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Nightwish Oceanborn.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedDecember 7, 1998
RecordedAugust–October 1998
StudioCaverock Studios, Kitee, Finland
LabelSpinefarm (Finland)
Drakkar (Europe)
Toy's Factory (Japan)
ProducerTuomas 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 (promo)
  3. "Walking in the Air"
    Released: 1 January 1999
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Metal Storm10/10 stars[4]
Chronicles of Chaos10/10 stars[5]

Oceanborn is the second studio album by Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish, released in December 1998 in Finland[6] and in the spring of 1999 worldwide.[7] Oceanborn has sold more than 68,000 copies in Finland.[8] The single "Sleeping Sun" was released in August 1999, and the song has been included in every re-issue of the album since then. The album was released in the US by Century Media in March 2001.[9]


Speaking to Kerrang! in 2008, band founder Tuomas Holopainen reminisced that 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."[10] He added:

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.[10]

According to Kerrang!, "for all its Royal Albert Hall grandiosity, Oceanborn was actually recorded in a Finnish school."[10]


This album marked a definitive change in musical scope for Nightwish from their 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 Holopainen's biggest inspiration, hence the power metal sound of the album.[11] 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 TV special The Snowman, as typical examples; however, the song "Gethsemane", has a more religious feel to it. 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 was still performed often until 2003. In 2007 it returned to the setlist but after 2008, it wasn't performed again until the Decades: World Tour in 2018. Both "Sleeping Sun" and "Walking in the Air" have also been performed often on shows. "Walking in the Air" returned to the live set list of the band on September 19, 2009 at Hartwall Areena, as an acoustic song sung by then-vocalist Anette Olzon.[12] Having been dropped from their live shows since Turunen's dismissal in 2005, "Stargazers" returned to the live set list on the Endless Forms Most Beautiful World Tour, with Floor Jansen as their newest singer in 2015.[13]

In recent years, former vocalist Tarja Turunen released covers from two Oceanborn songs: "Stargazers", on a live version (recorded March 27, 2011) that can be heard on the CD/DVD Luna Park Ride; and "Swanheart", also a live recording (April 2013) with Tarja performing accompanied by a symphonic orchestra, choir and Mike Terrana on drums, that can be heard on the CD/DVD Beauty and the Beat (Tarja album).

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics are written by Tuomas Holopainen, except where noted; all music is composed by Holopainen, except where noted.

3."Devil & the Deep Dark Ocean" (feat. Tapio Wilska)4:46
4."Sacrament of Wilderness" (music: Holopainen, Emppu Vuorinen)4:12
5."Passion and the Opera"4:50
7."Moondance" (instrumental)3:31
8."The Riddler"5:16
9."The Pharaoh Sails to Orion" (feat. Tapio Wilska)6:26
10."Walking in the Air" (Howard Blake cover; lyrics and music: Blake)5:31


Credits for Oceanborn adapted from liner notes.



Country Organization Year Sales
Finland IFPI 2001 Platinum (+ 40,000)[19]


  1. ^ a b Ravelin, Antti J. "Nightwish – Oceanborn review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  2. ^ DiVita, Joe (5 July 2017). "Top 25 Power Metal Albums of All Time". Loudwire. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  3. ^ Mape Ollila (2008). Once Upon a Nightwish: The Official Biography 1996-2006. Bazillion Points. p. 86. ISBN 9780979616327.
  4. ^ a b "Nightwish – Oceanborn". Metal Storm. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  5. ^ Rocher, David. "Nightwish – Oceanborn". Chronicles of Chaos. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  6. ^ ""Oceanborn" Is Released". Nightwish's Official Website. 7 December 1998. Archived from the original on 2 January 2010. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  7. ^ "Oceanborn releases worldwide". Nightwish's Official Website. 16 February 1999. Archived from the original on 2 January 2010. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  8. ^ "Tilastot - Nightwish" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  9. ^ "Nightwish releases to hit the USA". Nightwish's Official Website. 22 February 2001. Archived from the original on 2 January 2010. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  10. ^ a b c Ruskell, Nick (16 August 2008). "Treausre Chest. An Ultimate Portrait of a Life in Rock. Tuomas Holopainen.". Kerrang!. 1223. London, UK: Bauer Media Group. p. 54.
  11. ^ "Tuomas Holopainen Official: The Escapist - Biography". Tuomas-holopainen.com. 12 May 2012. Archived from the original on 1 July 2014. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  12. ^ http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/nightwish/2009/hartwall-areena-helsinki-finland-3d7890f.html
  13. ^ http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/nightwish-fan-filmed-video-footage-of-philadelphia-concert/
  14. ^ "Nightwish - Oceanborn (album)". Finnishcharts.com. Media Control Charts. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  15. ^ "Album – Nightwish, Oceanborn". Charts.de (in German). Media Control Charts. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  16. ^ "Nightwish – Sacrament of Wilderness (song)". Finnishcharts.com. Media Control Charts. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  17. ^ a b "Nightwish – Walking in the Air (song)". Finnishcharts.com. Media Control Charts. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  18. ^ "Single – Nightwish, Sleeping Sun". Charts.de (in German). Media Control Charts. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  19. ^ "IFPI Tilastot: Nightwish". Musiikkituottajat. Retrieved 3 January 2010.

External links[edit]