Nightwish – “Showtime, Storytime” DVD / CD / Blu Ray (Nuclear Blast Records)
Despite the meteoric rise of these Finnish symphonic metallers, issues in the vocal department have once again been resurfacing since the beginning of the year with the departure (or dismissal – Ed) of Annette Olzon. To be frank I was as surprised as many with her appointment in the first place, not because she isn’t a competent vocalist – far from it in fact – but that her more modern metal style was such a departure from Tarja Turunen’s classical opera. I’m not sure if that was an intended direction of the band but I guess some back peddling took place and frankly the answer to the band’s vocal problems already lay within the realms of the group in Floor Jansen. An established and veteran Dutch vocalist having graced the likes of Epica, After Forever and even forming her own band in ReVamp, Jansen had already been filling in for Nightwish and continued for the remainder of the Imaginaerum World Tour in 2012. This 16 track live album captures their spectacular headlining show at this year’s Wacken Festival and I’m guessing this must’ve been the make or break show for all concerned – as judged by 80,000 hardcore headbangers! All other things aside, Floor’s winning card has to be that she more than ably handles both styles of Nightwish’s prior vocalists, from the rocking ‘Wish I Had An Angel’ to the passion folk of ‘I Want My Tears Back’. If there were any doubts, then the roar of the crowd between numbers and singing along with Floor on ‘Amaranth’ was proof enough of the band’s decision to make her a permanent member after this show. As the majestic symphony of ‘Last Ride Of The Day’ closed out this amazing set, not only did Nightwish sound like a band once again as Floor’s vocals blended harmoniously with her male counterparts, but more poignantly for early fans like myself she has returned them once again to their roots and who they really are.