Fans were eagerly awaiting the release of the new 'Nightwish' after 5 long years and the latest record 'Endless Forms Most Beautiful' which had been seen the induction of 'Floor Jansen' as a new singer : it's done with 'Human. : II: Nature’ which should undoubtedly please the large fan base worldwide but which for me shows again and again that the Finns are pioneers and this new album is still the proof because the surprises are numerous. Given the richness and density of this opus, I will not do some title by title, the chronicles being multiple on the net (see the very good chronicle of 'United Rock Nations'), but I will focus it on the centerpiece of 'Nightwish', I named the keyboard player 'Tuomas Holopainen' who realize all of the group's compositions.
As a child, Classically trained, the Finn learned different instruments including the piano and the clarinet and joined a jazz group at 15 as a Saxophonist (by the way, a certain 'Tarja Turunen' was already part of the adventure, we know the rest). At around 17, he turned to metal and integrated various formations in an episodic way like ‘Darkwoods My Betrothed’ (Black metal), ‘Nattvindens Gråt’ (Gothic, Doom) and ‘Sethian’ (Progressive metal). Besides that, from 1996, in parallel with 'Nightwish', he continued to get involved in other projects like that of 'Timo Rautiainen' (Heavy metal) with the album 'Sarvivuori' or with the band 'For My Pain…' with the opus 'Fallen' or even more recently with the project 'Auri', with 'Troy Donockley' and a sublime album, quite distant from metal (see here) or his solo project 'The Life and Times of Scrooge' which is inspired by the author and cartoonist 'Don Rosa' which wrote and drew this story.
This rather heterogeneous course (and I certainly forget some other things) shows the scope of this composer touches on everything who puts all his talent for more than twenty years at the service of 'Nightwish' and, we feel that with this new album 'Human. : II: Nature', the fame of the group no longer being to be done in a very specific style, Tuomas has made the choice to make a kind of patchwork of all his influences and all his course while keeping a frame, if we can say, a 'Nightwishienne' frame, that is to say made of unstoppable melodies and epic atmospheres and here is in three points, what I will retain from this double album :
First of all, the first part which includes 9 tracks takes us into a multitude of sounds, melodic lines and different atmosphere but, for me, the novelty is the very progressive aspect of the compositions of Tuomas, orientation very little taken in the past with 'Nightwish' which undoubtedly risks destabilizing certain early fans but which gives a new dimension to the Finns, adding a string to their bow which justifies comparing them to progressive metal artists with in mind the great productions of the Dutchman 'Arjen Anthony Lucassen' (see his last live from 'Ayreon' 'Electric Castle Live And Other Tales' ).
Then, as he had done to highlight 'Tarja Turunen' in the early years of 'Nightswish', Tuomas succeeded in compositions which give a golden place to 'Floor Jansen' in all registers of the Dutch and this from the first title 'Music' and the first bars which highlight a crystal crystalline and light singing in a vocal section certainly not easy to sing and which shows in the chorus of the same title, the vocal power of this artist. I could cite quite a few other examples and to take another, I will mention the finale of 'Shoemaker' which also highlights the lyrical register of Floor in a magical moment filled with a beautiful emotion as suspended in time.
Finally, the second part 'All The Works Of Nature Which Adorn The Earth' is a large classical symphonic fresco which reminds us that Tuomas is an outstanding composer and who, far from metal and in these troubled times conducive to reflection, invites us in a magnificent journey to refocus on the essential things that the earth offers us, as if the composer had predicted the current crisis and wanted to make us realize that the most important thing is to take care of our planet before it's too late.
In summary, some will no doubt talk about the symphonic metal album of the year; for my part, I will not be as restrictive because the work of 'Tuomas Holopainen' on this album is impressive and all the interpretations are masterful, which goes far beyond a single style and which places it above the lot as a timeless work , quite simply, some 21st century Music. And I will finish with the last message from ’Ad Astra’, simple but so strong about our Earth that we must preserve at all costs : ‘That's here. That's home. That's us’...