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Nightwish - Dark Passion Play (CD)

Nightwish
Dark Passion Play
by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos at 20 September 2007, 4:26 PM

After the multi-platinum album namedOnce (2004) and the most successful tour, the band with a stunning move announced that they had to part ways with Tarja Turunen due to business and personal differences. Based on the fact that NIGHTWISH's music was built upon Tarja's operatic and trademark voice, many thought (including myself) that the Finnish band was in front of a dead end. The band's mastermind and main composer Tuomas Holopainen had other plans in his mind; he started writing music for the band's next step while searching for a proper replacement behind the microphone. After several auditions Annete Olzon was chosen to fill in the empty seat below the ton-heavy shadow of the previous owner.
The first official recording featuring the new voice was the Eva single that was released only through the internet was nothing really special while the new singer was obviously not following Tarja's step regarding the operatic vocals. By that time, I was thinking that it would be very difficult for NIGHTWISH to recover…
Well, the promo CD of Dark Passion Play eventually arrived at the METAL TEMPLE headquarters and I almost sold my soul to the devil (aka Grigoris) to get the review assignment. Let's see together what will happen if you press the PLAY button on your CD player.
The Poet And The Pendulum that clocks 14 minutes opens the album with pompous orchestration and some high pitched (not operatic) vocals. The intro builds some serious tension that welcomes Annete's most melodic and catchy vocal lines. The sound production is excellent keeping the perfect balance between melody and heaviness and proves that was worth every single Euro spent on it! The aforementioned track is epic with an intense and emotional atmosphere that made me think that this might be one of the best NIGHTWISH tracks. Tuomas and co. have moved the spot light away from the vocals to the music (just listen to the instrumental Last Of The Wilds) making a solid as hell album that has its own unique character. Annete reveals an Irish profile in the groovy Bye Bye Beautiful and the excellent folklore ballad The Islander with Hietala's aggressive and clean vocals, respectively. Amaranth is the classic mainstream hit that justifies the choice as the first single while Master Passion Greed and Whoever Brings The Night are two guitar driven tracks that remind us NIGHTWISH's is a Heavy Metal ancestry.
NIGHTWISH managed to totally impress me with this comeback creating an album that will definitely open new horizons for them. Although, Annete fits like a glove into the band's new composing profile that is focused on the music I could use some circumspection with her performance on the older material where the vocals are more demanding. So, trust me and grab this one as soon as it gets on your local CD store without asking further questions.

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
The Poet And The Pendulum
Bye Bye Beautiful
Amaranth
Cadence Of Her Last Breath
Master Passion Greed
Eva
Sahara
Whoever Brings The Night
For The Heart I Once Had
The Islander
Last Of The Wilds
7 Days To The Wolves
Meadows Of Heaven
Lineup:
Anette Olzon - Vocals
Empu Vuorinen - Guitars
Tuomas Holopainen - Keyboards
Jukka Nevalainen - Drums
Record Label: Nuclear Blast
     


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