Hot off the trail of Finnish symphonic metallers Nightwish announcing their upcoming ninth studio album, Human. :||: Nature., the band have unveiled the first single off the album, “Noise.” The record sounds like a fascinating prospect, being a double album split into two halves – one focusing on the nature of humankind, the other on the natural world. So, how does “Noise” play into this?
Long time listeners should feel in familiar territory with “Noise”. From the grandiose orchestral melodies, to the chunky metal riffs and thunderous drumbeats, the epic scale has Nightwish’s trademark sound stamped all over it. This isn’t a bad thing, and I guess this is the band’s way of easing us into the next album-cycle, saving the more unusual material for the record itself. However, if the presentation and themes are anything to go by, then it appears that we’re in for a wild ride!
As ever, the theatrics are off the charts, the song being a massive spectacle. The transitions, changes in pace and the atmosphere are captivating, going through so many transformations that it’s like being on a roller-coaster. At times it genuinely feels like three separate tracks moulded into one, but achieved with a sophistication to make these work together coherently as a single narrative. It has a gripping sensation that doesn’t let go, and is one that will keep a hold of listeners until the very end, the 5minute 55 second run-time seemingly flying by in the blink of an eye. It starts off with an eerie foreboding tone, before bursting into life with a fierce roar, the duo symphonic elements and chugging riffage flowing at an unrelenting pace. The intensity makes a huge impact, and is enough to have listeners breaking out in chills. Add in an explosive chorus, some ambient breaks, plus a blistering solo and we have the complete package here. There are times where the melody reminds me of the Game of Thrones theme, but I’m pretty sure this was unintentional, plus it’s powerful enough to stand as their own creation. The sheer complexity of how the instrumental arrangements have been crafted are certainly nothing to scoff at either. The textures of layers seem almost endless at times, yet it hasn’t been overproduced, being reeled into perfect balance. What’s more is, Floor Jansen absolutely slays on vocals, at times belting out powerful chords, at others her soprano style in full focus. Her range is breathtaking, and I cannot wait to see how she utilises her talents on the rest of the album.
This is one heck of an introduction to Human. :||: Nature., as “Noise” not only showcases a magnificent soundscape, but also an alluring concept
The lyrical content is what stands out about this track, which is executed beautifully, both sonically and directly into the themes of the video itself. It’s a commentary on how we’ve become too dependant on technology in everyday life, specifically social media platforms. It can be argued that the latter has indeed become an artificial construct, comprised of people’s highlight reels, and being the centrepiece of vanity, both of which create unrealistic expectations of what life can and should be. The video taps into this, being a tad tongue-in-cheek with these themes. Throughout the video there’s avatars that represent different ages in history, except they’re armed with smartphones – glued to their devices, oblivious to the world around them. As much of a pastiche as these are, it still makes a strong statement, the overwhelming amount of transitions and events taking place becoming a lot to unpack. It’s perhaps a little ironic, then, that the video is featured on YouTube, which could be argued is in itself a social media platform, diluting the overall message that the video holds, but then we’d getting into semantics. The overall point here is to be sparing with these tools, and to not obsess over them.
This is one heck of an introduction to Human. :||: Nature., as “Noise” not only showcases a magnificent soundscape, but also an alluring concept, both of which neatly tie into one another. Effectively we’re going to be getting two albums in one here, so it’ll be interesting to see if these are a contrast or a compliment. On paper these themes sound genius, but my only concern is if they can keep this narrative, as well as the momentum, constant throughout without things falling apart. That said, “Noise” does show a ton of promise, so it that’s anything to go by, then I’m sure they’ll pull this off. Why not check out the music video for yourself, as well as the album track list below!
Human. :||: Nature tracklist:
- How’s the Heart?
- The Blue
- The Green
- Quiet as the Snow
- Anthropocene (incl. Hurrian Hymn to Nikkal)
- Ad Astra