The title says it all! Opinions expressed here are those of the authors. Personal tastes may vary, and we are cool with that.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

CD Review: Nightwish's "Over the Hills and Far Away" EP

In 2001, Nightwish released their "Over the Hills and Far Away" EP. I consider this an "extension" of their previous release "Wishmaster". So what is really on this EP you ask? Well, there are two original songs, one cover, and one remake of an old song plus six live performances, which happens to be audio from their DVD "From Wishes to Eternity". Since they are live performances, I am not going to bother to review them other than they were all performed very well, especially "Beauty and the Beast" which blows the studio recording away by miles. I think they could have left out a few of these live songs and put a few more original songs on this, but that is a very small complaint. One more thing to note that this would be bassist Sami Vänskä's last appearance on a Nightwish release before being replaced by Marco Hietala. So anyways, here is my song by song review:

1. "Over the Hills and Far Away": A cover of a Gary Moore song. It is rare that you see a band cover a song and making it better than the original, but this is pretty damn close! This really is a great cover and I think this is Nightwish's best cover song as a band. The song has an Irish folksy feel to it which makes it catchy and fun. The keyboard and guitar work are done very well and is very true to the original while adding that ever so famous Nightwish "flare", and Tarja really shines and makes this song her own! Nice cover. 4.5/5

2. "10th Man Down": A song inspired by war with the intro being the ambience of a battlefield, which is very similar to Metallica's "One" intro. The song then explodes into a nice mid-tempo, symphonic power metal song with plenty of bombastic moments and headbanging fun. Tapio Wilska, who was their guest vocalist on a couple of songs on "Oceanborn", provides some dark eerie parts on this track once again and it really flows well with the song. The song is fun, dramatic, theatrical, and exciting all at the time! 5/5

3. "Away": The EP's ballad. From what I hear, the band and Tuomas really dislikes this song. I personally don't think it is that bad of a song as it has a nice atmosphere and the lyrics are good yet sad at the same time. Overall, the melody is a little boring to me and doesn't match up to some of their other ballads. It's not bad, but I think the band can make better ballads and they have. But it is solid. 3.5/5

4. "Astral Romance" (2001 Remake): This is a remake of "Astral Romance" from "Angels Fall First". For one, the production on this verison is WAY better. The guitars are crisper, the vocals are mixed better, and the keyboards provide more ambiance in the mix. And of course, the male vocals are WAY WAY better (no offense Tuomas!). Provided by Tony Kakko of Sonata Arctica, the male vocal section in this song is sung amazingly and is much better and more tolerable than it was in the original. The outro guitar solo by Emppu is also very long and memorable. A great remake and this is the version I always listen to. 5/5

Since the rest are just live songs, I am going to end this review here. So here is what I thought:

-Great production
-Every song is solid and well put together
-Tarja's vocals continue to improve

-Only a couple original songs
-Too many live tracks for filler(though a few like "Beauty and the Beast" was a great performance and was a good song choice on this EP)
-Too short (I know it is an EP!)

I think this was a nice release despite being short and with only two original songs. It is worth getting because of the nice Gary Moore cover, "10th Man Down", the remake of "Astral Romance", and of course the live version of "Beauty and the Beast". This is indeed a horns up! \m/

Overall rating: 4/5


CanuckFan said...

"Over the Hills and Far Away" the song is indeed an excellent cover, and I agree it's probably their best cover. Nice review, James! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Over the Hills and Far Away i love that song and Away:)

Winterstorm said...

Hehe, this EP kicks so much ass!

Eric James said...

@ Winterstorm

That it does! \m/ Thanks for your comment!