Heavy Metal Month Listening Challenge 27/31

Day 27 – A band that has had multiple singers. 

Nightwish – Wish I Had An Angel 

Possibly due to the longevity of artists within the metal scene, many bands have had several different vocalists for one reason or another. 

These Finn’s are now on their third front woman and they are one of the few bands where I’ve been able to see the band fronted by every different vocalist. 


Top 10 Gigs of 2015

Now that was hard work trying to narrow down a top ten of shows I attended this year from over 70 shows.  In front of me now I have a list scrawled out of 17 memorable shows for one reason or another and enough scribble on the page to fill a small diary.


Some of the shows that I had to cut included debut UK shows form Belgium’s Bloodrocuted and Vektor from the United States. AC/DC rocking the foundations of Wembley Arena.  The mega line up of Carcass, Obituary, Napalm Death and Voivod on the Deathcrusher tour.  Intimate shows by Anthrax in Brighton and Iron Reagan in Manchester. And the merging of my teenage years and some of the newest bands on the Slam Dunk Festival (PVRIS, Beartooth, H2O and Millencolin).  Finally, a honourable mention to Discharge, the inovators of D-Beat, playing a home town show to a packed venue with their new vocalist JJ.

So here it goes…

10 – Bloodstock Festival (Catton Hall 7-9th August)

I was going to steer clear of lumping a festival as one, but there were some superb performances this year.  Finally seeing Dark Angel was a huge plus. Nuclear Assault’s last UK appearance.  Sepultura, Overkill and Re-Animator showing everyone the old bands still have it, and overlooking the technical difficulties, Within Temptation’s headline slot had everything you wanted.

9 – Overkill and Sanctuary (Hedon, Zwolle 17th March)

A flying trip to Holland to catch the Killfest tour.  The second time I’d seen Sanctuary, but the first time with a roof.  They were flawless and Overkill were as solid as ever.  An added bonus of the Hedon venue being so good.

8 – Hirax (Manchester, Sound Control 16th March)

I could have picked their debut show at Hammerfest a few days earlier, but after the initial disappointment of seeing what part of the venue they were playing, it was so pleasing viewing a band playing in such a small space with so much enthusiasm.

7 – Xentrix and Acid Reign (Dublin, Voodoo Lounge 16th October)

I could have picked anyone of the three shows I attended on this tour, but by the time they sailed into Dublin they had all hit their stride, especially the returning Acid Reign after a quarter of a century away from the stage, who were as much fun that night as they were in 1990.

6 – Obituary (Camden, Electric Ballroom 1st February)

The reason I didn’t include Deathcrusher on the list is thanks to this headline set from Florida’s finest. I had reservations about it being upgraded to the much bigger Ballroom from the comparatively tiny Underworld. By the start of their set any misgivings were put aside as the place was pretty much full.  They were on top form that night, plus there was the added bonus of seeing German thrashers Dust Bolt on the same night.

5 – Flotsam & Jetsam (Nuneaton, Queens Hall 19th May)

Another disappointing turn out in Nuneaton, but that didn’t deter the legendary Arizona thrashers.  Tonight was a complete master class of thrash metal. Such a tight performance and compared to when I saw them last year the live vocals were much better.

4- Metallica (Gothenburg, Ullevi Stadium 22nd August)

Metallica are my favourite band and can really do no wrong in my book (well maybe LuLu!), but they couldn’t make my top three this year.  This tour didn’t have to may surprises in the set list, but I got to see Frayed Ends of Sanity performed live and I had tickets for the Golden Circle so we managed to get pretty close and ended up with a few off stage souvenirs.

3- Slayer and Anthrax (Brixton, Academy 30th November)

Again, I could have picked either date of the tour that I saw, but with the added size of the stage in Brixton you got more bang for your buck. Two bands who are most definitely getting better with age. Slayer were just Slayer, no banter, no jokes, no roller coasters, no prolonged solos – just pure, unadulterated, evil, thrash metal (and dancing inverted crosses!)  What more could you want?

2- Tankard and Crisix (Barcelona, Razzmatazz II 25th January)

Finally the missing piece for me from the German Teutonic Big Four. If Tankard won’t come to me then I’d better go to them!  After Kreator these Frankfurt beer swilling maniacs are my next favourite band of the four.  Much like Anthrax or Acid Reign, they are often classed as the clowns of the bunch.  That night in January they were on top form.  The track (Empty) Tankard was superb sing-a-long, and seeing Gerre singing from on top of the bar right in front of me is something I won’t forget in a hurry. They were so much fun to watch.

