Saturday, April 4, 2015

April 4th, 2015 - Endless [Chimay Première Ales] Most Beautiful

Good evening!  The Meister here pairing "Endless Forms Most Beautiful" (2-Disc Mediabook), the latest from Finnish symphonic power metal band Nightwish and a Chimay Première Ale from Bières de Chimay S.A.!
Album Info:
  • Artist: Nightwish
  • Title: "Endless Forms Most Beautiful" (2-Disc Mediabook)
  • Recorded: August through September 28th, 2014 at Röskö Campsite in Eno, Finland and  October 2014 in London
  • Release date: March 31st, 2015
  • Record company: Nuclear Blast/Roadrunner
  • Album cover art: Janne & Gina Pitkänen
  • Personnel: Troy Donockley – uilleann pipes, low whistle, bodhran, bouzouki, lead vocals (on tracks 6 and 8), and backing vocals (on tracks 3, 6, 8, 9, and 10), Marco Hietala (bass guitar, lead vocals (on tracks 2, 4 and 11), acoustic guitars, and backing vocals (on tracks 3, 5, 6, 7, and 8), Tuomas Holopainen (keyboards and piano), Floor Jansen (lead vocals), and Emppu Vuorinen (guitars)
  • Additional guest musicians: Richard Dawkins (narration in "Shudder Before the Beautiful" and "The Greatest Show on Earth"), Kai Hahto (drums), Metro Voices (choir), James Shearman (Conductor), and Pip Williams (orchestral arrangements)
  • Musical style: Symphonic metal, power metal, folk metal, gothic metal, progressive metal
  • Sound: Bombastic, cinematic, heavy, symphonic - just a few of the terms used to describe the sound of Nightwish.  Jansen's first album with the band is a triumph.  Her huge vocal range is both beautiful and mesmerizing.  The band is as tight as ever and Donockley's addition as a full-time member is very welcome.  He brings a wonderful depth and originality to the already amazing and brilliant line-up of Hietala, Holopainen, and Vuorinen! 
  • Major themes: A loose concept album inspired by the writings of naturalist Charles Darwin, Holopainen states that themes include "beauty of life, the beauty of existence, nature, science".  He adds, "The previous album was a tribute to the power of imagination. Endless Forms Most Beautiful would be an equal tribute to science and the power of reason."
  • Tracks: 
Disc 1:
  1. "Shudder Before The Beautiful"
  2. "Weak Fantasy"
  3. "Élan"
  4. "Yours Is An Empty Hope"
  5. "Our Decades In The Sun"
  6. "My Walden"
  7. "Endless Forms Most Beautiful"
  8. "Edema Ruh"
  9. "Alpenglow"
  10. "The Eyes Of Sharbat Gula"
  11. "The Greatest Show On Earth"
Disc 2:
  1. "Shudder Before The Beautiful" (instrumental)
  2. "Weak Fantasy" (instrumental)
  3. "Élan" (instrumental)
  4. "Yours Is An Empty Hope" (instrumental)
  5. "Our Decades In The Sun" (instrumental)
  6. "My Walden" (instrumental)
  7. "Endless Forms Most Beautiful" (instrumental)
  8. "Edema Ruh" (instrumental)
  9. "Alpenglow" (instrumental)
  10. "The Eyes Of Sharbat Gula" (instrumental)
  11. "The Greatest Show On Earth" (instrumental)
    Brew Info:
  • Brewery: Bières de Chimay S.A. (Belgium)
  • Website:
  • Brew: Chimay Première Ale
  • Style: Belgian Dubbel
  • Serving: 22 ounce bottle
  • ABV: 7%
  • Pour: A lovely, hazy, reddish burnt-caramel hue with a bright, white, and creamy "firm and unctuous" head.
  • Nose: The nose of the Chimay Première Ale is characterized by big fruit ester aromas, cocoa, a hint of wild yeast, and bready grains.  There are aromas of ripe plums, apricots, cherry, lemon, and Tootsie Roll.
  • Taste: The flavor of the Chimay Première Ale is as bold, inviting, and complex as the nose.  There are rich notes of dark fruits (raisin, plum, black cherry, fig), soft caramel/toffee malt, spices, tart lemon, and a very slight hint of barnyard funk.  As my buddy Chad would say, "It tastes like a Tootsie-pop!"
  • Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied with high carbonation, the mouthfeel is silky and frothy with a slight bitterness in the finish.
Overall pairing: The bold and complex flavors of the Chimay Première Ale are the perfect listening companion to the bombastic and beautiful symphonic metal stylings of Nightwish's "Endless Forms Most Beautiful".  I picked up "Endless Forms Most Beautiful" (2-Disc Mediabook) from my buddy Kevin at the Heavy Metal Shop ( you should too!  :)


"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, whilst 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."  -Charles Darwin

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