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Studio album by Nightwish
Released December 7, 1998
Recorded 1998
Genre Power metal, symphonic metal
Length 57:25
Label Spinefarm, Drakkar, Century Media
Producer Tuomas Holopainen, Tero Kinnunen
Nightwish chronology
Angels Fall First
Singles from Oceanborn
  1. "Sacrament of Wilderness"
    Released: 26 November 1998
  2. "Passion and the Opera"
    Released: December 1998
  3. "Walking in the Air"
    Released: 1 January 1999
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]

Oceanborn is the second album of Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish, released in October 1998 in Finland and in the Spring of 1999 worldwide.[2][3] Oceanborn has sold more than 68,000 copies in Finland.[4]


According to Tuomas Holopainen, founder of Nightwish, the band got really ambitious after the debut album "that was never meant to be released as a proper record. It happened almost by accident, so we decided to put everything into making Oceanborn great," he added.[5] Speaking to Kerrang! in 2008, he reminisced:

We were all such amateurs when it came to recording. We didn't really know what we were doing, so we were just experimenting with a lot of different things, we even brought in this string trio who were complete shit, then another violin, then another violin on top. So we ended up with 'Moondance' having 20 tracks of violin, just because we hadn't done this before and didn't know what we were doing! It's a pretty stuffed album, but I also think it's one of our best because you can hear the excitement of trying all these new things. It seems strange that this became a breakthrough album, because back at the time the music was so funny. It was really operatic, and when you look at the pictures, they look pretty horrific.[5]

According to Kerrang!, "for all its Royal Albert Hall grandiosity, Oceanborn was actually recorded in a Finnish school.[5]


This album marked a definitive change in musical scope from its folk-laden roots in Angels Fall First, showcasing a more bombastic, power metal-oriented sound with faster tempos, harmonic guitar/keyboard leads, and plenty of double-bass-heavy drumwork. During that time, Stratovarius was Tuomas' biggest inspiration hence the power metal sound of the album.[6] Oceanborn's sound hearkens a more dramatic approach in the overall musical scope, mostly relegated to the symphonic keyboard work and lead singer Tarja Turunen's vocals. Most of the album is fantasy-themed with tracks like "Swanheart" and "Walking in the Air", a cover from the animated motion picture The Snowman; however, other songs, such as "Gethsemane", have a more religious feel to them. In addition, there are also some theatrical tracks like "Devil & the Deep Dark Ocean". Oceanborn is among their darkest albums, making use of the harsh vocals of Tapio Wilska in the songs "The Pharaoh Sails to Orion" and "Devil & the Deep Dark Ocean".

Live performances[edit]

Since the album's release, "Sacrament of Wilderness" has remained a fan-favorite at concerts, and it's still performed often. Both "Sleeping Sun" and "Walking in the Air" have also been performed often on shows, but "Stargazers" has been dropped since Turunen's dismissal in 2005. "Walking in the Air" returned to the live setlist of the band at September 19, 2009 at Hartwall Arena, this time as an acoustic song and sung by ex-vocalist Anette Olzon.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Stargazers" (originally titled "Aztecs") Tuomas Holopainen 4:28
2. "Gethsemane"   Holopainen & Emppu Vuorinen 5:22
3. "Devil & the Deep Dark Ocean" (feat. Tapio Wilska) Holopainen 4:46
4. "Sacrament of Wilderness" (first single) Holopainen & Vuorinen 4:12
5. "Passion and the Opera" (promo single) Holopainen & Vuorinen 4:50
6. "Swanheart"   Holopainen 4:44
7. "Moondance" (instrumental) Holopainen 3:31
8. "The Riddler"   Holopainen & Vuorinen 5:16
9. "The Pharaoh Sails to Orion" (feat. Tapio Wilska) Holopainen 6:26
10. "Walking in the Air" (Howard Blake cover) Howard Blake 5:31

Sales and certifications[edit]

Country Certification
(sales thresholds)
Finland 2x Platinum[7]


Credits for Oceanborn adapted from liner notes.


  1. ^ Ravelin, Antti J. "Nightwish Oceanborn". Allmusic. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "Nightwish releases to hit the USA". Nightwish.com. Retrieved 2009-11-06. 
  3. ^ "Oceanborn releases worldwide". Nightwish.com. Retrieved 2009-11-06. 
  4. ^ "Nightwish albums". Ifpi.fi. Retrieved 2009-11-06. 
  5. ^ a b c Ruskell, Nick. Kerrang! August 16, 2008, #1223. Treasure Chest. An Ultimate Portrait of a Life in Rock. Tuomas Holopainen. p 54
  6. ^ "Tuomas Holopainen Official: The Escapist - Biography". Tuomas-holopainen.com. 2012-05-12. Retrieved 2014-07-28. 
  7. ^ "IFPI Tilastot: Nightwish". Ifpi.fi. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 

External links[edit]