Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan is the third single from Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish's fifth studio album Once after the highly popular "Wish I Had An Angel." "Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan" is only the second song to be released by the band in their native Finnish. Though current singer Anette Olzon does not speak Finnish fluently, she has performed the song with an orchestra as part of a recent festival to celebrate Finnish and Swedish relations.
"Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan," or "Death Makes An Artist" in English, is a beautiful and deeply atmospheric song that features heavy orchestral sections and really shows off Tarja's vocals. In my opinion, Tarja sounds much more natural in Finnish than English, and her vocal on "Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan" feels almost organic, as if it is just being created out of the air naturally, since she is so much more at home in the Finnish language.
There's also a live recording of Megadeth's "Symphony of Destruction," performed by bassist Marco Hietala while Tarja would take a break during the concert. While I'm not really a Megadeth fan, it's interesting to see Marco use his voice this way, and gives the band a very different sound. I wouldn't say I'm in love with it, but it's a great thing to have for those of us who just aren't about to get out to the live concerts -it's like we can enjoy a piece of it at home.
This single also includes a cover of the 1989 synth pop song "Where Were You Last Night" by Sweden singer Anki Bagger. The song does feature plenty of 80s-style synth, but injecting the originally pop song with some Nightwish metal makes it epic. Tarja also delivers an engaging, emotional vocal on the song that makes it easy to single to and gives just enough of an edge that it doesn't become dull. Maybe it's just because I'm a huge sucker for the 80s sound, but I'm in love with this song. Nightwish should explore the 80s metal sound more often. It just works for them. I find it a little surprising that "Where Were You Last Night" is considered to be a more obscure Nightwish track that was only released on this single and was rarely (if even at all) performed live. Now, I can see how some of the band's metal fans may have issues with all the synth in the song, but it's so fun and catchy, I don't see how they could resist. Interestingly enough, on her solo albums Tarja has done symphonic metal covers of the 80s songs "Poison" (Alice Cooper) and "Still of the Night" (Whitesnake), which have both been great. I've even seen video of recent concerts from her What Lies Beneath tour where she performs "Where Were You Last Night." No idea why she decided to resurrect the song after all these years, but it really deserves some live performance.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the orchestral versions of "Creek Mary's Blood" and "Ghost Love Score" here. I always thought both songs were poetic and heartbreaking before, but this took them to a whole new level. Both songs are seamless orchestras of perfection that sounds on the same level as an epic movie soundtrack. There's also an interesting demo recording of "Wish I Had An Angel." Obviously not as polished as the final song, but it is interesting to get a glimpse into the band's creative process when putting together a new song.
I usually am not into singles, and I typically don't recommend them to other people unless they are hardcore fans or serious collectors, but I have to throw that out the window with the "Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijanl" single. "Where Were You Last Night," the orchestral versions of "Ghost Love Score" and "Creek Mary's Blood" and "Symphony of Destruction" are worth the price of the CD.