I recently became hooked on Nightwish... a mere 3 months ago when I picked up the latest offering, "Once." That album was SO damn good that it prompted me to go back and start buying the rest of the catalogue. My third purchase in the line is "Wishmaster", and it's more of the same great stuff! Having bought "Oceanborn", and liking it, I nevertheless felt that it sounded a bit too much like traditional Symphony X, just with a female singer. "Wishmaster" seems to strike a perfect middle ground between that overly neo-classical style, and the hard metal edge of "Once." This is one of Nightwish's best offerings, so DO NOT let the cover art fool you!
All of the musicians are brilliant with their respective duties, and you'll find that this album is much more rhythm-guitar driven, which traditional metal-heads will find irresistable (the excellent double-kick drumming and odd-time in 'The Kinslayer', and the fist-in-the-air crunching guitar in the latter half of 'Wanderlust' are perfect examples). This isn't thrash or speed metal, and isn't anywhere near as brutally heavy as my other newfound favorite band, Children of Bodom, but the level of complexity in the songwriting, and the mixture of beautiful melody vs. hard-rocking metal is MORE than a reason to give this album a chance! My best advice is to listen to this album four, maybe five times before you pass judgment. Like most albums in this genre of music, there is a LOT being thrown at you in one sitting, and the more you listen to them, the more you love them. This is an excellent starter album for those curious about Nightwish. By the time you're done listening to it, don't be surprised if you can't get the catchy intro to the album's title track out of your head!
Heartborne, 7th Seeker
In me the Wishmaster!