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Nightwish - Dark Passion Play CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.81 | 202 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Dark Passion Play' - Nightwish (8/10)

'Dark Passion Play' is in a sense; the debut album of a 'new' Nightwish, a Nightwish robbed of their main trademark; the operatic antics of their frontwoman Tarja Turunen. Keeping this in mind, the metal world's ears were very open, and very cynical when this came out. Personally, I had never been too much of a fan of the band's music, and especially without their operatic grace, I wasn't sure I was going to like this... but I do, and I like it alot.

To put it simply, this is more than a collection of songs that are testing the waters for Ms. Anette Olsen (an amazing female vocalist, who while not having the distinction of Tarja's soprano, is very accomplished and has a beautiful voice that fits the music even better than her predecessor) but a full-on piece of genius. The main composer, Tuomas Holopanien (who is in my mind; a musical genius in his own right) has brought on an entire orchestra to the band's sound. While this isn't quite new to Nightwish ('Ghost Love Score' off of 'Once' for example; was very immersed in a symphonic sound) no time before has the band gone so far deep into a true symphonic territory.

I have to say, there were moments here where I was convinced I was listened to a complete symphonic metal masterpiece. Even beyond the obviously masterful epic 'The Poet And The Pendulum,' there are parts on here that are breathtaking.

The only problem with the album is that somewhere after the ballad 'Eva' and before 'The Islander' kicks in, there is a fair period of mainstream boredom that really hurt my overall appreciation of the album. The musical quality is obviously quite good seeing as there are orchestral arrangements throughout, but I will compelled to give the album a less-than- perfect score simply because of a sustained period where the album really takes a nosedive.

The album is certainly noteworthy however. The epic on the album 'The Poet & The Pendulum' is a masterpiece of music. Over the course of thirteen or so minutes, the listener to taken on a dramatic and powerful journey. It's one of the greatest epics I've ever listened to, and by far the greatest suprise on this album. 'The Poet & The Pendulum' really opened me up to the album.

The 'hit' on the album 'Amaranth' is also really good, and catchy. It shows the tasteful flavour of Anette's voice, and her voice really works well to mold any musical mood at her will.

Lastly, the folk-infused 'The Islander' is a very powerful acoustic song. It's the sort of song that would be best listened to curled up beside the log fire. There is a real feeling of 'storytelling' going on here that is trademark of folk, and the male vocals work very well in contrast with Anettes.

I think despite the weaker tracks, this album could have been a real masterpiece. While I have nothing against individual songs, I think the album (having such an epic sound to it) would have really benefitted from having a album-encompassing concept to it, such as Pain of Salvation's 'Be' record, or Kamelot's 'Epica.' As it stands however, 'Dark Passion Play' is a fantastic record, and hopefully a sign of good things to come from this talented Finnish band.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |


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