Nightwish, Sonata Arctica | House of Blues | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Nightwish, Sonata Arctica Recommended All Ages Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Critics' Picks

When: Sat., Sept. 6, 7:30 p.m. 2008

Nightwish is evidence that there’s more to the American-European cultural divide than just language and soccer. Across the pond, this Finnish symphonic-metal quintet sells longboatloads of records and makes headlines with its every move—most famously by sacking singer Tarja Turunen in 2005 and then posting her dismissal letter on its Web site—but in the States the band’s sound, though still evolving, remains extremely unfashionable. Nightwish began as an acoustic neo-Nordic folk trio in 1996 but has since turned up the volume, mostly to keep up with Turunen’s operatic vocals; today it makes sweeping, romantic power metal so heroic in scope it makes Blind Guardian sound like Carcass. The new Dark Passion Play (Roadrunner) is the band’s first album with Turunen’s replacement, Swedish belter Anette Olzon, who lacks the versatility and room-filling presence of her predecessor but is still a capable dramatist. Songwriter Tuomas Halopainen continues to reach for something bigger here, but if you listen hard you can still hear traces of a little folk band beneath the orchestral swells. —Monica Kendrick

Price: $30.50-$33

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