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Nightwish - Dark Passion Play CD (album) cover

DARK PASSION PLAY

Nightwish

 

Progressive Metal

3.84 | 146 ratings

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The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars One of the few bands whose inclusion here in PA I've ever questioned, NIGHTWISH have finally released an album that I can fully accept as belonging to the progressive-metal genre.

There's no need for my describing how this band sounds like or what their major influences are. The female-fronted, power-metal Finnish outfit is widely known around the globe and doesn't need an introduction.

This is NIGHTWISH's first album with their new vocalist, Annete Olzon, and while her voice may not be as powerful or wide-range as that of her predecessor, Tarja Turunen, I think it's safe to say that her inclusion in the band has helped to make it a better, more progressive group.

The reason lies exactly in the comparatively-lower range and power of Olzon. Now that Holopainen (the band's mastermind) has a more delicate and normal voice to work with, he has been forced to improve his songwriting, expand the array of instruments his music needs, and create songs that fit his vocalist as perfect as possible.

That's why, in "Dark Passion Play", we hear better songs. Unlike other NIGHTWISH albums, we are not bored after four or five repetive tracks here. All the tracks are good because they're varied, with lots of moods and tempos. A lot of atmosphere has been brought into the mix. The orchestration has been given much more emphasis and importance on this record. Melodies are better, choruses are better. To compensate for the lack of sheer power of Olzon's vocals, more male voices have been added, now taking close to 40 percent of the album's time.

The first sign of the quality and progressiveness of this new album by NIGHTWISH is the first song, without a doubt the best in the album. "The Poet and The Pendulum" amazes with its unusual structure, its heroic and memorable chorus, its energy, it's breathtaking musicianship. Probably the best song in the band's career. Other highlights are "Whoever Brings The Night" and "7 Days of the Wolves."

The musicianship as always is top-notch, as it's the crystal-clear recording. Olzon's clean, soft, tender and magical voice can be heard with clarity and the moments when she sings the most melodic parts of the record are excellent, of a rare power-metal beauty. Holopainen and the guitarist don't need to prove themselves, but they continue to impress.

All in all, this is NIGHTWISH's best album so far, and a welcome step towards progression. For the first time, I can say that this Finnish band really has created progressive-power-metal music.

With a few more songs in the vein of "The Poet and The Pendulum", we could be sure to give NIGHTWISH a 5 star rating. Let's hope the future is even proggier for the Finns.

The T | 4/5 |

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