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Review: Nightwish - Élan

Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2015
Duration: 18:00
Tracks: 4
Genre: Power Metal

Rating: 2.5/5

Review online: February 23, 2015
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating

Rated 3/5 (60%) (18 Votes)

Nightwish stumbled badly with 2011's Imaginaerum thinking fans would get into the band reimagining themselves as multi-media auteurs only to find we only wanted some good songs, something the album was desperately short on. The band has been searching for a new identity ever since the magnetic Tarja Turunen was shown the door after the Once album. Annette Olzon looked like the answer on Dark Passion Play but in hindsight was never the right fit and now Dutch siren Floor Jansen steps up the mic to try and put the Nightwish train back on the tracks. The first official studio work featuring Jansen is the single Élan featuring three versions of that song plus the non-album track "Sagan." Pardon me while I rant for a moment. These "singles" are truly irritating. Three versions of a song plus a "bonus" track that basically wasn't good enough for the album is nothing more than a way to pry just a bit more money from the fans. No one needs the "radio edit" of this song. What the hell is a radio edit anyway? Is there a radio station anywhere that would just play the regular version? It is less than a minute shorter than the regular version. Do I need another version of a song that has LESS SONG?? Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

As for the music on Élan, neither track is any type of return to form for those still lamenting the departure of Turunen, I'm sorry to say. Nope, they are like some of the better material from Dark Passion Play, "Élan" being quite similar to "The Islander" with Uilean pipes and other folk instruments. Jansen, for her part, has a much better voice than Olzon, something I didn't realize until hearing her sing for Nightwish. She has much more depth and emotion to her delivery and I am really hoping they give her some vocal lines on the rest of the album that are more challenging and even operatic than they have here. I'm guessing some (if not all) of this material was written with Olzon in mind. The bottom line is Nightwish haven't improved, based on what is presented here, nor have they lost any further ground, which is hopeful. Time will tell if the new album has anything more to offer. My advice would be to wait for the album and skip this single.

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