in stores.[13]

Dark Passion Play was released around Europe in the last week of September, 2007, in the UK on October 1st, and the United States on October 2nd. There were three separate releases: 1) a single-disc standard version and 2) a 2-CD Special Edition which contains 1 bonus track on the 1st disc and a 2nd CD comprised of orchestral versions of every song on the album and 3) a limited edition 3CD version with the two CDs from version two and a third one with some demo versions (of for example “The Poet and the Pendulum”) as well as some bonus tracks (for example “Bye Bye Beautiful” CD-single’s b-side “The Escapist” and the third single “Erämaan Viimeinen”, a vocal version of “Last of the Wilds".[13]

In this album, male vocalist Marco Hietala achieves more freedom in his vocals, singing at least back up in every single song of the album with the exceptions of “Eva” and “Amaranth”, singing lead vocals in several songs, such as “The Islander”, “Master Passion Greed”, “While Your Lips Are Still Red” and “Reach”, (demo version of “Amaranth”), and singing chorus in songs such as “Bye Bye Beautiful” and “7 Days to the Wolves”.[13]

Several magazines, including Kerrang! have noted how the departure of Tarja Turunen seems to have released the band from their shell and how restraint has been left to other bands. The use of some 175 additional musicians for the orchestral and solo parts of the album has resulted in the band now being described as “epic metal” by many people – especially in 14 minute album opener “The Poet and The Pendulum”. The album was awarded 5/5 (classic) by Kerrang! magazine.[14]

On September 22, 2007, the band hosted a secret concert at Rock Café in Tallinn, Estonia, disguising itself as a Nightwish cover band called “Nachtwasser”.[15] Their first official concert with the new singer was in Tel Aviv, Israel on October 6, 2007.[16] The Dark Passion Play tour has now visited the United States, Canada, most of Europe, and have (as of December 18, 2007) a planned tour in parts of Asia and Australia, a second tour in North America, Europe and more.[17][18]

The third single of the album was first reported to be “Bye Bye Beautiful”, and a music video to this song was recorded together with “Amaranth”’s, and released in September, 2007. However, changed minds resulted in the third single being “Erämaan Viimeinen”, a previously unreleased vocal version of the instrumental song “Last of the Wilds”. It was released in Finland only on December 5, 2007. On this song, Jonsu of the Finnish pop/rock band Indica performs the Finnish vocals.[13]

On December 13, 2007, Nightwish opened an official account on YouTube, linked to from their official website. On this, they've uploaded live filmings from their concerts.[19]

“Bye Bye Beautiful”, the fourth single, was released on February 15, 2008 in two versions; DVD and CD.[20] Within a week after the release, the fifth single was announced to be “The Islander”, to be released on May 21.

According to Holopainen, this will be the longest tour the band has yet attempted, and will probably last about two and a half years.[21] As of February, 2008, tour dates for the second leg of the North American tour are booked through May 2008. John Two Hawks performed at the last two shows of this leg. Several summer/fall dates in Europe have been added, largely festivals, including the Bloodstock Open Air Metal Festival in August 2008. They will also be performing at Rock am Ring and Rock im Park in June 2008 and at EXIT festival on July 10.[22] Nightwish has confirmed that they will do a third US tour in 2008’s second semester, with dates starting at the end of August and carrying on through the autumn.

On March 3, 2008, Nightwish lost by a single vote to the American power metal band Kamelot, in the Metal Storm Awards 2007. Both Nightwish and Kamelot were among the nominees for Best Power Metal Album of 2007 (Dark Passion Play, and Ghost Opera respectively). They suffered another loss to Kamelot in the category for Best Music Video, their nominated video being for the song “Amaranth”. They, however won Biggest Surprise of 2007.


Current membersEdit

  • Floor Jansen – Lead Vocals (2013-Present)
  • Tuomas Holopainen – Keyboards, synthesizers (1996-Present), Backing vocals (1996-Present)
  • Erno “Emppu” Vuorinen – Electric and Acoustic guitars (1996-Present), Bass (1996-1997)
  • Marko “Marco” Hietala – Bass and Acoustic guitars, Backing vocals (2002-Present)
  • Jukka “Julius” Nevalainen – Drums, Percussion (1997-Present)
  • Troy Donockley - Uilleann pipes, Tin whistle, Backing vocals (2013-Present)

Former membersEdit

  • Tarja Turunen - Lead Vocals (1996-2005)
  • Sami Vänskä - Bass (1998-2000)
  • Anette Olzon - Lead Vocals (2007-2012)
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