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Nightwish - Dark Passion Play CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.81 | 202 ratings

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4 stars New lead vocalist, new chapter. Are you satisfied?

The departure of lead vocalist Tarja Turunen right after "Once" world tour forced the band to find replacement for this front line position. It seemed that the band was suffering a great loss firing Tarja. One thing that I did not like was that the fact the band fired Tarja was made published by the band through their website and putting Tarja's at corner and no place to defend. It seemed like one-sided story from the four members of the band: Marco, Emppu, Tuomas and Juka all of them against Tarja. I have to admit that Tarja's operatic voice had become a critical characteristic of Nightwish music and could not imagine how the band would search for replacement of unique and distinctive talent of Tarja. But, finally the band hired Annette to replace Tarja and released this new album "Dark Passion Play".

Well, musically, I have to admit that the opening track "The Poet and The Pendulum" is a great track combining grandiose orchestra with its bombastic arrangements to merge beautifully with power metal music. The result is an extra-ordinary track. I don't even bothered by the fact that Annette's voice has in such a way operatic components or not. In fact, no, she does not have that operatic singing style. But, I still find this opening track is wonderful and very uplifting. In terms of melody, this is really a masterpiece. But when it's combined with its ear-catching opening part with female chanting / choirs and let the music moves in bombastic way to the top where the full blast orchestration makes the music in its top position! One of enjoyable part of this track is when Marco Hietala sings his metal voice elegantly - wow man ..!!! He is truly a metal man! I imagine the way he sings this part is like when he sings in "End of AN Era" DVD. It's so powerful and so metal!!!! What is also interesting is the ending part of this opening track that starts at approx Min 10:20 where the music turns differently into softer and mellow style and sounds like a pop song with nice voice of Annette. Oh man .. I love this track very much! I don't really care with the fact that Annette does not have "operatic" voice style. Who does really care if the composition is wonderfully crafted like this epic opening track? Are you going to judge this song inferior from one of the songs in "Once" album which you might consider superior? Give me a break, my friend! This composition has already killed me man! I am totally nggeblak! with this composition. Bravo Nightwish!! You rock man! And .. your orchestration does improve a lot!

The second track "Bye Bye Beautiful" kicks off wonderfully with a great combination of guitar riffs and keyboard followed with vocal line. What surprises me is the fact the voice of Annette is now changed to the style of Maggie Reiley (Mike Oldfield) or Sally Oldfield. This makes another new observation that things that were not possible in the past (during the era of 70s rock music, Maggie and sally were famous as female vocals in rock) and now (with different person) sounds like the sounds of 70s (vocal style) merge beautifully with metal music. The result is a wonderfully crafted track. Again, the part where Marco sings in metal style is truly an enjoyable part.

"Amaranth" starts symphonic with guitar riffs and keyboard at background. As far as music concerns this track is less attractive than the previous two tracks because this one is more poppy in style. It reminds me to the gothic metal band Within Temptation where the music is similar and the vocal is also female. "Cadence of her Last Breath" is heavier in its intro. The pulsating keyboard works demonstrates the symphonic nature of the track. The guitar solo in the middle of the track is attractive. "Master Passion Greed" starts with guitar riffs followed with tight drum works and keyboard punches. The music moves into faster tempo like power metal style followed nicely by guitar riffs in breaks. Marco's voice enters the music followed beautifully with choirs and Annette voice, interjected by grandiose string section. Marco continues his singing in screaming fashion. This song is strong in composition because there are many changes in styles and tempo plus excellent orchestration accompanying Marco's metal voice.

"Eva" is a mellow track with catchy melody and nice ambient. This track can chart as hit because the composition is simple but the melody is very strong especially when it's combined with nice guitar solo and excellent orchestration at background. "Sahara" opens excellently with symphonic orchestra followed with full blast of music in fast tempo. The song is good in textures as well as insertion of orchestra at the end of bars. "Whoever Brings The Night" opens with heavy guitar riffs followed with ambient keyboard sounds and drum work plus choirs followed with vocal of Annette. The tempo is quite fast and it has interlude where the music plays in its high tones with symphonic style in the middle of the track.

"For The Heart I Once Had" sounds like different style than other tracks because the guitar solo at the opening has no riffs at all and when the vocal enters, the music becomes empty until the voice is heating up. Again, the orchestration makes this song interesting to enjoy. "The islander" is even different because it's mellow in nature with flute sounds playing traditional notes augmented with acoustic guitar work. The male voice line does not represent typical Nightwish music. It's a trial basis of the band exploring other kind of music. "Last of The Wilds" has a traditional root as well but this time is followed with upbeat music style and riffs. It's an enjoyable track. "7 Days To The Wolves" brings back to the origins of Nightwish music with grandiose string section. The album concludes peacefully with "Meadows of Heaven" where the opening part is really catchy and memorable - string section followed with ballad singing by Annette. This mellow track moves beautifully to nice chorus and the instruments used, especially the notes created, remind us to the traditional music. It's truly a melodic song with nice choisr and orchestration.

Overall, this is an excellent addition to any prog music collection. The music is beautifully composed by taking into consideration mostly on the making of melodies and later tight arrangements that support the melodies. And for this reason, I put respect to Nightwish. The only thing that pose the band into two different positions are: the fact that the major characteristic of the music which was "operatic" singing style has gone already and now the band enters new era where the music might sound very close like typical gothic metal like Within Temptation. But, for me personally, it's a good chance to open new chapter because in a way, enjoying this album is like opening new horizon of music that I have not heard before, precisely. This is especially with the fact that this album differs than any Within Temptation album so far. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 4/5 |


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