Nightwish timeline


Nightwish timeline


After playing keyboards in several heavy metal bands in the 1990s, including Nattvindens Gråt, Perkele Börk, and Darkwoods My Betrothed, Tuomas Holopainen decided to create his own project.
He soon invited friend and schoolmate Erno “Emppu” Vuorinen to play acoustic guitars, and the classical vocalist Tarja Turunen, who shared the same music teacher, Plamen Dimov.

birth name: Tuomas Lauri Johannes Holopainen

genres: symphonic metal, power metal, gothic metal, progressive folk

instruments: keyboards, synthesizer, piano, vocals, saxophone, clarinet, guitar, bass, drums, percussion

birth name: Erno Matti Juhani Vuorinen

genres: symphonic metal, power metal, hard rock, AOR, black metal

instruments: guitar, bass

birth name: Tarja Soile Susanna Turunen

genres: symphonic metal, symphonic rock, gothic metal, classical-crossover

instruments: vocals, piano, synthesizer

The three musicians recorded their self-titled acoustic demo in winter 1996.

The name “Nightwish” was derived from their 2. song together – the demo also included the song “The Forever Moments”, and an early version of “Etiäinen”.

The Forever Moments 0:01 / Nightwish 5:42 / Etiäinen 11:37


In early 1997, following the release of the Nightwish demo, Jukka “Julius” Nevalainen joined the band, and acoustic guitar was replaced with the electric guitar. The addition of heavy metal elements to the band’s existing experimental style gave the band a different sound, forming the core of the Nightwish sound.

birth name: Jukka Antero Nevalainen

genres: symphonic metal, power metal

instruments: drums, percussion, keyboards


The second demo album, Angels Fall First was released in November 1997 and reached number 31 on the Finnish album charts, with the single “The Carpenter” reaching number 3 on the Finnish singles chart. “The Carpenter” single was released as a split with label mates Children of Bodom and Thy Serpent.

The album is also one of the two releases which feature Holopainen’s vocals, appearing on four of the album’s eleven tracks alongside Turunen’s.

  • 1. "Elvenpath" 4:40
  • 2. "Beauty and the Beast" 6:22
  • 3. "The Carpenter" 5:57
  • 4. "Astral Romance" 5:12
  • 5. "Angels Fall First" 5:34
  • 6. "Tutankhamen" 5:31
  • 7. "Nymphomaniac Fantasia" 4:47
  • 8. "Know Why the Nightingale Sings" 4:14
  • 9. "Lappi (Lapland)" 9:20
  • "Erämaajärvi"
  • "Witchdrums"
  • "This Moment Is Eternity"
  • "Etiäinen"
  • Tarja Turunen – lead vocals
  • Tuomas Holopainen – synthesizers, keyboards, piano, vocals (on track 2, 3, 4, 11)
  • Emppu Vuorinen – lead guitar, acoustic guitar, and bass guitar
  • Jukka Nevalainen – drums and percussion
Additional musicians:
  • Esa Lehtinen – flutes


first tour (1997–1998)

The band made their live debut in their hometown Kitee in December 1997.

Since they were missing a bass player, Samppa Hirvonen (bass, 1997-1998) joined them as a sessional live member. Marianna Pellinen was also a sessional live member as an additional keyboard player and a backing vocalist for Turunen.

There were plans to make Hirvonen a permanent member, but he joined the army as part of Finnish army conscription just as they began recording Oceanborn, so they asked Sami Vänskä to join instead since Tuomas knew him from the band Nattvindens Gråt. During the winter of 1997 and 1998, the band performed only seven times, because Turunen was finishing her schooling, and Nevalainen and Vuorinen were serving their obligatory Finnish military service.

Live at Tavastia club 1997 / Elvenpath; Astral Romance; Beauty and the Beast:


music videos published in 1998:

Nightwish’s first-ever music video “The Carpenter”, taken from the 1997 debut-album “Angels Fall First”; Nightwish – Sacrament of Wilderness; Nightwish – Sacrament of Wilderness:

In 1998 they were joined by bassist Sami Vanskä (Sami Vänskä)

birth name: Sami Vänskä

genres: heavy metal, gothic doom

instruments: bass guitar, drums


On October 7, 1998, Nightwish released their second full-length album, Oceanborn, in Finland only. Adopting a more technical and progressive sound than Angels Fall First, Oceanborn saw the band abandon much of the ambient and folk elements present on their debut release, with the exception of the song “Moondance”. In contrast to the female vocals of Turunen, the album also featured guest growling vocals by Tapio Wilska (ex-Finntroll), since Tuomas did not want to sing again. Wilska is also a former member of Nattvindens Gråt. Oceanborn was an instant success in Finland, reaching number 5 on the Finnish album charts.