1 – Nightwish (Wembley, Arena 19th December)

So my favourite gig of the year happened to be the last gig I attended.  Nightwish owned the cavernous Wembley Arena that evening.  We were promised the full European stage show and that’s what they delivered.  Metal fans have a weird preoccupation with fire in all forms and we had it all tonight! We also had smoke, ticker tape and giant video screens.  The visuals were well and truly backed up with some stunning songs performed to perfection by Floor Jansen who breathed life into tracks from the departed vocalists before her. Fantastic sound too in a place so enormous, and it only cost £25.  A real bargain. A truly superb evening.

Live Arena 9

Well this weekends superb Nightwish extravaganza brought 2015’s gig diary to a close and now I’m looking forward to 2016.

So far plenty of bands to look forward to seeing over the forthcoming twelve months including a trip to Canada in April and a few continental European visits potentially. But first Christmas and New Year shenanigans to endure!

A few of next years shows I’ll be catching.



Finally moving onto Nightwish Mark III and the arrival of ex After Forever and ReVamp vocalist Floor Jansen from Goirle in Holland.

Olzen’s last UK appearance with the band was at the Download Festival in June 2012 – which was the last time I saw the band.

During their U.S. dates Anette was “let go” in September 2012 after a show in Salt Lake City after being hospitalised the night before, and forced her to miss the Denver show. Floor’s first show was a mere three days later in Portland and the rest as they say is history and she officially joined the ranks in December 2013.

Jansen has only appeared on one studio album to date, 2015’s Endless Forms Most Beautiful which Élan is taken from (obviously). I don’t know why, but I’ve not listened to the album as much as I should have done, something that has be rectified this week in my attempts to brainwash my wife!

For me Saturday will be the first time seeing Floor fronting the band even though they did a few UK dates in November 2012. Listening to the latest album her voice appears to me closer to that of Tarja, so I’m quite looking forward to hearing her do the older stuff.


Apart from the three vocalists that Nightwish have recruited the Kitee band have been pretty stable musician wise since 2002.

Original vocalist Tarja was let go in 2005 due to her diva like behaviour. In 2007 Swedish singer Anette Olzon joined and so began the second period of Nightwish’s career. In a five year stint Olzon recorded two albums with the band, Dark Passion Play and Imaginaerum.

I saw Anette live with the band three times. First time was in Manchester in 2008, to me the vocals didn’t seem as strong and lacked some of the range her predecessor had. In August of the same year Olzon looked and sounded more confident in her roll whilst performing at Bloodstock.

This is the edited radio version of Storytime and can be found on 2011’s Imaginaerum.

Wish I Had An Angel

Be prepared for a slew of Nightwish tracks over the next week, the reasoning behind this is to educate my wife a little bit about the band before her “enforced” attendance at Wembley Arena on Saturday. Four tickets were purchased for this show back in February. Peoples priorities can change over the intervening nine months, so rather than go through the hassle of a resale I press-ganged the wife into coming along.

Saturday will be my sixth time seeing these Finnish symphonic melodic metallers playing in the UK. Their first show here was alongside the likes of Paradise Lost, DragonForce and Masterplan on August 30th 2003, where they headlined the third edition of the Bloodstock Festival when it was still held indoors at the Assembly Rooms in Derby, and yes I was there.

The band’s early releases were a lot more power metal influenced, but from the Century Child album released in 2002, they began to utilise then vocalist Tarja Turunen’s soprano vocals more and slowly progressed to the bombastic symphonic metal style that we know today.

The release of the bands fifth album Once in 2004 propelled Nightwish to the next level of popularity, but was also the last album to feature Turunen on vocals. When it was recorded it was the most expensive recording for a Finnish album at the time, I’m guessing the London Philharmonic Orchestra didn’t come cheap?

From the Once album is one of the bands most popular songs Wish I Had An Angel. Even though the single only reached number 60 in the UK charts, it still remains their biggest seller over here. The film clips featured in the video are taken from Christian Slater’s sci-fi horror film Alone In The Dark, which has a massive soundtrack supplied by a whole host of bands from the Nuclear Blast Records stable.


Live Arena 8

Saturday – Wembley Arena.

As it stands I only have one gig for next week and that’s also looking like my last one of 2015, Finnish symphonic metallers Nightwish bring their full stage show for a one off show in the UK.