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Biography

  • Years Active

    1996 – present (23 years)

  • Founded In

    Kitee, Pohjois-Karjala, Finland

  • Members

    • Anette Olzon (2007 – 2012)
    • Emppu Vuorinen (1996 – present)
    • Floor Jansen (2013 – present)
    • Jukka Nevalainen (1997 – present)
    • Marco Hietala (2001 – present)
    • Sami Vänskä (1998 – 2001)
    • Tarja Turunen (1996 – 2005)
    • Troy Donockley (2013 – present)
    • Tuomas Holopainen (1996 – present)

Nightwish is a band from Kitee, Finland. The band was formed in 1996 by lead songwriter and keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen, guitarist Emppu Vuorinen, and former lead singer Tarja Turunen. The band soon picked up drummer Jukka Nevalainen, and then bassist Sami Vänskä after the release of their debut album, Angels Fall First (1997). In 2001, Vänskä was replaced by Marco Hietala, who also took over the male vocalist role previously filled by Holopainen or guest singers.

Although Nightwish have been prominent in their home country since Angels Fall First, they did not achieve wider success until the release of the albums Oceanborn (1998), Wishmaster (2000) and Century Child (2002). Their 2004 album, Once, has sold more than one million copies and was the band's breakthrough in the United States. Their biggest US hit single, "Wish I Had an Angel" (2004), received MTV airplay and was included on three US film soundtracks to promote their North American tour. The band produced three more singles and two music videos for Once, as well as a re-recording of "Sleeping Sun" for the compilation album, Highest Hopes: The Best of Nightwish (2005), before Turunen's dismissal in October 2005. Her last performance with Nightwish was during a concert recorded for the live album/DVD End of an Era. After the concert, the other members informed Turunen with an open letter that she was no longer a member of Nightwish.

In May 2007, Nightwish announced Anette Olzon as Turunen's replacement. That September, the band released their sixth album, Dark Passion Play, which has sold almost 2 million copies. The album's lead single, "Amaranth", became one of Nightwish's most successful in Europe. The supporting tour, one of the band's largest, started on October 6, 2007 and ended on September 19, 2009. The band released an EP/live album, Made in Hong Kong (And in Various Other Places), in March 2009 as a CD/DVD, and their seventh studio album, Imaginaerum, was released globally on various days in late 2011/early 2012.

On October 1, 2012, Nightwish announced that they had parted ways with Olzon and would be finishing the tour with at that time ReVamp vocalist (ex-After Forever) Floor Jansen. In October 2013, Nightwish made Jansen and longtime session uilleann pipes player Troy Donockley permanent members of the band, and they were featured in the acclaimed album Endless Forms Most Beautiful, released on March 27, 2015.

Nightwish is the third-best-selling band and musical entity in Finland with certified sales of nearly 900,000 certified copies. The group is also the most successful Finnish band worldwide, selling more than 9 million records and receiving more than 60 gold and platinum awards, having released five Number 1 albums and thirteen Number 1 singles. On October 26th, 2018, Nightwish was inducted into the Finnish Music Hall of Fame, becoming the honorary gallery's 11th member.

Nightwish performs symphonic metal with soaring female operatic vocals. Their music has been described as "bombastic heavy, symphonic and cinematic, with keyboards and strings creating a gothic atmosphere". They have also been known to play power metal, folk metal and gothic metal.

The band's music is also known to be complex and layered. Their approach is epic, theatrical and operatic. Critic Chad Bowar notes that the music is "always very melodic with memorable choruses and a lot of hooks." A part of Nightwish's original sound was the soprano vocals of Tarja Turunen, until her departure from the band in 2005.

The usage of a female vocalist has become a sort of trademark, though less so since the outbreak of new female fronted metal bands in the mid-2000s with the popularization of bands such as Evanescence and Within Temptation as well as several gothic metal bands mixing female and male vocals, such as Lacuna Coil, Tristania, Epica and After Forever.

Bassist and vocalist Marco Hietala describes the style of the band's music as "melodic symphonic metal;" though this is not a view shared by all members of the group, including band composer Tuomas Holopainen, who describes the band as simply symphonic metal. Some critics find that the band had a gothic sound since their debut. The music of Nightwish had been "distinguished by the operatic voice" of soprano Tarja Turunen, a "charismatic frontwoman with a powerful voice". Critics observed that her vocals became less operatic with the release of Once. Following the departure of Tarja Turunen from the group, Nightwish left behind the "signature operatic vocals" of their earlier albums.

While the music of Nightwish is centered around a female lead singer, the band has also featured some male vocals on their albums ever since their debut release Angels Fall First. This debut album also included "elements of folk music and ambience" that were discarded on their subsequent album Oceanborn. However, the song "Creek Mary's Blood" from the album "Once" featured some use of folk-oriented Native American melodies, and their 2007 release Dark Passion Play featured folk music elements on the songs "The Islander" and "Last of the Wilds".

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