  • Stargazers (Album Version)
  • Gethsemane (Album Version)
  • Devil & The Deep Dark Ocean (Album Version)
  • Sacrament Of Wilderness (Album Version)
  • Passion And The Opera (Album Version)
  • Swanheart
  • The Riddler (Album Version)
  • The Pharaoh Sails To Orion (Album Version)
  • Walking In The Air
  • Sleeping Sun
members: Nightwish
  • Tarja Turunen - vocals
  • Tuomas Holopainen - synthesizers, keyboards
  • Emppu Vuorinen - lead guitar
  • Sami Vänskä - bass guitar
  • Jukka Nevalainen - drums and percussion
Guest musicians
  • Tapio Wilska - male vocals
  • Esa Lehtinen - flutes
  • Plamen Dimov, Kaisli Kaivola - violins
  • Markku Palola - viola
  • Erkki Hirvikangas - cello

The album’s first single, “Sacrament of Wilderness”, hit number 1 on the Finnish singles charts, where it stayed for several weeks.

Nightwish – Sacrament of Wilderness:


In May 1999, Nightwish recorded the single “Sleeping Sun (Four Ballads of the Eclipse)”, and in one month the single sold 15,000 copies in Germany alone. Following the band’s first international success, Nightwish was added as the opening band for Rage’s 1999 European tour. Both the album Oceanborn and the singles “Sacrament of Wilderness” and “Walking in the Air” were certified gold in Finland in August 1999.

Sleeping Sun; Walking In The Air:


While in the studio in early 2000 working on their third album, Nightwish was accepted in the Finnish Eurovision Song Contest tryouts with the song “Sleepwalker”. Despite winning the public vote, Nightwish eventually finished in second place.

Deep Silent Complete is the single by Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish, from their album Wishmaster. Single released in 2000.

Nightwish – Deep Silent Complete (with lyrics):

On May 19, 2000, Nightwish released their third studio album Wishmaster. This debuted at No. 1 on the Finnish album charts and was certified gold in Finland after three weeks at number one.

  • 1. She's my Sin 0:00:00
  • 2. "The Kinslayer" 0:04:47
  • 3. "Come Cover Me" 0:08:47
  • 4. "Wanderlust" 0:13:20
  • 5. "Two for Tragedy" 0:18:11
  • 6. "Wishmaster" 0:22:01
  • 7. "Bare Grace Misery" 0:26:26
  • 8. "Crownless" 0:30:07
  • 9. "Deep Silent Complete" 0:34:35
  • 10. "Dead Boy's Poem" 0:38:34
  • 11. "FantasMic" 0:45:20
  • Tarja Turunen - vocals
  • Tuomas Holopainen - keyboards
  • Emppu Vuorinen - lead guitar
  • Sami Vänskä - bass guitar
  • Jukka Nevalainen - drums and percussion
guest musicians:
  • Ike Vil - spoken parts in "The Kinslayer"
  • Sam Hardwick - spoken parts in "Dead Boy's Poem"
  • Esa Lehtinen - flute
  • Ville Laaksonen, Matias Kaila - tenor singers
  • Kimmo Kallio - baritone singer
  • Riku Salminen, Anssi Honkanen - bass singers
  • Ville Laaksonen - choir arrangements

Allmusic citing the album as repetitive, and saying “as a whole album, it can be a little annoying, even frustrating”.

German magazine Rock Hard declared Wishmaster “Album of the Month”, despite competing against long-awaited May releases from Iron Maiden and Bon Jovi

.Following the release of Wishmaster, Nightwish embarked on their first world tour, playing dates in South America, Mexico, Canada, and the first headlining European tour with Sinergy and Eternal Tears of Sorrow. In the summer, the band returned to Europe, appearing at the Wacken Open Air festival and the Biebop Metal Fest.


In 2001, Nightwish recorded a cover of Gary Moore’s “Over the Hills and Far Away” together with two new songs (“10th Man Down”, unreleased from Oceanborn sessions, and “Away”, unreleased from Wishmaster sessions) and a remake of “Astral Romance” (from the Angels Fall First album) with Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica) singing Tuomas’ part.

Over the Hills and Far Away; 10th Man Down; Away:

The record also included guest performances by Tapio Wilska once again on “10th Man Down”. Nightwish’s version of “Over the Hills and Far Away” was well received by fans, becoming a frequent part of the band’s live performances, but the other songs never had a great break-through and have not been re-released. with the exception of a live performance of “10th Man Down” on the End of Innocence DVD with Marco Hietala (current bass player and male vocalist). In the same year, they also released (as VHS, DVD, and CD) their first live album, From Wishes to Eternity, recorded during a show in Tampere, Finland, on December 29, 2000.

The band leaves Vansk for personal reasons, followed by Marko Hietala from the band Tarot, who, besides the role of a bass player, also plays the role of an additional male vocalist.


birth name: Marko Tapani Hietala

genres: heavy metal, symphonic metal, power metal

instruments: bass guitar, vocals, guitar, synthesizers, drums



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