Tag Archives: Nightwish

21st Century Guitar Masters

After a long hiatus I have returned to post my list of guitar masters of the new millenium. As with previous blog posts of different eras there are many that have been omitted as I have limited myself to only ten in no particular order.


Emppu Vuorinen, founding Nightwish guitarist live in action.

Nightwish remain one of my favourite bands despite now featuring its third lead singer. But founding guitarist Emppu Vuorinen, has been there through all of the band’s incarnations and remains an integral part of their sound. Although primarily focusing on rhythm parts he has contributed many melodic solos to Nightwish tracks.

Choice Pick: For me, it has to be “Dead Gardens” from their 2004 album Once, the last studio album to feature original lead singer Tarja Turunen.


Lead vocalist, principal songwriter and guitarist extraordinaire for Muse, Matt Bellamy

Anyone who cites Jimi Hendrix and Tom Morello as influences is always going to be prepared to be less conventional than other guitarists. Not scared to use effects to make his guitar sound more “electronic” is evidence of his eccentric nature.

Choice Pick: I could have chosen any number of tracks but I have always had a soft spot for “Knights Of Cydonia” from Muse’s fourth album, Black Holes & Revelations.


Derek Trucks in full slide playing glory with the Tedeschi Trucks Band

Derek Trucks, nephew of Allman Brothers Band drummer Butch Trucks, has had both the skill and good fortune to enable him to play with the likes of Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Herbie Hancock and in his uncle’s band too. He recorded seven studio albums with his own band before merging it with his wife’s band to become the Tedeschi Trucks Band.

Choice Pick: His sublime playing on “Midnight In Harlem” from the 2012 live album Everybody’s Talkin’.


Australia’s own virtuoso guitarist, Orianthi

Orianthi moved from acoustic to electric guitar at 11, played for Steve Vai at 15 and jammed with Carlos Santana at 18.  Not a bad pedigree for someone still in her teens! She then went on to commence her solo career, play with Carrie Underwood, Michael Jackson and Alice Cooper. Now in her early 30s, it will be interesting to see how her career continues to develop.

Choice Pick: “Highly Strung”, an instrumental piece performed with Steve Vai from her 2009 album, Believe.


Capable of fusing blues, rock and hip-hop – Texan Gary Clark Jr.

Gary Clark Jr has shared the stage with B.B. King, Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones. Unsurprisingly, he has also won a Grammy for Best Traditional R&B performance in 2014 after having received a nomination for Best Rock Song the previous year. While players like him still exist, the blues will continue to thrive.

Choice Pick: Released on his 2015 album The Story Of Sonny Boy Slim, my pick would have to be “Grinder”.


Lead guitarist with Creed and Alter Bridge and his own band too, Mark Tremonti

I was never a fan of Creed. Most likely due to not liking the lead singer’s voice, song lyrics and his on and off stage persona. The same band with a different singer in Myles Kennedy, is an entirely different beast. I love Alter Bridge and Tremonti’s guitar playing is a contributing factor. His own band, Tremonti, aren’t difficult to listen to either.

Choice Pick: The undeniably brilliant title track from Alter Bridge, 2007’s “Blackbird”.


Wolfmother guitarist Andrew Stockdale. Australia’s Ritchie Blackmore?

When Wolfmother came to prominence in 2005, many pundits made comparisons to Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, often in a disparaging way. Personally, I believe most musicians are a sum of their influences so I found them a breath of fresh air on the Australian music landscape at the time.

Choice Pick: “Joker & The Thief”, from their 2005 debut album.


Queens Of The Stone Age founder and guitarist, Josh Homme

Josh Homme has quite an extensive body of work having commenced recording at 16 with Kyuss. He has also recorded with Queens Of The Stone Age, Iggy Pop, Eagles Of Death Metal and the supergroup, Them Crooked Vultures. I personally found it quite amusing to see such a large man sharing the stage with someone as diminutive as Iggy Pop.

Choice Pick: With such a diverse range of tracks to choose from it was a difficult choice, but I had to go with Them Crooked Vultures and “Bandoliers”.


Prolific guitarist and live performer, Joe Bonamassa

Bonamassa is something of a child prodigy having opened for B.B.King when he was 12. He is also incredibly prolific. Since 2000 he has released 12 solo studio albums, 16 live albums, three studio collaborations with singer Beth Hart and four studio albums with supergroup Black Country Communion. You do the math!

Choice Pick: Black Country Communion’s signature tune, “Black Country”.


Jack White in full flight

Jack White’s unique guitar stylings were what drove the success of his band, The White Stripes. He has also been quite prolific having recorded six albums with his former band, two with the Raconteurs, three with the Dead Weather and three solo albums.

Choice Pick: “Seven Nation Army”, from the studio album Elephant, released by The White Stripes in 2003.




