NIGHTWISH – Human. :II: Nature

  • 9.8/10
    NIGHTWISH - Human. :II: Nature - 9.8/10


Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: April 4, 2020

User Review
6.25/10 (2 votes)

There’s a Rock/Metal “Pick Your Quarantine House” meme floating around, inviting readers to pick one of six houses, each of which would have five musical artists or groups living within. So one could choose to remain “safe in place” with the likes of Dream Theater, Thin Lizzy, or ZZ Top. Comment threads on the meme posts were enlightening, with many of the commenters jumping at the opportunity to bunker with fascinating artists and artist combinations, both for the conversational opportunities and the collaborative music that would surely result. Or maybe just for the chance to witness a train wreck—how many days would it take for Mötley Crüe to start throwing bottles and knives at each other, and everyone else in the house? And  are only the “classic” lineups of the bands  included (as though there would be any agreement as to what the “classic” lineup of most of the bands would be) or would all members who served time be welcomed?

The inclusion of resurrected members is implied, as Stevie Ray Vaughn “lives” in Orange House. So then would Eric Carr and Mark St. John share space with those they replaced, and those that replaced them? Would Blaze and Paul be sharing a room with Bruce? And where would Ian Gillan be? Trading tales with Ozzy and Dio in Orange House as a member of Black Sabbath, or singing around the campfire with Phil Lynott in Purple House as a member of Deep Purple?  Even allowing only “classic” lineups , Orange House boasts both Led Zeppelin and Van Halen in addition to Stevie and Sabbath, so amazing musical exchanges are certain to occur if only the housemates keep from killing each other with a week.

Strangely, Orange House also was the only of the Rock/Metal to offer any female company whatsoever, having Nightwish as their final member. If the Eddie/Tony/Jimmy/Stevie jam session wasn’t enough of a draw, one would have to think that the prospect of a Quarantine lullaby from Floor Jansen—or a three-part harmony lullaby from Floor, Anette Olzon, and Tarja Turunen would be enough of a siren call to sign up for Team Orange.

Imagine! Just having one of that triad of beautiful voices speaking to their housemates, perhaps reassuring them that everything will be alright and that we will soon be outside again, in darkness and in light, might be enough to strengthen everyone’s resolve to pull together and emerge from these difficult times as one.

Intended or not, finding strength in each other seems to be the spirit of Nightwish’s newest and 9th album, Human.:II: Nature, and it is Floor’s voice that powers and literally makes Tuomas Holopainen’s compositions live and breathe. One doesn’t need to go any further than the audaciously named opening track, “Music”, to feel that spirit and power. One doesn’t have to go any further, but one should, because each successive track seems both a celebration and a study of the human/nature dichotomy implied by the album’s oddly punctuated title. Themes of man in nature, man apart from nature, and man in and out of harmony with his own nature weave throughout songs like “Noise”, “Harvest”, and “How’s the Heart?”, with Floor’s crystalline voice the unifying thread tying these themes to the dynamic arrangements. The nine songs comprising the first disc layer emotion upon emotion, with eighth track “Tribal” providing an angry, hard-hitting vibe that provides interesting counterpoint to the more symphonic and orchestral elements of the album. The disc closes with “Endlessness”, a song that lives up to its name by building vast sonic castles in the air with lush instrumentation and epic choral passages.

The second disc, entitled All the Works of Nature Which Adorn The World, is an ambitious, mostly instrumental (with some spoken word, choral singing, and ambient nature sounds) reflection on the themes expressed in the first disc. Strings predominate–classical strings, not guitar strings, providing a quieter, yet no less powerful set of songs than the first nine. Even without this second—and gorgeous-sounding—“bonus” disc, Human.:II: Nature. would be Nightwish’s greatest album in their already strong catalog, a joyous and life-affirming sonic treat, the perfect soundtrack for staying “safe in place” with those you love—or those you must come to love, because the future, if there is to be one, requires it.


  • Daniel Waters

    Daniel was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. Iron Maiden’s Piece Of Mind wasn’t the first Metal album he owned, but it was the one that lifted the lid off his soul when he received the record as a gift on his 15th birthday. He's been a Metal fan ever since. He's probably best known as the author of various Young Adult novels such as the Generation Dead series and the ghost story Break My Heart 1,000 Times, now also a major motion picture entitled I Still See You, starring Bella Thorne. Writing and music, especially Heavy Metal music, has always been inextricably linked in his mind and career. His first paid gig doing any type of writing was for Cemetery Dance, where he wrote a horror-themed music column called Dead Beats, and when he was writing the first Generation Dead novel he had a ritual where he started his writing day with a Metal playlist that kicked off with “Crushing Belial” by Shadows Fall.

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