BraveWords Exclusive: NIGHTWISH – A Look Inside Human. :II: Nature.: The Listening Session

By Carl Begai

On February 19th, Nightwish kicked off the Germany leg of the promo junket for their new album, Human. :II: Nature. in Munich. Unlike the usual alcohol-fueled affairs that listening sessions inevitably turn out to be, it was a sedate early morning affair consisting of coffee, headphones and an iGadget, each journalist in attendance invited to grab a seat in the hotel’s comfortable lobby to feast on and ultimately devour 80 minutes of music. Band members Tuomas Holopainen, Troy Donockley and Floor Jansen flew into town while the session was underway, taking a mere 10 minutes to get settled before the interviews began. BraveWords has a long history with the Nightwish camp and was welcomed quite literally with open arms, first up in what was to be a long day of media prodding before the band jetted off that night to Hamburg for Round 2 the next day.

For the record, there is a huge BraveWords feature with Holopainen and Donockley due to be published in a few weeks. This is an overview of Human. :II: Nature. meant to offer some idea of what to expect, hopefully without spoiling the experience when the record is released on April 10th via Nuclear Blast.

Known for their bombastic sound, Nightwish throw the first of many curveballs on Human. :II: Nature. with the very first song, “Music”, which is perhaps best described as a “soft open.” It is certainly not soft in terms of metal or subject matter, but the track eases the listener into the album rather than bashing you over the head with an orchestral anvil (take note of this). In fact, it is a hint that something is very different this time out as compared to previous album, Endless Forms Most Beautiful, even though first single “Noise” sounds like a slower version of “Shudder Before The Beautiful” from said record. Admittedly, “Noise” is a much stronger track when heard with a quality sound system rather than via some crap-ass streaming platform, and it is certainly not representative of Human. :II: Nature. as a whole. Not at all.

Troy: “The album is full of contrasts, more than any of the previous Nightwish albums.”

Tuomas: “We chose ‘Noise’ as the first single for the subject matter because we knew it would make a brillaint video. I usually don’t like to put out singles because I don’t want to take out one song and put it on a pedestal, and make it somehow special, but these days that’s just how the story goes. The only reason that it ended up being a double album is that it doesn’t fit on one CD. There was never actually a plan to do a double album. And then when the idea of separating the two sections it made sense.”

Troy: “It really works conceptually. The first disc can be seen as the Anthropocene (our current geological age / state), and the second disc is a second world where you can pin your imagery to it.”

From the moment the third song up, “Shoemaker”, fans are officially welcomed into the world of a new, fresh and hungry Nightwish. As Human. :II: Nature. plays out, several things become readily apparent. For starters, vocalist Floor Jansen has worked her ass off laying these songs down. Not that she has anything to prove at this point, but Jansen displays some amazing range and technique from start to finish, and there are several points where folks who appreciate her talents will be wearing a shit-eating grin (just wait for “Pan”… stunning). Granted, taskmaster Holopainen is the beloved sadist behind the arrangements, but it’s Jansen who had to pull them off and she killed it. As enjoyable as it was to hear her first recorded Nightwish work on Endless Forms Most Beautiful, these performances are superior.

Tuomas: “We wanted to focus on the vocal performances. It’s the Human part of the album, you need to hear the human voice. There are a lot of lyrics, there is a lot going on, but that was a deliberate decision: let’s get everything that we have out of these vocalists. Like you said, make them work (laughs).”

Check out the complete story here:


Disc 1:

“How’s The Heart?”

Disc 2:

“All The Works Of Nature Which Adorn The World – Vista”
“All The Works Of Nature Which Adorn The World – The Blue”
“All The Works Of Nature Which Adorn The World – The Green”
“All The Works Of Nature Which Adorn The World – Moors”
“All The Works Of Nature Which Adorn The World – Aurorae”
“All The Works Of Nature Which Adorn The World – Quiet As The Snow”
“All The Works Of Nature Which Adorn The World – Anthropocene” (incl. “Hurrian Hymn To Nikkal”)
“All The Works Of Nature Which Adorn The World – Ad Astra”

Coffee photo by Carl Begai. All rights reserved.