Albums Of The Month Part 2

I’m pleased about deciding to continue my “Album of the Month” feature on my radio program, The Sunday Smorgasbord. It enables me to play tracks from some of my favourite albums whilst discussing some useless trivia about the album and/or artists. Hopefully it will introduce listeners to something new or let them hear something they haven’t heard for a while. This post covers the second year of the feature.

01 Highway To Hell

AC/DC’s seminal 1979 album – Highway To Hell

I’ve intentionally used the image of  the original Australian pressing of AC/DC’s album Highway To Hell. I think the flames make all the difference in the world to the cover art and find the one used overseas and everywhere today to be rather drab by comparison.

02 Showdown!

The Grammy Award winning album Showdown! featuring Collins, Cray & Copeland

I always advise newcomers to the blues that if they only end up owning one blues album from the 1980s then Showdown! has to be it. The interplay between Albert Collins, Robert Cray and Johnny Copeland is just beautiful to hear.

03 Quadrophenia

The ultimate rock opera, the Who’s Quadrophenia

The Who’s album Tommy may be more famous and Who’s Next , comprising of tracks from their abandoned Lifehouse project, may contain some of their finest moments, but for me the quintessential rock opera is Quadrophenia. I love this album from start to finish (the only way to listen to it).

04 face to face

Face To Face, an essential album for fans of Aussie pub rock

Stalwarts of the Australian pub rock scene, the Angels, hit their straps fairly early on with their career-defining sophomore album, Face To Face, released in 1978.

05 mellon collie

The Smashing Pumpkins reached their peak with Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

Many pundits will tell you that Nirvana’s Nevermind was the album of the 90s decade. Personally, I always found it a toss-up between Blood Sugar Sex Magik by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, OK Computer by Radiohead and this masterpiece from the Smashing Pumpkins. To release a double album of this length which remains “all killer no filler” is an amazing achievement.

06 magic box

1967’s Magic Box from The Loved Ones

I was introduced to this album in the late 1980s after hearing two cover versions of their hit, “The Loved One”, by INXS. It’s hard to imagine now how successful these guys really were in their day despite the brevity of their career. The album was also one of Australia’s earliest to be released in stereo.

07 speaking in tongues

Speaking In Tongues, a classic album from Talking Heads

I think I’m showing my age with the amount of 1980s albums creeping in to my album of the month feature. I loved Talking Heads around this time and enjoyed a midnight screening session of their live concert film, Stop Making Sense, only a few years after this album.

08 ok computer

Radiohead’s finest moment, OK Computer

I still listen to this album today despite it now being 20 years old!

09 endless forms most beautiful

Endless Forms Most Beautiful from Finland’s Nightwish

My album of the year for 2015 was Nightwish’s Endless Forms Most Beautiful. If you have a thing for symphonic metal then you need this in your collection.

10 at last

Etta James released At Last! in 1960

Etta James released one the finest debut albums you will ever hear in November 1960. Worth owning if you don’t already!

11 days of innocence

Days Of innocence featuring the mawkish “What About Me?”

I adore this album despite absolutely detesting their hugely successful single from it, “What About Me?”. Proof that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

12 number of the beast

Iron Maiden introduces Bruce Dickinson as their new lead singer on 1982’s Number Of The Beast

I still consider Number Of The Beast one of Iron Maiden’s finest moments.


I think anyone who decides to go out and buy these “albums of the month” listed here, and those in my previous post on this topic, will certainly end up with an interesting music collection (in my humble opinion).

So Long S’Long Song

When I first commenced my radio program, The Sunday Smorgasbord, it was “our” not “my”. I originally had a co-host who stuck with me for a couple of years and for that, Mark “Knackers” Corlett, I thank you. Since going out on my own I’ve found I like not having too much of a blueprint before I enter the studio. I tend to just “wing it” on the night with the intent to mix it up as much as possible and only have about half a dozen songs in mind for a two-hour show. I know, crazy right?

Over the years I have developed some regular segments whilst retaining my original intention of mainly “winging it”. The last couple of years or so I have ended my show with a segment I dubbed the S’Long Song. This was an opportunity to duck out early whilst playing lengthier tracks that wouldn’t often get an airing on radio. It was my way of saying “so long” each week. Of course some of the more obvious musical acts turn up when you intentionally pick performances longer than 10 minutes. Pink Floyd being the most obvious.

pink floyd

Pink Floyd, not scared of the odd lengthy track

With tracks like “Rime Of The Ancient Mariner” from 1984’s Powerslave album, “Isle Of Avalon” from 2010’s The Final Frontier and the epic “Empire Of The Clouds” from last year’s The Book Of Souls, Iron Maiden were also an obvious choice.


The kings of epic metal tracks, Iron Maiden

Other obvious acts you would expect to hear epic tracks from also turned up such as Led Zeppelin, Meat Loaf, Deep Purple, Dream Theater, The Doors, Therion, Neil Young, Nightwish and King Crimson. What I found interesting was some of the less likely artists that also released lengthier tracks. These included Gillian Welch, Boz Scaggs, Eagles and Chuck Berry!


