‘Bloody hell, this sounds like heavy metal Abba’….One of the comments that I made when samples of the album Imaginarium first hit the internet. An exaggeration I know but there is a little truth to my flippant comment.
Imaginarium is very much the brainchild of visionary composer, band member and all round genius Tuomas Holopainen. This is truly a multilayered masterpiece of monstrous proportions, an epic journey into the world of Nightwish. Orchestras, thundering drums, dreamy keyboards and some heavy crunching guitars greet everyone who wants to enter Imaginarium and immerse themselves into a world with very little musical boundaries.
From the catchy chorus of Story Time to the jazz café feel of Slow, Love, Slow it simply oozes style, quality and bravery. This is not so much an album but an event, heavily influenced by film soundtracks and local traditional music from their homeland of Finland. That’s not to say that there is no branching out, I Want My Tears Back has a heavy Celtic feel with the fiddles complementing some awesome heavy guitar work. This album is certainly a ‘grower’ and not that immediate on first listen, however after the fourth time you soon find yourself grabbing for the air guitar or conductors stick, which ever takes your fancy!
Anette Olzon’s second outing (having to fill the shoes left behind from the departed soaring vocals of Tarja Turunen) is without a doubt a triumph. She seems more comfortable and confident in her abilities second time around and has slotted into the Nightwish family seamlessly. As I’ve stated previously with so many styles on offer throughout the album it sounds like a recipe for a cohesive mess, but stay with it and it will reward you with an aural pleasure not found in many releases.
An epic, yes, will it slot into the collection side by side with the likes of Slayer, Devin Townsend and Abba, yes…put simply if you like to broaden your musical mind with something powerful, bombastic and innovative the doors to Imaginarium are wide open, take a peek, you may like what you hear.
8.5 out of 10