MUSIC REVIEW: Nightwish Go in a Folk Direction on Their Double LP 'Human. :||: Nature.' [PREVIEW]

When your favorite band releases a new album, you want to love it. You want to be dazzled, to be moved, to feel goosebumps flicker across your skin ideally once per song (conservative estimate). You want to feel inspired to wrap yourself in all the new sounds and words, to draw constellations between these newest creations and to the songs that came before them, challenging yourself to envision how this new collection fits into a larger oeuvre. You certainly don't want to sit over it for a month, unable to conjure up much of a reaction to most of the new material. And you certainly don't want to wonder: Is that it? Was this really worth a five-year wait? 

This caveat isn't to say that Nightwish's newest album, Human. :||: Nature. (stylized HVMAN. :||: NATVRE.) is necessarily a bad album, or that it doesn't have any of the qualities that make Nightwish the foremost band in their (admittedly niche) genre of European female-fronted symphonic metal and rock, because that would be selling this latest effort short. It's a puzzle that continues to confound me even after multiple listens: what is it that Human. :||: Nature. is lacking? What just isn't doing it for me, a fan of over ten years (and five-time concertgoer) who has found something to love in nearly all of their previous albums?

You can read the rest of this review on PopMatters here.