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Nightwish Biography

Nightwish is a metal band from Kitee, Finland, formed in 1996 by songwriter/keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen, guitarist Emppu Vuorinen, and former vocalist Tarja Turunen. Nightwish is Finland's most successful band with more than 7 million albums & singles sold worldwide, 1 silver award, 11 gold awards, and 31 platinum awards.

In May 2007, former Alyson Avenue frontwoman, Anette Olzon, was revealed as Turunen's replacement, and in the autumn, the band released a new album - Dark Passion Play, which has sold almost 2 million copies. The supporting tour started on October 6, 2007 and ended on September 19, 2009. A new E.P./live album, Made in Hong Kong (And in Various Other Places), was released in March 2009 as a MCD/DVD, and a seventh studio album is in production, set for release in 2011.

Formation
After playing keyboards in several heavy metal bands in the 1990s, including for example Nattvindens Grat and Darkwoods My Betrothed, Tuomas Holopainen decided to create his own project while sitting around a campfire with friends in 1996. He immediately had a clear idea of the music: experimental acoustic music he wrote himself, similar to the music usually played around campfires, but with a distinct sound and atmosphere, played on his keyboards.

He soon invited friend and schoolmate Erno "Emppu" Vuorinen to play acoustic guitars, and the classical vocalist Tarja Turunen, who shared the same music teacher, Plamen Dimov. The three musicians recorded their self-titled acoustic demo in the winter of 1996. The name "Nightwish" was derived from the first song the band recorded together, and the demo also included the song "The Forever Moments", and an early version of "Etiainen".

After recording the Nightwish demo, Holopainen realized that Turunen's operatic voice was too powerful for an acoustic band, and decided to add in heavy metal elements, including electric guitars and drums.

Debut album and first tour
In early 1997, following the release of the Nightwish demo, Jukka "Julius" Nevalainen joined the band, and acoustic guitar was replaced with electric guitar. The addition of heavy metal elements to the band's existing experimental style gave the band a unique sound, forming the core of the Nightwish sound.

The band entered the studio in April 1997 to record seven songs for their second demo, entitled Angels Fall First. As a precursor to their debut full length album of the same name, the demo made its way to the Finnish record label Spinefarm Records in May 1997. The label signed Nightwish to a two album deal, and the band returned to the studio to re-record songs from their second demo. The full length album Angels Fall First was released internationally in November 1997 and reached number 31 on the Finnish album charts, with the single "The Carpenter" reaching number 3 on the Finnish singles chart. "The Carpenter" single was released as a split with label mates Children of Bodom and Thy Serpent.

Angels Fall First is one of the two albums which features keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen's vocals, appearing on four of the album's eleven tracks, alongside vocalist Tarja Turunen. Critical reception of Angels Fall First was mixed, with Allmusic rating the album 3 out of 5 stars.

In December 1997, after over a year of existence, Nightwish made their live debut in their hometown Kitee, Finland. Since they were missing a bass player, Samppa Hirvonen joined them as a sessional live member. Marianna Pellinen was also a sessional live member on an additional keyboard and was a sessional backing vocalist for Tarja. The band had considered making Samppa Hirvonen a permanent member but he joined the army as part of Finnish army conscription, so they asked Sami Vanska to join instead, since Tuomas knew him from the band Nattvindens Grat. During the winter of 1997 and 1998, the band performed only seven times, due to Nevalainen and Vuorinen's obligatory Finnish military service, and Turunen finishing her schooling.

Following a string of live shows in Finland, the band filmed their first video clip for "The Carpenter" in April 1998. Nightwish completed their touring line up in the summer of 1998 when bassist Sami Vanska, an old friend of Holopainen, joined the band. Nightwish then returned to the studio in August 1998 as a five-piece, to record their follow up album for Spinefarm records.

International success
On October 7, 1998, Nightwish released their second full length album, Oceanborn, in Finland only. Adopting a more technical and progressive sound than Angels Fall First, Oceanborn saw the band abandon much of the ambient and folk elements present on their debut release, with the only exception of "Moondance". In contrast to the female vocals of Turunen, the album also featured guest growling vocals by Tapio Wilska (ex-Finntroll), since Tuomas did not want to sing. Tapio Wilska is also a former member of Nattvindens Grat

Oceanborn was well received, with Allmusic writing that the album "as a whole works great", with songs that are "very strong". Oceanborn was an instant success in Finland, reaching number 5 on the Finnish album charts. The album's first single, "Sacrament of Wilderness", hit number 1 on the Finnish singles charts, where it stayed for several weeks. The album's release was initially limited to Finland, but due to the success of "Sacrament of Wilderness", Spinefarm released Oceanborn internationally in the spring of 1999.

