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Nightwish – Dark Passion Play

Label: Roadrunner Records
Format: CD
Released: 2007
Reviewed By: Rich Catino

An end of an era has come to pass as Nightwish frontwoman Tarja Turunen has left the building. What are remaining members Emppu Vuorinen on guitars, keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen, on bass Marco Hietala and Jukka Nevalainen on drums to do? Well, carry on of course.


“Dark Passion Play” is the first release with new siren Anette Olzon at the mic. Has anything changed…no. The packaging, presentation, artistic direction all what you’d expect. This is still Nightwish faithfully following the successful path left by past album like “Once”, “Century Child”, and “Wishmaster”.

One thing different in Anette’s voice is her delivery which does not focus on the operatic sound and is more on a straight ahead rock path. Have no fear long time Nightwish fans as the epic thirteen minute album opener 'The Poet and the Pendulum' does see Anette singing out the gate with the operatic tone putting all speculation to rest. She does use the operatics from time to time but in no way as much as Tarja. Marco also has his part in the vocals as usual serving a purpose by adding texture and edge. Second track 'Bye Bye Beautiful' continues with the heavier darker side of Nightwish as Marco takes the mic for a few more lines and the chorus.

Moving on to another side of Nightwish’s music, first single 'Amaranth' takes a less orchestrated approach and follows 'Nemo' from “Once” in spirit and chorus. 'Eva' is a soft piano based ballad where you can almost see the birds flying in the sky as Anette sings and the subtle orchestrations accompany the melody line. 'Sahara' follows the ballad returning to more guitars balancing out the album’s song presentation. Marco takes lead vocal for 'The Islander' where again you will hear the American Indian influence in the wood wind instruments and strings.

In arrangement and composition nothing is different, more an extension from “Once” I would say. Layers of vocal melody lines and instruments without being over done, the American Indian influence heard on a track like 'Meadows of Heaven' and throughout remain a staple to Nightwish’s sound. You also get The Dark Passion Play Orchestra featuring violins, flutes, harp, tube, and percussion.

All in all…nothing has been lost by Tarja’s exit. Do I miss her voice…yes, but Anette’s presence is not all that different from Tarja and she compliments her legacy very well. Accept the change.

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