"Endless Forms Most Beautiful", the new album from Finnish / Dutch / British symphonic metallers NIGHTWISH, sold more than 18,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 34 on The Billboard 200 chart.
NIGHTWISH's previous CD, "Imaginaerum", opened with 12,000 units to land at No. 27 on The Billboard 200 chart. The band's 2007 effort, "Dark Passion Play", registered a first-week tally of 11,000 to enter the chart at No. 84.
"Endless Forms Most Beautiful" was made available on March 27 in Europe and March 31 in the U.S. via Nuclear Blast.
The "Élan" four-track single, which arrived on February 13, features the album version of the title cut, a radio edit and an alternate version of "Élan", as well as the non-album bonus track "Sagan".
The cover artwork for "Endless Forms Most Beautiful" was created by the band's longtime collaborator Toxic Angel. Famed evolutionary biologist and atheist writer/leader Richard Dawkins appears as a guest on the effort.
Longtime NIGHTWISH drummer Jukka Nevalainen sat out the recording sessions for "Endless Forms Most Beautiful" due to health issues. He has sicne been replaced by Kai Hahto (WINTERSUN, SWALLOW THE SUN, TREES OF ETERNITY).
"Endless Forms Most Beautiful" features eleven new songs and was released in different formats:
* Standard CD
* Digibook (including instrumental CD)
* 2LP (vinyl in gatefold) in different colors
* Earbook (including instrumental and orchestral CD)
* Earbook (deluxe version including bonus vinyl)
NIGHTWISH keyboard player and main songwriter Tuomas Holopainen comments: "There's a kind of scientific approach to a lot of things on the album. Songs like 'Shudder Before The Beautiful', 'Endless Forms Most Beautiful', 'The Greatest Show On Earth' and 'Alpenglow' all somehow reflect the bliss of existence. It's temporary character. Evolution… Maybe you could even talk about the poetic nature of science. Natural science and its paradigm seem to represent something cold and boring to a lot of people. Hopefully we can illustrate with this album — that science can even be something profoundly spiritual."
Adds drummer Kai Hahto: "It's a perfect theme to an album. Like, how did we come to be? And when our time here is done, what kind of mark do we leave? It's a pretty amazing theme."
NIGHTWISH's new video, "Èlan", can be seen below. The clip was shot in Finland at various locations between September and November 2014, and it was directed by Ville Lipiäinen.
Regarding "Élan", Holopainen said: "'Oh, while I live to be the ruler of life, Not a slave. To meet life as a powerful conqueror, and nothing exterior to me will ever take command of me.' This beautiful quote from my hero Uncle Walt [Walt Whitman] was the starting point for writing 'Élan'.
"The underlying theme of the song is nothing less than the meaning of life, which can be something different for all of us.
"It's important to surrender yourself to the occasional 'free fall' and not to fear the path less travelled by."
The "Endless Forms Most Beautiful" title came from Charles Darwin's "The Origin Of Species" book, where he wrote: "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, while 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."
Singer Floor Jansen, who officially joined the band in 2013, made her live debut as the frontwoman of NIGHTWISH on October 1, 2012 at Showbox Sodo in Seattle, Washington.