After a fairly long hiatus since their last studio album (Dark Passion Play was released about 4 years ago), Nightwish is back with a new album. And it was certainly worth the wait.
Dark Passion Play was the first album featuring Anette Olzon, replacing Tarja Turunen, whose operatic voice was certainly a key component of the Nightwish sound. I loved the album, but the sound had certainly changed, and this split off a number of fans. Part of the problem was that Anette's voice just didn't really fit all the tracks. It just did not seem to come across as metal.
All that is rectified in Imaginaerum. Anette's voice just fits the songs perfectly; and every song in the album brings something interesting. Starting off with the very first song, which starts off with the tune of an old music box, it is a rare Nightwish track in Suomi. Then there is the brilliant, jazzy "Slow, Love, Slow", which works surprisingly well for a metal album. The most interesting song, "Song of Myself", is one of the long Nightwish suites (14 minutes or so); based on the poem of the same name by Walt Whitman. In between, the songs features orchestral elements (the London Philharmonic), choral backing and the bagpipes from Dark Passion Play make a reappearance.
Imaginaerum was conceptually pieced together as a movie, telling the tale of an old songwriter suffering from dementia; and his recollections. The accompanying movie will be released sometime next year; certainly looking forward to it.