Nightwish Live » Brixton Academy, London

Source: Kerrang!

Plus: Pain

Brixton Academy, London


This is all about celebration now. Thanks giving that they've made it this far, and that a death-defying gamble has paid off. Dumping the uniquely voiced Tarja Turunen in an ill-advised public storm of nastiness and replacing her with Anette Olzon, a good but entirely different type of singer, was a bit like Ford replacing the Focus with a motorcycle and hoping no-one would notice. It's been tough for Nightwish - even getting the finger from some former fans - and Olzon herself, worn down by expectation and comparison. But, partly thanks to the magnificance of Dark Passion Play, the new line-up's first studio output, they've muscled down and succeeded. Their proof is this - a stunning headline show at this esteemed venue, the first time they've been able to bring their full show, pyro and all, to an indoor UK stage.

Perhaps in a bit to keep tour life relaxed, Nightwish have brought their friends along to support them. Pain have toured with Nightwish before, and provide a goth-tinged but heavier aperitif to the main act. The brainchild of workaholic Swede Peter Tägtgren, metal is fused with synths as black hair thrashes. More impressive live than on record, Tägtgren's unpretty hate machine is worth a second look.

For Nightwish, this is the first gig of the rest of their lives. They open in a wash of colour, smoke and retina-burning explosives, the band nailing 7 Days To The Wolves to within an inch of its studio equivalent. Their decision to abandon Bye Bye Beautiful is a sure sign that they've finally moved on from the Tarja fallout. Thankfully, it's only the unpleasantness they've turned away from and not the magical music they created with her. Tonight's rejuvenated set-list features a casket of old diamonds, albeit mostly from best-selling album Once. More importantly, it's the sort of set fans need to hear from Nightwish, a firm answer to rumours that they planned to abandon their classic material altogether. From that archive comes Romanticide and The Siren, both sung with icy determination by Olzon, Dead To The World and - towards the end - an evocative, moving Nemo.

Unsurprisingly, it is music from the current album that Olzon in particular performs with the greatest confidence - Amaranth a dazzling beauty, while the epic The Poet And The Pendulum reaffirms the great scale of Nightwish leader Tuomas Holopainen's vision. His stormy journey, his band's rage for perfection, continues to enthral.


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