Concerto B. Goode anyone?

Seeking out new lengthier tracks also provided me the opportunity to hear artists I hadn’t heard before, or in some cases, artists I’d never even heard of. These included Roy Harper, Titus Andronicus, The Seeds, Comus and Chantel McGregor.


A happy discovery, singer-songwriter-guitarist Chantel McGregor

This Sunday night’s show, 29 May 2016, will be the last to feature the S’Long Song segment. I will introduce a new segment to end my show the following week. If you’re interested you can tune in to The Sunday Smorgasbord Sunday nights from 8pm on 98.9 TYGA FM here in the Derwent Valley, Tasmania, stream online from our website at http://www.tygafm.org.au or listen on your mobile device with the TuneIn app.


It is common for bands to have lineup changes. For some bands it is more common than others. Even though the Rolling Stones have always featured the triumvirate of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts they’ve had several guitarists and a couple of bass players. U2 is an exception, as they still feature the original lineup since forming at Mount Temple Comprehensive School in Clontarf, Dublin in their teens way back in 1976. What has always been difficult for a band is when the lead singer changes. The obvious success story here would be AC/DC who have had monumental success with Bon Scott’s replacement, Brian Johnson. Others have not been so successful, just look at INXS for example. One of my favourite bands of the last decade or so has been Finnish band Nightwish. The story of their lead singer role is an interesting one.

The band was formed in Finland in 1996 by lead songwriter and keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen, guitarist Emppu Vuorinen and original lead singer Tarja Turunen. The band released 5 studio albums, an EP and 2 live albums with Tarja on vocals. Some fans believe Nightwish would not have achieved what they have without her vocals providing such a solid foundation for the band. She was opera-trained and has a unique vocal style. She was sacked from the band after the recording of their concert in Helsinki on 21 October 2005. This concert was released as the End Of An Era DVD. Her departure was somewhat acrimonious as she was handed an open letter from the band after the gig which was then published on the official Nightwish webpage. She responded with her own open letter on her own website. She has since had a very successful solo career.

End Of An Era DVD released by Nightwish in 2006

End Of An Era DVD released by Nightwish in 2006

After her departure Tarja was replaced by Swedish singer Anette Olzon. Anette was selected from over 2,000 applicants and officially replaced Tarja in early 2007. She had previously been the lead vocalist with the band Alyson Avenue with whom she recorded two studio albums, Presence Of Mind (2000) and Omega (2002). It was a live DVD of her performance with the band that helped persuade the Nightwish members to select her for the lead singer role. Anette recorded two studio albums and one live album with Nightwish. She was sacked from the band under her own acrimonious circumstances in October 2012. She released her debut studio album in March 2014 with Shine.

Anette Olzon's debut solo album, Shine

Anette Olzon’s debut solo album, Shine

In October 2013 Nightwish announced Dutch singer Floor Jansen as Anette’s replacement. Floor had previously worked as lead singer with the bands After Forever and ReVamp and had replaced Anette during the Nightwish Imaginaerum Tour before becoming her permanent replacement. Like Tarja she is also an opera-trained vocalist. Her first Nightwish release was the live album, Showtime, Storytime , in late 2013. Her first studio album with Nightwish is due to be released in March 2015 and I am looking forward to it immensely. Not just because I am intrigued on how she will sit with the band on original material but also because the album, Endless Forms Most Beautiful, is based on the works of Charles Darwin and features evolutionary biologist and author Richard Dawkins. Roll on March!

Endless Forms Most Beautiful - scheduled for release in March 2015

Endless Forms Most Beautiful – scheduled for release in March 2015

The Waiting Game

Like any music fan I always look forward to new music from my favourite artists. Sometimes the anticipation is almost palpable. But as per usual it never rains it pours.

The next 2 weeks alone will see the release of new music that I will most likely purchase the first day it comes out.

Tarja "Colours In The Dark"

Tarja “Colours In The Dark”

The first will be the new album from Tarja Turunen. Tarja was the original lead singer of Finnish symphonic metal act Nightwish. Her solo career has been almost as successful and her highly anticipated new album “Colours In The Dark” is rumoured to be her heaviest yet.

Nine Inch Nails "Hesitation Marks"

Nine Inch Nails “Hesitation Marks”

The second is the new Nine Inch Nails album “Hesitation Marks”. Trent Reznor has been playing coy in recent years by claiming that Nine Inch Nails were on indefinite hiatus. He has kept himself busy with soundtrack work such as for the film “The Social Network” as well as with his wife’s band “How To Destroy Angels”. All the while he was secretly writing Nine Inch Nails material.

I anticipate these two albums will both be on high rotation at my place from the moment I obtain them!