Fans of dramatic, symphonic Euro metal have something to look forward to when the cold, dark, dreary winter sets in. Finnish/Swedish superstars NIGHTWISH will release their new album, “Imaginaerum”, in North America on January 10, 2012 via Roadrunner Records and it will serve as a welcome beckon of warmth and light in an otherwise dark season! The album is the band’s first since 2007’s “Dark Passion Play”, which was then-new singer Anette Olzon‘s debut.
The band examined its catalog when sitting down to write what would become “Imaginaerum”. The songs for the album were written between 2008 and 2010, after the “Dark Passion Play” tour cycle ended.
At that point, NIGHTWISH knew they wanted to do something different, new and unique, which is exceptional for a band whose career has been defined by words like different, new and unique!
The band consciously wanted to do something so big, crossover, detailed, innovative and, well, “nuts,” that it would leave the band, and hopefully the people experiencing it, completely awestruck. It would be a situation where fans and/or critics would either love it or hate it, but they’d be left awestruck nonetheless. That’s when the band realized another dimension, namely video, was necessary for the project.
Instead of a concept album, the band set the album to a film.
“The original idea I had was to film 13 short stories related to the songs with a connected storyline, shot by Stobe Harju,” keyboardist/songwriter Tuomas Holopainen said. It was Harju‘s idea to turn the 13 stories and visions into more of a connected cinematic piece — essentially, a film. It would have a clear plot, script, dialogue and real actors in an ambitious effort to create something wholly unique.The film was shot in September of this year.
The movie is based on the album and its 13 tracks, honoring the original ideas, but having evolved radically from the initial plan. Holopainen said, “Still, it was important from the very beginning that the album would work as its own individual piece of art, as well. It is a thematic album about life itself, about imagination, love, goodness and beauty, with a touch of darkness and melancholy, which are strongly included in all of those things mentioned.”
The band will have but a small part in the film. A 2012 premiere date is being eyed.
“Imaginaerum” track listing (note that track 12 is broken down into four parts):
03. Ghost River
04. Slow, Love, Slow
05. I Want My Tears Back
08. Turn Loose the Mermaids
09. Rest Calm
10. The Crow, the Owl and the Dove
11. Last Ride of the Day
12. Song Of Myself
Song 1: From A Dusty Bookshelf
Song 2: All That Great Heart Lying Still
Song 3: Piano Black
Song 4: Love
“Imaginaerum” will be released in Finland on Wednesday, November 30 and the rest of Europe on Friday, December 2 via Nuclear Blast Records.
A track-by-track breakdown of the album by Tuomas Holopainen can be found at Metalhammer.co.uk.
Regarding the “Imaginaerum” cover artwork, which can be seen below, Holopainen said, “Originally, this was supposed to be the centerfold image of the album, but once I and some mates saw the final image, we immediately knew that the hunt for the actual cover artwork was over. I believe this is Toxic Angel‘s finest piece of work yet, capturing the deepest essence of what ‘Imaginaerum’ is all about. The power of imagination and places of wordless wonders, magic and awe, of longing and the surreal.
“I emphasized from the start that not a single living thing should be seen in the picture, and Toxic was able to create that sublime but desolate, ‘all this waiting for you, and you only’ feeling.
“All you need is the courage to enter.”
NIGHTWISH‘s new single, “Storytime”, will be released in Europe on Friday, November 11 via Nuclear Blast Records.
On the topic of the musical direction of the forthcoming album, NIGHTWISH singer Anette Olzon wrote on her official blog, “I think it’s a great and varied CD. The feelings in it are great and there are a lot of elements in it, so I am sure it will have many different favorite songs for the listeners since the songs are so different in styles and sound. [2007’s] ‘Dark Passion Play’ is a great album and this one, too, so I don’t know yet which one I like more, but, of course, for me personally, this one feels better to do since the songs are more adjusted to my voice and my style.”
NIGHTWISH will kick off the “Imaginaerum” world tour in Los Angeles. The very first show of the trek will take place at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, California on Saturday, January 21. This will be the biggest NIGHTWISH show production ever on North American soil and strictly a one-off — there will be no U.S. tour until later in 2012.