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Nightwish - Dark Passion Play CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.82 | 194 ratings

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3 stars While I believe that "Imaginaerum" was the ultimate expression of vocalist Annette's collaboration with NIGHTWISH, "Dark Passion Play" really laid the foundation for the new and more progressive metal style with accent on progressive. Here we find the band at times awkwardly morphing from balladeers to untamed wild, which dampens the impact of the nonetheless impressive opening epic and several other tracks. Growly vocals and chugging heavy guitars don't do much for me although I do appreciate the potency of cuts like "Whoever Brings the Night" when Annette sings. Of course ballads like "For the Heart I once had" and "Eva" are majestic. The trouble is that the band sometimes seems gripped with an irrational fear of becoming the CARPENTERS, so they crank up the generators and go full tilt, culminating in a betwixt and between blend.

Still, the Pip Williams conducted orchestra and the gospel choirs add gravitas and cinematic buzz to tracks like "Sahara". A guest appearance from piper Troy Donockley formerly of IONA, who later joined NIGHTWISH full time, injects a Celtic veracity to the Tull-like "The Islander", which offers an Anderson-like vocal performance from Marco Hietala. It even sounds like something KERRS PINK might have done in their less cluttered past incarnations. Donockley also splashes the exquisite closer "Meadows of Heaven" in which the band and Annette really appear to have fused.

As you can tell, I'm a bit mixed on this one but that's not to say there aren't plenty of passages that genuinely excite. Overall, it's a positive effort that just needed a few years to work out the kinks, which they did on "Imaginaerum". 3.5 stars rounded down.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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