You may not know Nightwish yet, but the Finnish goth-orchestral-metal band is a phenomenon throughout the rest of the world. The group's fifth album, the platinum-certified Once, hit #1 over the summer on the Pan-European charts, and stayed there for three weeks. Behind them? The Beastie Boys, Avril Lavigne, Norah Jones and Usher, among others. So who or what is this band? On first listen, Nightwish seems to fall into the same genre as Evanescence, Lacuna Coil and the Gathering--female-fronted metal band with symphonic and gothic overtones. But any similarities end there. First of all, singer Tarja Turunen may be the only trained opera singer in metal, and her vocal prowess and range prove it. Then there's the rest of the group, led by keyboardist and primary songwriter Tuomas Holopainen. Listen closely, and you'll hear a group that's equally influenced by opera, classical music, Euro-metal, early thrash and even Kate Bush.
Nightwish formed as, of all things, an acoustic-based band in Kitee, Finland in 1997, though they quickly switched to a hard rock sound. Within a year the group had released its debut album, Angels Fall Fast, which featured...