Bless The Child (Ltd Ed) (Digi
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Import-only compilation featuring B-sides, live and rare tracks by this Finnish Goth-influenced Symphonic Metal band fronted by the classically-trained vocalist Tarja Turunen. Includes cuts like 'The Wayfarer' (originally only on the Japanese edition of their album Century Child) and 'Once Upon A Troubadour' and 'Return To The Sea' (both originally from the first Finnish pressing of Angels Fall First). Eight tracks. Universal.
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All of which isn't to deny the validity of this disc as it does gather together a bunch of bonus tracks and oddities. First up is the straight version of Bless the Child from the Century Child album. Track two is The Wayfarer from the Japanese version of Century Child which scoots along at a rate of knots on the back of some brisk arrangements.
The next two tracks - Come Cover Me and Dead Boys Poem - are live tracks lifted from the album From Wishes to Eternity. So not rare at all really.... But after that we get two more tunes hitherto less widely available as they were used as bonus tracks on limited edition versions of Angels Fall First. Both are in the Nightwish idiom with Once Upon A Troubadour being quite a mellow number with Tarja taking the fore with her acquired taste of a voice dominating. A Return to the Sea is also an atmospheric number that builds up through various passages and is blessed with a biting Emppu guitar flourish or three and overall it feels like it is more geared towards the prog end of the bands sound at that time of their career.
Following that is a 'heavy' version of Sleepwalker apparently used on the Japanese version of Wishmaster. Quite why you'd put out a 'heavy' version of something I'm not sure but hey, what do I know?
The album closes with an early track - Nightquest - from the Japanese version of Oceanborn. Like the rest of this collection it feels very much in keeping with everything else on the disc and the production values of the entire release are just like the studio albums they are from - this isn't a bunch of half-baked demo versions.
All up a well worthwhile platter for Nightwish minions to sink their teeth into and lyrics to the whole thing are included. But keep in mind that there are good songs here but none of the genuinely rarer tracks are utterly necessary for your life and of the eight tracks here three are easily available on standard releases. So it's your call as to whether to buy this or just download the five rarer tracks.