Personnel: Anette Olzon, Marco Hietala (vocals); Emppu Vuorinen (guitar); Troy Donockley (bouzouki, Uilleann pipe, bodhran); Skaila Kanga (harp); Dermot Crehan (violin, hardanger fiddle); Julian Leaper, Mark Berrow, Tom Pigott-Smith, Christopher Tombling, David Woodcock, Pekka Kuusisto, Maciej Rakowski, Perry Montague-Mason, Dai Emanuel, Jonathan Rees , Oliver Langford, Steve Morris , Patrick Kiernan, Boguslaw Kostecki, Rita Manning, Everton Nelson, Sonia Slany, Emlyn Singleton (violin); Rachel Stephanie Bolt, Bill Hawkes, Garfield Jackson, Peter Lale, Kate Musker, Bruce White (viola); Anthony Pleeth (cello); Eliza Marshall , Anna Noakes, Andy Findon (flute); David Fuest (clarinet, bass clarinet); Nicholas Bucknall (clarinet); David Theodore (oboe); Julie Andrews (bassoon); John Barclay, Kate Moore, Guy Barker, Derek Watkins, Andy Crowley (trumpet); Michael Thompson , Nigel Black, David Pyatt , Richard Watkins (French horn); Richard Edwards , Andy Wood (tenor trombone); Dave Stewart (bass trombone); Owen Slade (tuba); Tuomas Holopainen (piano, keyboards); Jukka Nevalainen (drums, percussion); Stephen Henderson , Frank Ricotti, Gary Kettel, Kai Hahto (percussion); Jussi Tegelman (music box); Joanna Forbes, Tom Bullard, Alice Fearn, Tom Pearce, Morag MacKay, Yona Dunsford, Eleanor Grant, Emma Brain-Gabbott, Abbie Osmon, Gerard O'Beirne, Peter Snipp, Vanessa Heine, Amber Moore, Neil Bellingham, Jacqueline Barron, Ann de Renais, Alexandra Gibson, Jenny O'Grady, Nicki Kennedy, Grace Davidson, Rosemary Forbes-Butler, David Porter Thomas , Ben Fleetwood Smyth, Thomas Spencer-Wortley, Eoghan McCarthy, Lindsay Ashworth, Jacob Ramsey, Ashby Mayes, Anna Gunstone, Celine Marcantonis, David Valsamidis, Elizabeth Wiesberg, Katialin Dang, Mair Dew, Nicholas Sabisky, Nicholas Marcantosis, Rosie Alderton, Soophia Foroughi, Shifra Osorio Whewell, Elias Christou-Hill, Dilys McCaffrey, Athena Koutsovasilis, Anais Engelmann, Paul Greir, Sam Barnett, Vinay Ostrolenk, Catherine Bott , Andrew Busher, Mary Carewe , Michael Dore, Claire Henry, Lawrence Wallington.
Audio Mixer: Mikko Karmila.
Recording information: Angel Studios, London (10/2010-04/2011); Finnvox Studios (10/2010-04/2011); Legendary Bay Of Tube Studios (10/2010-04/2011); Marco's CockPit (10/2010-04/2011); Pajarin Hauta (10/2010-04/2011); Petrax Studios (10/2010-04/2011); R”sk” (10/2010-04/2011).
Director: Pip Williams.
Photographer: Ville Juurikkala.
Arrangers: Holopainen; Hietala.
Never one to do things by halves, Finnish symphonic rock purveyors Nightwish team up with a 53-piece orchestra for their seventh studio album, Imaginaerum, a concept album based on a dying man's recollection of his youth which also doubles as the soundtrack to their forthcoming Stobe Harju-directed film of the same name. Bassist Marco Hietala claimed that it's inspired by the works of Tim Burton, Neil Gaiman, and Salvador Dali, which suggests a score full of gothic fantasy-style arrangements, but although there are many hallmarks of a big screen mythical epic (the Palladio-esque breakdown on the lead single "Storytime," the Omen-esque choral backing vocals and ominous piano chords on the schizophrenic "Scaretale," and the stirring war march instrumental "Arabesque"), the band have thankfully avoided simply following the Danny Elfman rulebook. Opener "Taikatalvi" is a haunting, Middle Eastern-tinged folk number underpinned by a twinkling, music box backing and a rare Finnish-language melody, the frenetic Riverdance-goes-metal of "I Want My Tears Back," and the medieval campfire balladry of "Turn Loose the Mermaids" showcase their passion for traditional Celtic music, while the biggest twist appears courtesy of "Slow, Love, Slow," an unexpected but convincing foray into 1930s jazz-lounge territory, which proves Anette Olzon is as adept a torch singer as she is rock goddess. The doom-laden bombastics of "Rest Calm" and "Last Ride of the Day" are basically Nightwish on autopilot, while the meandering "Song of