In May 1999, Nightwish recorded the single "Sleeping Sun (Four Ballads of the Eclipse)". In one month the single sold 15,000 copies in Germany alone. Following the band's first international success, Nightwish was added as opening band for Rage's 1999 European tour. Both the album Oceanborn and the single "Sacrament of Wilderness" were certified gold in Finland in August 1999.

In 19 May 2000, Nightwish released their third studio album Wishmaster which debuted at #1 on the Finnish album charts, and following three weeks at number one, was certified gold in Finland. Critical response to the album was mixed, with Allmusic citing the album as repetitive, and saying "as a whole album, it can be a little annoying, even frustrating". However, German magazine Rock Hard declared Wishmaster "Album of the Month", despite competing against long-awaited May releases from Iron Maiden and Bon Jovi. Following the release of Wishmaster, Nightwish embarked on their first world tour, playing dates in South America, Mexico, Canada, and the first headlining European tour with Sinergy and Eternal Tears of Sorrow. In the summer the band returned to Europe, appearing at the Wacken Open Air festival and the Biebop Metal Fest.

New bassist and change of style
In 2001, Nightwish recorded a cover of Gary Moore's "Over the Hills and Far Away" together with two new songs ("10th Man Down", unreleased from Oceanborn, and "Away", unreleased from Wishmaster) and a remake of "Astral Romance" (from the Angels Fall First album) with Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica) singing Tuomas' part. This new material was released as their first EP, "Over the Hills and Far Away".

The record also included guest performances by Tapio Wilska (ex-Finntroll) once again. They also released as VHS, DVD and CD entitled From Wishes to Eternity live material recorded in a show in Tampere, on December 29, 2000. Nightwish's version of "Over the Hills and Far Away" was well received by fans, becoming a frequent part of the band's live performances. The song is included on several compilation albums as well as the End of an Era DVD released in 2006. However, the other new songs never had a great break-through and have not been re-released, with the exception of a live performance of "10th Man Down" on the "End of Innocence" DVD with Marco Hietala (current bass player and male vocalist).

Soon after the release, Nightwish met what's been described as one of their hardest points as a band. The problem mostly relied on the bassist, Sami Vanska who had started misbehaving towards the band by, for example, missing appointments and failing to take gigs as seriously as the other members did. After the band discussed of his behaviour with Vanska several times, without getting any change, everyone simply stopped caring and tensions grew. Meanwhile, guitarist Emppu Vuorinen had started complaining about his role in the band, feeling like "a hired gun who would only do what he's asked to". According to their music teacher, Plamen Dimov, he and Holopainen have totally different characters, and thus difficulties were expected to arise. But Vuorinen was told to stay cool and "bite the bullet", and the problem was never addressed again.

At this time, Holopainen seriously started thinking about breaking Nightwish up. After a gig in Russia, he sent a text message to fellow musician Tony Kakko of metal band Sonata Arctica, telling him that he did not think he had a band any longer, and asking him what plans he had for next year. After Nightwish's last gig for the Over the Hills and Far Away tour in 2001, Holopainen called Drakkar and Spinefarm, unofficially declaring Nightwish over. He told them he might produce another album, but he would never perform another show with the band. The same message was also written on the band's message board.

Straight after the last gig, Holopainen went on a week-long hiking trip to Lapland with Tony Kakko, feeling relieved after finally breaking Nightwish up, albeit only unofficially. But during the hiking trip, something obviously happened and even though they barely discussed the matter alone in the wilderness, they both understood he could not break up Nightwish that easily. When he returned from Lapland he immediately received a phone call from Ewo Pohjola offering himself to become their manager and help him straighten things up. And Holopainen agreed.

In order to continue with Nightwish, Holopainen decided some changes were in order. Beside choosing Ewo as their new manager, he also decided to ask Sami Vanska to leave the band. Marco Hietala (Tarot and Sinergy) was asked to join the band, effectively leaving Sinergy. As well as playing bass guitar, Hietala would also perform male vocals. On earlier recordings either Holopainen (on the Angels Fall First album) or a guest musician had performed the male vocals. Holopainen has since said publicly that he and Vanska still keep in touch, contrary to rumours saying that they have not met since. However, they are not interested in making another project together.

In 2002, Nightwish released Century Child, along with the singles "Ever Dream" and "Bless the Child". The main difference from previous albums is the use of a live Finnish orchestra on the tracks "Bless the Child", "Ever Dream", "Feel For You" and "The Beauty of the Beast", to emphasize the use of classical music in their compositions. An enduring favorite of fans, though, is the band's version of "The Phantom of the Opera", from the famous musical of the same name by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. The song was repeatedly played on concerts until vocalist Tarja Turunen was replaced with Anette Olzon, whereupon the band announced that they would never play the song live again.

