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Nightwish - Dark Passion Play CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.82 | 194 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Dark Passion Play is artistic power metal in the first degree, bursting at the seams with sweeping compositions, massive guitar riffs, orchestral flair, and a bit of camp. It'll delight prog-metal lovers and repulse everyone else... what more can you ask for!

The album opens with "Poet and the Pendulum", a 13-minute epic that pretty much defines the band's sound and takes you on a theatrical journey which throws together numerous tempo and mood changes, as well as a variety of vocalists and instrumentation. It's a huge song with irresistible hooks, riffs, and emotional bits; a killer track.

Nightwish is known in part for its feminine vocals, distinguishing it from other prog metal bands and providing a host of new textures and sounds to explore. Anette Olzon does a wonderful job throughout, though I don't think her voice is as beautiful or as prominent a component as some other reviewers. Because so much of her singing uses long sustains, it actually comes off as sounding bland. However, when paired against gruff, traditional metal vocals of Hietala - and especially when sung over the outstanding instrumentals, the overall effect is very enjoyable; more so than many other female-fronted metal bands out there. If you like metal, but are turned off by metal grunts and growls, you'll be pleased by Nightwish's combination of singers.

The orchestra is also well-implemented, providing emphasis, textures, and sometimes taking the spotlight to create drama and scope to the songs. As if the powerful guitar and bass weren't enough! The excellent drumming by Nevalainen completes the fully metal crushing that Nighwish accomplishes. However, one thing I appreciate a lot about Nightwish's songwriting is that they don't set the dial to 11 and leave it there. There is a lot of acoustic moments, and even some folksy diversions to keep the effect fresh and exciting. "The Islander" is the standout showcase of this style, a sea-shanty style song that does an amazing job of evoking the misty shores of Ireland with its celtic feel.

So, if you're into prog metal, and can stomach more than a bit of excess, you'll find a ton to like with Dark Passion Play.

Songwriting: 4 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 4 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

Prog Leviathan | 4/5 |


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