Richard Dawkins to be featured in upcoming Nightwish album

Feb 13, 2015

Richard Dawkins with Nightwish’s Tuomas Holopainen

“Endless Forms Most Beautiful” is an upcoming 78-minute epic by the Finland-based symphonic metal band “Nightwish”.

The album is inspired by the wonders of the natural world, featuring Professor Richard Dawkins as a narrator and a very special guest in two of the album`s songs (“Shudder Before The Beautiful” & “The Greatest Show On Earth”)!


The album will be out on:

27.03 (EU), 30.03 (UK), 31.03 (US)

For more information visit their website.

59 comments on “Richard Dawkins to be featured in upcoming Nightwish album

  • “Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” Charles Darwin, scientist and poet.

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  • I listen to music from a lot of different genres, but Metal was not among them. Seems like this will change in March. Happy about such a great project!

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  • I’m not into the terminology. Were Led Zeppelin metal ? Or just heavy rock ? My experience with other narrations plus music is that they can be very powerful, or else go horribly wrong. I hope this one is powerful !

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  • Led Zepplin were formed from the Yardbirds (called the New Yardbirds until they changed their name to reflect a bad gig) who were credited with having a “heavy metalic” sound in one review so it could be argued The New Yardbirds/Led Zeppelin were the original heavy metal band.

    However I ignore music genres since they seem to me a bit like religion, people get all dogmatic about what something is or isn’t then argue that it’s “always been that way” despite history saying otherwise (Hip-hop fans are the worst). I knew a guitar tutor/writer who was a massive Led Zeppelin fan and told me he absolutely hated heavy metal music. That confused me even back in the late 80s but nowadays it’s even more contentious.

    I heard a lovely story about something a younger family member said, exaplaining that heavy metal was invented by the band “Metallica” (bless). On a phone pop quiz app I used to play, all the stuff I used to know as heavy metal was under the genre of “classic rock” whereas heavy metal sounded like what was once called speed or Thrash Metal (Motorhead inspired, high tempo usually involving twin bass drums and self-obsessed neo-classical guitarists) or Doom Metal (like thrash at 1/2 tempo)

    All I can say is the older you get, the harder it is to define genras. probably because it makes no sense. Usually a radio DJ or music journo decides these things and their followers agree and get angry with anyone who claims they don’t get it. The pundits are like prophets turning over existing dogma, then all the wanabe musicians try to emulate the same thing and get rich spreading the new dogma so they’re like the priests

    Hope that helps. Avoid genres, you’ll always be a heretic to someone

    The Studio Cat

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  • 11
    maria melo says:

    I have never heard of “symphonic metal” (sorry for my ignorance), and wondered if it was too noisy (not that I dislike heavy metal), and I got surprised of course (I have listen to the new released single Elan).

    Reminding Richard Dawkins, in not an exact quotation: nature can be even more surreal than surrealism (I have quoted to a friend of mine who paints) sharing a video.

    This “friend” of mine used to paint fish as current theme, and as I had never seen a flying fish, didn´t know it really existed, so I thought her painting was “surrealism”- when I saw her painting of flying fish.
    What a mess!

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  • You got me thinking about guest narrations now…

    Orson Welles; Defender (Manowar)
    Vincent Price; The Black Widow (Alice Cooper)
    Christopher Lee; The Magic of a Wizards Dream (Rhapsody of Fire)
    Barry Clayton; Number of the Beast (Iron Maiden)

    So this tells me if you want to make it as a rock narrator, you either need a deep voice or be a famous vampire (That’s right, Barry Clayton voiced Count Duckular). Can Richard buck the trend?

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  • Never really been a Metal fan but Pink Floyd are described as Rock. Rock beats Metal in my game of Roshambo.

    Except a little known group from Wales that were called Budgie.

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  • Hi Olgun,
    Yes that’s true about PF being rock. Classic rock to be specific. I have the greatest sentimental affection for these bands but I can easily lean over into the metal category if the occasion should arise. 🙂

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  • Hi LaurieB

    I preferred the Northern Soul that hit London in the 70s although Bowie was someone I listened to and liked/still like. I secretly liked classical music too. Was never into Rock and def not Metal. When my sister got married, my brother-in-law gave me an LP of Budgie. I was instantly hooked. There is some Rock and Metal I can listen too but find it hard because I like the authentic british 70s stuff. There are a few things the Americans are behind Europe on and that is one of them. For me the American Metal stars are too clean cut, but thats just me. The track below has been done by Metallica but the original was by Budgie. Everything about it is superior in my book and the vocals are out of this world. The album covers are great as well. Would love RD to do a voiceover this too. Greed needs to be addressed also.