Century Child was certified gold two hours after its release, and platinum two weeks afterwards. It set a record on the Finnish album charts as well; never before had the second been so distant from the first place. After the "Bless the Child" video, a second one was recorded, without any single support. The chosen track was "End of All Hope". The clip contains pieces from the Finnish movie, Kohtalon kirja (English: The Book of Fate).

In 2003, Nightwish released their second DVD, entitled End of Innocence. The DVD tells the story of the band in Holopainen, Nevalainen and Tapio Wilska's words for two hours. The documentary also features bits of live concerts, exclusive footage, etc. Vocalist Tarja Turunen also got married during the summer of 2003, and there were rumours that the band was about to be dissolved. These rumours were, at the time, proven to be false, as the band continued to play concerts for another year and released another album. Tarja's marriage later played a part in her dismissal from the band in the autumn of 2005.

Consecration with Once and Tarja's dismissal
A new album entitled Once was released on June 7, 2004, along with their first single, "Nemo" (Latin: "No one"), from that album. The single topped the charts in Finland and Hungary, and reached the top ten in five additional countries. "Nemo" therefore remains the band's most successful single release to date. With Once, Nightwish started to produce orchestral versions of some of their songs. Songs that have been produced as orchestral versions include "Nemo", "Ghost Love Score", "Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan" and "Creek Mary's Blood".

Once utilizes a full orchestra in nine of the eleven songs on the album. Unlike Century Child, Nightwish decided to look for an orchestra outside of Finland this time, choosing the London Philharmonic Orchestra. It is also their second album to feature a full-length song in Finnish, "Kuolema tekee taiteilijan" (English: "Death Makes an Artist"). Once has sold triple platinum in Finland, platinum in Germany, gold in Sweden and reached #1 in the Greek, Norwegian and Hungarian album charts. The following singles were: "Wish I Had an Angel" (featured on the soundtrack of the film Alone in the Dark), "Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan" (released only in Finland and Japan) and "The Siren". Besides the commercial success, Once was also well received by critics, with many positive reviewers drawing comparisons with Oceanborn.

The success of the album allowed them to perform the Once World Tour, taking them to play in many countries the band had never visited before. Nightwish performed at the opening ceremony of the 2005 World Championships in Athletics, held in Helsinki, highlighting the acclaim the band has recently gained. A "best of" album was released in September 2005, containing songs from their whole discography. The compilation is entitled Highest Hopes, also featuring a live cover of Pink Floyd's song "High Hopes" (from the The Division Bell album) (sample). Besides High Hopes, a remake of "Sleeping Sun" (from Oceanborn) was included on the album and it was also released as a single. A new video for "Sleeping Sun" was shot, featuring a medieval battle, and can be found on the German release of the single and as a separate DVD released by Spinefarm.

After the recording in the Hartwall Areena (Helsinki) on October 21, 2005, of the new live DVD End of an Era (released June 2006), the four other members of Nightwish decided that it was best to continue Nightwish without Tarja Turunen, a feeling they expressed through an open letter which was given to Turunen by Tuomas Holopainen after the concert, and afterwards posted on the band's website. It was written by Holopainen but signed by the other three band members. The main justification given in the letter for Turunen's dismissal was that the band felt that both her husband Marcelo Cabuli (an Argentine businessman) and commercial interests had changed her attitude towards the band.

Turunen responded to the incident twice, during a press conference in Finland and in Germany, saying that her dismissal came entirely as a shock to her, given that she had not been notified before the letter was given to her. She felt that the personal attacks on her husband were unwarranted, and that playing the issue out in public was "senselessly cruel". She expressed these feelings through her own open letter, which was published on her personal website, and through various TV, magazine, and newspaper interviews.

Since then, Turunen has focused on her solo career, however she is still often performing old Nightwish songs on live concerts.

Hiatus and new frontwoman
In September 2006, the band entered the studio to record their sixth studio album, entitled "Dark Passion Play". In order to find a replacement for Turunen as the female vocalist of the band, on March 17, 2006 the band allowed vocalists interested for the position to send in demo tapes as an audition for the spot. During this time, speculation began to emerge about who would eventually be chosen. In April 2007, the heavy metal magazine Terrorizer as an April Fools joke reported that Sarah Brightman would be the new vocalist. In response to this and other rumors, the band stated on their website that fans should not believe any source other than the band itself for information regarding the new vocalist. Other rumours also mentioned that Vibeke Stene, the former singer of the gothic metal band Tristania, would join Nightwish. To avoid further speculation, the identity of the new singer had to be published earlier than previously estabilished, and on Thursday 24 May, the 35-year-old Alyson Avenue lead singer Anette Olzon from Sweden was announced to replace Turunen. The replacement of the lead vocalist has led to many fans calling the band 'new' Nightwish, referring to the songs sung by Turunen as 'old' Nightwish. Holopainen has said in interviews he did not wish to reveal her identity until new material was available because he did not want fans judging her by nothing more than a picture, or past work.

