Nightwish is a band from Finland, who make symphonic power metal, accompanied by opera-like vocals. They started in 1996, and recorded their first songs somewhere between October and December of that year. At that time the band consisted of Tuomas, Tarja and Emppu. The current line-up is Tarja Turunen on vocals, Tuomas Holopainen on keyboards, Erno 'Emppu' Vuorinen on guitars, Sami Vänskä on bass and Jukka Nevalainen on drums.

In May 1997 they signed a contract with Spinefarm, and their debut album, Angels Fall First, was released in November 1997. It went to number 31 on the Finnish charts. In the months that followed, they played only 7 gigs because Jukka and Emppu were in the army, and Tarja was busy with her studies.
In August of 1998 they went back into the studio to record the follow-up to Angels Fall First, entitled Oceanborn. This album was a bit harder then the first one. It was released in December of 1998, and went to number 5 on the Finnish charts. In early 1999, it was also released outside of Finland. For the first time they would really go on tour, and played 26 shows allover Europe.
Early 2000 saw the band returning to the studio, for the recording of their third album. Wishmaster was released in May 2000. During the recording of that album, they entered the Finnish qualification for the European Song Contest with the song Sleepwalker, but came in at second place. The song Sleepwalker could later be found as a bonus track on the Finnish release of Wishmaster. The Wishmaster album went straight to number one on the Finnish chart, and stayed there for three weeks. In those three weeks they sold enough copies to receive a gold disc for it.

Album discography:

Angels Fall First

Oceanborn
Wishmaster
Wishmastour 2000

Single discography:

The Carpenter

Sacrament of Wilderness

Walking in the Air

Sleeping Sun (Four Ballads of the Eclipse)

Deep Silent Complete

Nightwish are, unfortunately to other great metal bands with female singers, advertised as "The heavy metal band with a female vocalist." On Finnish TV, Tarja is always portrayed as an amazing singer, but quite frankly, she is not at the same level as for example the Finnish opera singer Karita Mattila or even the Norwegian Vibeke Stene. Though Anneke van Gieresbergen of The Gathering is not a mezzosoprano, it should not be forgotten that Nightwish is not the only metal band with female vocals.

Also, it seems to me that Nightwish are simply continuing on the path first created by Stratovarius. The deliberate mixing in the same studio (Finnvox Studios) as that band created almost identical sounds, which undoubtedly made Nightwish more succesful. Not that there is anything particularly bad about the Stratovarius power metal sound in general, but that it has been beat dead countless times before.

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