    Wont play direct so here is the link

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  • So are you saying that Metallica is more clean cut than this band Budgie? Seems the opposite to me. I won’t make a generalization here since I’ve never heard of Budgie before this but they don’t even seem metal to me at all! Folksy even! It just isn’t metal to me unless there’s lots of hair and sweat and the air of masculinity is so thick you could cut it with a knife. American guys do this very well. 😉

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  • Google some photos and you will see the hair…….lots of hair.

    Budgie are a Welsh hard rock/heavy metal band from Cardiff. They are
    described by author Gary Sharpe-Young as one of the earliest heavy
    metal bands and a seminal influence to many acts of that scene,[2]
    with fast, heavy rock (an influence on the New Wave of British Heavy
    Metal (NWOBHM) and acts such as Metallica)[3] being played as early as
    1971.[4] The band has been noted as “among the heaviest metal of its day”.[5]

    Masculinity? If it ain’t camp then it ain’t metal. 🙂

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  • Mr DArcy, part of your confusion stems from the fact that music has splintered into so many genres and sub-genres that it is hard to keep track.

    The best way to think of Nightwish is as “symphonic metal with Celtic overtones” – the “metal” basically meaning rock and roll with a fair amount of double-bass work and a bit of, shall we call it, aggressive lyrics (this isn’t Celine Dion). Nightwish does not do a lot of screamo and they avoid the classic metal trap of albums full of songs that all sound alike and all played like meth addicts on testosterone boosters but there is no question that the music has a lot of energy. The lyrics are interesting and thoughtful and classic rock/metal beats are leavened with a lot of world music influences. In short, if you like interesting music played with enormous talent and energy, then you’ll love Nightwish.

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  • Yep can concurr Budgie are very much NWOBHM. I even saw them play at The Corndolly in Oxford, ergo they must be metal (otherwise they’d have played the Jericho Tavern)

    fact is bands like Metallica have changed peoples perception of the genre into something much narrower than it used to be. If I dig out any 70s metal vinyl now, it’s hard to describe what genre it would belong to if released today

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  • My son has been trying to persuade me that Metal is the classical music de nos jour. He argues that Nightwish are the Romantic end, undermined, if anything, by the ease with which it is consumed. They have a restricted and insufficiently challenging pallette. I think he’s about right, but for me Metal has a restricted pallette, now shorn of its rock roots, and though it appeals to sonic scale the emotional journey it offers is shorter.

    Jon Lord and Frank Zappa produced the real Classical McCoy. Jon Lord produced intense excitement, Sibelius et al on acid, in the 3rd movement of the Concerto for Group and Orchestra. (The 1999 LSO’s enthusiasm so much better than the original 1969 RPO’s sniffy disdain.) Zappa then climaxes in the G-spot Tornado…Ginastera on acid, were that possible.

    Nightwish, though is a very attractive sound and their sentiments are bang on.

    Links follow.

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  • Budgie? Yes!

    Northern Soul? Yes!

    Classical? No choice. I was dragged away from those noisy boys the Quarry Men performing at our local village show and taken to the local Philharmonic concerts regularly. It opened me up to the best in every genre after that. Only Simon Cowell stands between me and musical heaven.

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  • Frank Zappa should get more credit from us atheists. A quote by him:

    Get smart and I’ll fuck you over — sayeth The Lord.
    — Frank Zappa, regarding Christianity’s apparent preference for perpetuation of ignorance as a way of life

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  • Classical? No choice. I was dragged away from those noisy boys the
    Quarry Men performing at our local village show and taken to the local
    Philharmonic concerts regularly.

    I knew about classical of course but shunned it. My love and understanding came about suddenly. I was 16 when I set my new radio alarm clock to wake me for work. I set it, so I thought, to Radio1 which would have had the latest pop music greeting me in the morning. Accidentally I set it to a classical station, must have been Radio4? Instead of waking me up, I had the most wonderful dream of horses of all colours, in a sort of Grand Canyon type setting, running through streams and pebbles and trees and grass having a great time. This was all to Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez playing in the background. I have never been so late for work ever since. It took me a long time to pluck up the courage to go and ask my local record shop about a guitar concerto that I knew nothing about. Luckily he did and played me a sample and I bought it ‘for my nan’. It was conducted by Andre Previn and is the best version I have heard.