The day after this revealing, May 25, 2007, charity single "Eva" was released for download only as the first offering from the new album. It was originally scheduled for release on May 30, but the date was changed because of a leak on a British music download site. This was the first published song to feature Olzon. On June 13, Nightwish revealed the title, Dark Passion Play, and artwork for the new album on their official website, as well as the name and cover of the second single (this time CD), "Amaranth". The single was released in Finland on August 22 and included a bonus track entitled "While Your Lips Are Still Red" written by Tuomas as the main theme track for the upcoming Finnish feature film "Lieksa!". Technically, it is not a Nightwish-track as it only features Marco Hietala on vocals and acoustic bass, Tuomas Holopainen on keys and Jukka Nevalainen on drums. The song's video was officially released on June 15. "Amaranth" achieved gold status in Finland after less than two days in stores.

Dark Passion Play was released around Europe in the last week of September, 2007, in the UK on October 1, and the United States on October 2. It was awarded double platinum in Finland the second day after its release and took the number 1 position on the charts of Germany, Finland, Switzerland, Hungary and Croatia and got in top 100 in other 16 countries, including the United States. Dark Passion Play has sold 6x Platinum worldwide up to date. In this album, male vocalist Marco Hietala has more freedom in the use of his voice: he sings back up in the songs "Cadence of Her Last Breath" and "Sahara", lead vocals in the songs "The Islander", "Master Passion Greed" and "While Your Lips Are Still Red", and chorus in the songs "Bye Bye Beautiful" and "7 Days to the Wolves". He also sings one part in "The Poet and the Pendulum", besides singing back up in the chorus. Before the band found the new singer and the album was recorded, Marco sang on all the demo versions. Tuomas Holopainen sang also on the demo versions of "Bye Bye Beautiful" and "Master Passion Greed" but these songs have never been released.

Several magazines, including Kerrang! have noted how the departure of Tarja Turunen seems to have released the band from their shell and how restraint has been left to other bands. The use of some 175 additional musicians for the orchestral and solo parts of the album has resulted in the band now being described as symphonic metal - especially in 14 minute album opener "The Poet and The Pendulum". The album was awarded 5/5 (classic) by Kerrang! magazine.

On September 22, 2007, the band hosted a secret concert at Rock Cafe in Tallinn, Estonia, disguising itself as a Nightwish cover band called "Nachtwasser". Their first official concert with the new singer was in Tel Aviv, Israel on October 6, 2007. The Dark Passion Play tour thus started, visiting the United States, Canada, most of Europe, Asia, and Australia.

The third single of the album was "Eramaan Viimeinen", a previously unreleased vocal version of the instrumental song "Last of the Wilds"". It was released in Finland only on December 5, 2007. On this song, Jonsu of the Finnish pop/rock band Indica performs the Finnish vocals. "Bye Bye Beautiful", the fourth single, was released on February 15, 2008, and concerns the 2005 dismissal of Turunen, as does one other songs on the album (Master Passion Greed). The single includes yet another bonus track, "Escapist", which is also included on the Japanese version of Dark Passion Play. Within a week after the release, the fifth single was announced to be "The Islander". "The Islander" single features an orchestral version of the epic ballad "Meadows of Heaven" and also includes an instrumental version of "Escapist" and a new edit version of "The Islander" itself. It was released over a month after the release of its music video, shot in late 2007 in Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland. Holopainen described the video as "the Lapp wilderness meets the surrealism of Salvador Dali". He also said that the lyrics for once go hand in hand with the video's storyline. Except for the band, the video shows actor Hannu Vuorinen in the role of the old sailor, and features guest musician Troy Donockley in a bagpipe solo.

On December 13, 2007, Nightwish opened an official account on YouTube, linked to their official website. On this, they've uploaded tens of live filmings from their concerts.

The Dark Passion Play tour turned out to be Nightwish's longest tour yet, lasting from the fall of 2007 to September 2009 when it ended with a concert in Hartwall Arena, Helsinki with the band Apocalyptica. For trivia, Nightwish' only other concert in Hartwall Arena was in 2005 when they ended their Once world tour. This concert was filmed for the End of an Era DVD, and it was Tarja Turunen's last show with the band.

