Nightwish – Imaginarium: The Score


Review by Paul H Birch.

Nuclear Blast Records

Nightwish’s keyboard player and songwriter Tuomas Holopainen approached Stobe Harju to direct a series of videos for the band’s Imaginaerum recording but it developed into a full blown film, receiving grants from the Finnish Film Foundation. From what I’ve read, the film features a child in the same way The Who’s Tommy and Pink Floyd’s The Wall does before drifting off into visual scenes akin to The Snowman mixed with A Christmas Carol. Apparently it could all be a metaphor for dementia, but listening to Imaginarium: The Score (featuring music reinterpreted by Nightwish alongside a score written by Petri Alanko that features the London Philharmonic Orchestra) I’m put more in mind of children’s fantasy films like The Golden Compass and Prince Caspian. The visual impressions I have are of young heroes being chased, great battles being fought, and contemplations about honour. Quite different from the film synopsis brief. But for the most part, the music by itself is an affecting enough work.

Primarily, it is the classical and folk instruments used on the record that work best; and the drums when they build up to create emotional intensity on tracks such as ‘A Crackling Sphere’, the band’s electric instruments actually less so. Annett Olzon delivers the only true song on the Celtic folk-haunted ‘Deeper Down’, although it is hard to pick out distinct tracks as they merge or fade indistinctly. The exception to this, ironically, is opening tune ‘Find Your Story’ that acts as an overture with themes, before going into an all-too brief violin or fiddle solo then becoming awash with Omen-style choral singing. No doubt a must for Nightwish fans, rock fans probably far less so. As a work of classical music it doesn’t have the epic quality to carry it all off; it’s pleasant but not earth-shattering.

Nightwish - Imaginaerum The Score6.5 out of 10

Track listing:

  1.  Find your Story
  2. Orphanage Airlines
  3. Undertow
  4. Spying in the Doorway
  5. A Crackling Sphere
  6. Sundown
  7. Wonderfields
  8. Hey, Buddy
  9. Deeper Down
  10. Dare to Enter
  11. I Have to Let You Go
  12. Heart Lying Still
  13. From G to E Minor



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