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Nightwish - Dark Passion Play CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.81 | 207 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Like everybody else I know who likes Nightwish I could not forsee the band without its former vocalist Tarja Tarunen. With an operatic, wide rage vocal, a charismatic and beautiful stage persona and a tremendous classical technique, Tarja was the face of Nightwish itself. When I heard she was fired from the band by the end of their Once world tour, it seemed it was all over. So much it took me all this time to gather enough nerve to hear their new release.

Well, if it is obvious that if Tarja was the face (and voice) of Nightwish, then keyboardsman and main songwriter Tuomas Holopainen is their heart and soul. His writing skills has developing steadily since their start in the late 90´s. And the band members were right to choose a singer that is quite different from their former frontwoman. Anette Olzon has a fine, non-operatic, voice that fits the new tunes like a glove (much in the vein of Within Temptation´s Sharon Den Adel). Her vocal prowness seems little when compared to Tarja´s amazing classical delivering, but she has a beautiful timbre and is quite versatile, able to handle the many moods those new songs demand. And they´re are quite demanding! She goes to sweet to agressive with ease.

The instrumental side of Nightwish was always a bit overshadowed by Tarja somehow. Now with Olzon, the vocals are more a part of the overall sound and in many ways it only improved their music. Bassist Marco Hietala is another great feature, showing he has a great vocal range too. The new songs are better than ever, showing a good improvement over the already fine Once. Nightwish always benefited with the use of real orchestra and choir on their latter records and Dark Passion Play is no exception. In fact, the orchestral arrangements are even more proeminent, bombastic and stronger than on previous records. And do they work!

This new album is surely their best since Oceanborn . It´s over 75 minutes of fine, varied, music. The CD opens with the epic 11 minute suite The Poet and The Pendulum and finishes with the beautiful and mellow Meadows Of Heaven. They gardened some folk and celtic influences this time, including such instruments as fiddle, pennywhistle and bagpaipes. One good exemple is the instrumental Last Of The Wilds and Hietala´s own song The Islander, in which the bassist sounds uncanny like Ian Anderson. Of course some tunes are better than others, but it has no fillers and the tracklist is very well chosen. Production is also top notch.

Conclusion: Quite a rebirth! One of the best prog metal albums in many years. Highly recommend! 4,5 stars.

Tarcisio Moura | 4/5 |


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