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  • Bonnie,

    I wish there was a dedicated ‘music’ thread.

    On one of the previous renovations of this website I requested a dedicated book thread. Occasionally a thread comes up for discussion of a book but by the time I get the book and read it the thread has disappeared off the cliff into oblivion. We had a thread on the book Sexual Fluidity just lately. I have the book on my couch right next to me, half read, but now not inspired to go back and find that dead thread. 🙁 Music thread sounds interesting too.

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  • Hopefully the Mods will see this as a chance to show we atheists are human after all and allow a little emotion to come through in things we love. (Failing that, mention RD in every post and see what happens 😉 )

    Thanks for the introduction to another composer that I have taken an instant liking too bonnie. I am terrible in that most comentaters on music and art have a tendency to disappear up their own backsides which totally puts me off pursuing my love any further. This means that I find things by accident and sometimes that in itself is a massive buzz. The most recent, and I have posted this before, emotional experience with music I have had is with the concert below. Not only the wonderful instrument of Gregory Porter but the whole concert with magical musicians. Watch out for the amazing performance by Bart Van Lier in the finale ‘1960 What’ that sets a new standard on the trombone as far as I am concerned. As with most experiences, the timing has to be rights, only watch this when you have the time and the can crank up the volume and hope you enjoy it.

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  • requested a dedicated book thread

    I remember, alas, fell on deaf ears. If only we had a magic wand, lol. Literature / music are topics everyone can comment on (and perhaps garner more site traffic (hello!)).

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  • The first sounding like a cheap Jack Black film

    As Noel Coward had it, though…Strange how potent cheap music can be.

    I love all things art not least for the reminder of our irreconcilable aesthetic differences.

    I guess you had to be there…

    Zappa? Yes he did.

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  • As I said below, it is an in the moment thing so can appreciate others liking somethings I don’t. I can only be honest and the first things that popped into my head was Jack Black for the first and, I hope this doesn’t sound wrong, a white man trying to do black music for the second. It had no soul. Don’t mean to offend in any way.

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  • Just to echo your ‘had to be there’ moment Phil, I don’t know if you have ever dabbled in foreign music to this extent, this piece of music, and musician, has moments, notes, that cut into me. It ties in with another thread in which I had to have words with Stafford on his question, “why do they have to shout so”? It is a culture thing and a woman beating her chest shouting in the streets because her child has been killed can somehow come out in notes like this piece.

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  • LaurieB,

    Yes she is Turkish. Born in Germany though. The instrument is called a ‘Saz’. There is a larger version called an ‘Oud’ and versions with more strings. My Turkish is pretty bad and even with an Internet translation, some words are being translated in different ways either due to poetic licence or dialect. I think, the gist of it is about her being very sick and what it has done to her beauty (not her but her in the song). I have asked a member of my family to help translate and hope he can help. Some words have translated as a month long fever with dreams and narcissism.

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  • I hope I am very catholic in my tastes, Olgun. At school we had the marvellous Ben Mandelson, an astonishing musician (Womex, 3 Mustafa 3, Globestyle Record label) who opened us all up to world music, particularly African and Middle Eastern.

    Ozlem Ozdil is just wonderful, far more authentic than an earlier favourite of mine Yasmin Levy. (Jewish family out of Turkey doing Jewish, Moorish, Iranian crossover material perhaps now a little too smoothed out.)

    I used to have a huge collection of Indian classical music. I found myself in great sympathy with it.

    I think opportunities to discuss our aesthetics are important. I feel we need to do more to rediscover our differences.

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  • Your upbringing seems like the one I used to dream about Phil….WOW!

    Thanks for introducing me to Yasmin Levy. Great voice and some of the crossovers I listened to work but the authenticity of Ozlem is timeless.

    My contribution to aesthetics would be limited when I see what is on offer here but I would love to read what others have to say and make my offerings also.

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  • Man, that is some kind of groovy! I peeked at Gregory Porter’s bio – seems he was/is influenced by Nat King Cole (gentle as a breeze) and Billy Withers (♥).

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