On March 3, 2008, Nightwish lost by a single vote to the American metal band Kamelot, in the Metal Storm Awards 2007. Both Nightwish and Kamelot were among the nominees for Best Melodic Metal Album of 2007 (Dark Passion Play, and Ghost Opera respectively). They suffered another loss to Kamelot in the category for Best Music Video, their nominated video being for the song "Amaranth". They, however won Biggest Surprise of 2007. However, they received the German Echo (music award) for the "Best International Group" in 2008. Other nominees were Kaiser Chiefs, Within Temptation, Foo Fighters and Marilyn Manson.

In October, the album was followed by a photobook, entitled Dark Passion Gallery, with photos by Finnish photographer Ville Akseli Juurikkala and with captions by the band members, as well as a foreword by Holopainen. In November, the band won in the Best Finnish Act category at the MTV Europe Music Awards and received a nomination in the Europe's Favourite Act category.

On March 6, 2009, Nightwish released a new live MCD/DVD entitled Made in Hong Kong (And in Various Other Places). The eight live tracks were recorded during the "Dark Passion Play World Tour" in 2007-2008, and the album also includes one b-side from the "Bye Bye Beautiful" single, one b-side from the "Amaranth" single, a previously unreleased demo version of "Cadence of Her Last Breath", and a bonus-DVD with three music videos as well as a 37 minute documentary called "Back in the Day is Now".

Future projects
In the June 2009 edition of the Finnish magazine, Soundi, Holopainen stated he had started work on the new album. In October 2009, rumors about the new album's name were going around with the title Wind Embraced, but Olzon listed the rumours as "not true" and said that the songs for the new album had not yet been completed apart from 3 songs written before May 2009. Tuomas Holopainen said in a recent interview, "I can't reveal to you anymore but there is going to be a big twist so to say, on the next album." In an interview with Troy Donockley, when asked about her involvement in the new album, Olzon stated "Oh yes, I will be playing on the next album and from what Tuomas has told me, it is going to be something extraordinary..."

On the 21st of October 2009 Nightwish announced that they will be recording a cover of the song "Hilma ja Onni" by singer/songwriter Jaakko Teppo as part of a tribute release to the artist. Their version will appear on the album Porsanmaen Sanomat - Tribuutti Jaakko Tepolle along with other tributes to the singer/songwriter.

In December 15 of 2009, Jarmo Lautamaki (Member of Nightwish crew) confirmed on his facebook page that Nyman finally gave his permission to the band to release the cover of the song "The Heart Asks Pleasure First". Dates and details of the release are unknown.

On the 1st of February 2010, Anette Olzon stated on her blog that Tuomas has 9 songs ready for the new album. She also stated that Nightwish will be meeting in the summer to make a demo, and fans should not expect anything any earlier than fall of 2011.

Musical style
Nightwish performs a blend of symphonic metal, gothic metal and power metal. Their music has been described as "bombastic heavy, symphonic and cinematic, with keyboards and strings creating a gothic atmosphere." While the music of Nightwish is "laced with accessible pop sensibilities," the band is also known to be complex and multi-layered. Their approach is epic, theatrical and operatic. Critic Chad Bowar notes that the music is "always very melodic with memorable choruses and a lot of hooks." Some would also list Nightwish as heavy metal

The usage of a female vocalist has become a sort of trademark, though less so since the outbreak of new female fronted metal bands in the mid-2000s with the popularization of bands such as Evanescence, Within Temptation, and several gothic metal bands mixing female and male vocals, such as Tristania, Epica and the early Within Temptation.

Nightwish has also been identified by some critics as a gothic metal act. Bassist and vocalist Marco Hietala describes the band's style as "melodic symphonic gothic metal." but this is not a view shared by all members of the group, including band composer Tuomas Holopainen. Nightwish was perceived to shift from their trademark operatic power metal style for a more "commercial" gothic sound on their albums Century Child and Once. The music of Nightwish had been "distinguished by the operatic voice" of soprano Tarja Turunen, a "charismatic frontwoman with a powerful voice". Critics observed that her vocals became less operatic with the release of Once. Following the departure of Tarja Turunen from the group, Nightwish left behind the "signature operatic vocals" of their earlier albums,.

While the music of Nightwish is centered around a female lead singer, the band has also featured some male vocals on their albums ever since their debut release Angels Fall First. This debut album also included "elements of folk music and ambience" that were discarded on their subsequent album Oceanborn. Their 2007 release Dark Passion Play featured a return to folk metal territory with the songs "The Islander" and "Last of the Wilds".


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