Review + Photography by Neale Hayes

Nightwish arrived onstage to the large UK crowd cheering loudly in anticipation. Opening with ‘Dark Chest of Wonders’ from the massive album Once (2004), they hit the fans with some piercing guitar riffs early on in true Nightwish style; epic backing tracks and some fiery pyro really giving a larger than life feel to their entrance. Floor Jansen gave it her all by delivering some on point vocals and beckoning the crowd wherever possible.

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‘Wish I Had an Angel’ (2004) another one from a key album in their career, performed beautifully with some aggressive vocals from Marco countered with Floor’s mesmerizing cleans. The crowd loved this one with huge cheers and singing along with symphonic keyboard refrains from Tuomas really adding to the fantasy element of their style.

Bearing a large back catalogue, they continue to crowd please, ‘10th Man Down’ (2001) unleashes Floor’s captivating, almost operatic style singing. The riffs are there though, keeping the crowd nodding along with smiles on their faces. Comparisons can be made with symphonic black metal band Dimmu Borgir, harsh vocals in contrast with beautiful operatic singing. Baring the bite of Arch Enemy, they captivate with Floor’s style which is similar to Amy Lee’s trademark style.

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Floor takes the time to address the Birmingham audience and suggests they wear helmets to protect themselves for the songs to come.

‘Elan’ (2015) sees some interesting visuals on the screen behind the band, with Swans and Wolves being the central theme. Troy starts with his work on the Uillean pipes, giving a Wintersun/Ensiferum feel to the song. The riffs then kick in and were back to business, the different parts of the songs blend well together beautifully. ‘Elvenpath’ (1997) one for the hardcore fans and a testament to how their style has preserved over 21 years since it’s release.

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The sombre and romantic vibe continues with ‘I Want My Tears Back’ (2011), the intro reminding me of Ensiferum, folky and melodic. Marco and Floor combine well again on this song, with some well received crowd lights illuminating their hands in the air throughout.

Ending with the progressive ‘Ghost Love Score’ (2004), the band leaves the crowd grinning sinisterly. It opens theatrically and operatically with some impressive keyboard work combined with Floor’s consistent vocals. Some nice power metal-esque guitar solos are thrown in for good measure.

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Overall, I loved it. They’ve done incredibly well to be touring in bigger venues after so many years even after the line up changes. A testament to the symphonic/folk metal genre and reinstating it’s popularity in the UK.

See the complete photoset from tonight’s gig here.

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