Nathan introduced me to this band a few years ago, and I've liked them ever since. Nightwish is probably responsible for giving me the taste for metal that I have. (Understandably, this confounds my mother and delights Nathan. "You're such a metal-head like me," he told me today.)
Nightwish is a Finnish/Swedish metal band that's about as old as I am, having debuted on New Year's Eve of 1996. It's gone through a progression from folkish-ambient mood music with metal elements to more exclusively metal to metal with a bit of orchestral sound. Nightwish has had two lead singers. The first was Tarja Turunen, who has this powerful classical voice that can be kind of scary sometimes, but she was dismissed in 2005 and replaced with Anette Olzon, who has a good-but-not-so-powerful voice. That switch of main vocalists naturally influenced their style, so the metal is a little lighter in their recent work.
What I like about this artist:
Nightwish is headbang-worthy. I don't really headbang, but I enjoy music that makes me want to. Metal stuff kind of has a weight that other music doesn't have (maybe that's why they call it "metal"?), and when all that weight is thrown on top of songs that have very little melodic variation and lots of screaming, I don't like it so much. However, when that weight is put into songs that have very singable melodies and lyrics that I can hear--as Nightwish usually does--I tend to like it. (*Note: There are exceptions to this. Occasionally I like songs that are completely screaming and growling and really heavy metal, but I haven't exactly figured out why I like them.) I quite enjoy the imagery in Nightwish's lyrics too: phrases like "the dark rain from her eyes" and "land of the daybreak" and "into a child-man's heart."
PLUS THEY DO ORCHESTRAL VERSIONS OF THEIR SONGS AND I LOVE ORCHESTRAS.
Some of my favorite songs:
"Nemo" - One of the first I ever heard. (Tarja's the vocalist here)
"Creek Mary's Blood" - Instrumental orchestral version. It's very long :P
"Eva" - This is one of their prettiest songs--and very tame. (Anette sings here)
"Storytime" - From Nightwish's most recent album, called Imaginaerum. It's kind of creepy :D