Review: Decades

Symphonic metal band Nightwish have released yet another compilation album. This album Decades features who discs of music spanning from the most latest album Endless Forms Most Beautiful to the band’s debut album Angels Fall First, remastering old tracks on the way.

It only took a quick glance to see what the problem is with this compilation and that is the fact that the track list is presented in a reverse chronological order. This means that the albums starts off with the most latest material and slowly makes its way to the bands ’90s material. Why is this a problem you ask? Well to put it simply, Nightwish’s last album felt the band were phoning it in with a now dated sound and songs that was so dull and plodding that they went absolutely nowhere.

When you start an album with a song the likes of The Greatest Show on Earth, you’re not going to please anyone but the most devoted Nightwish fan. In fact, I would go so far as to question why that song is even on here. It is twenty four minutes of pompous symphonic metal with some of the most pretentious lyrics delivered by Tuomas Holopainen. It is too long, too uneventful and FAR from an achievement in terms of the bands song writing abilities, especially considering to add this in they had the nerve to leave off classics like Ever Dream, Bye Bye Beautiful, Dark Chest of Wonders and The Islander. The fact that this long tedious number is followed up by the woeful Élan and My Walden just makes it worse. By the time the real good stuff starts (Storytime), you’ve likely lost all hope.

As for the rest of the album, it isn’t a bad choice of songs. But there are clearly some missing, like the ones previously mentioned. This is not so much a “best of Nightwish” as it is “Tuomas likes these songs, so we put them”. The sound quality is consistently good through out, the older songs are considerably less brick walled as previous releases and it really benefits Anette’s material the most. Dark Passion Play and Once were serious ear bleeders and it is nice hear them sounding a little less forceful leaving me in hope they’ll one day remaster them. Though, who actually wants to hear Nemo for the 10,000th time? I certainly don’t.

Honestly, I think the band could have done a much better job with this record. It has a lot of great songs and some that just shouldn’t be here, where is the excellent jazzy ballad, Slow Love Slow for example. Never mind the fact that they shot themselves in the foot with the first thirty three minutes. There is no doubt that Nightwish fans will enjoy this collection, but they might as well have released a career spanning box-set instead.

Either way, if you want a quick dip into the band, this is a good place to start. Just don’t go expecting it to be the “best of Nightwish” because it is not. Skip the first three songs, crank it up and you’ll have a good time.

Rating : 8 / 10

Where to buy :

Track Listing :

  1. The Greatest Show On Earth
  2. Elan
  3. My Walden
  4. Storytime
  5. I Want My Tears Back
  6. Amaranth
  7. The Poet and the Pendulum
  8. Nemo
  9. Wish I Had An Angel
  10. Ghost Love Score
  11. Slaying the Dreamer
  12. End of All Hope
  13. 10th Man Down
  14. The Kingslayer
  15. Dead Boy's Poem
  16. Gethsemane
  17. Devil & the Deep Dark Ocean
  18. Sacrament of Wilderness
  19. Sleeping Sun
  20. Elvenpath
  21. Carpenter
  22. Nightwish (demo)