Sound — 9
Nightwish, a band from a small and rural town in finland released an album in 2004 which helped them to ascend to the very cusp of greatness. The 2005 open sacking of their former vocalist Tarja Turunen was seen by many critics and fans as a suicide and the end of the Nightwish story. Two years have now passed and Nightwish have made their triumphant return with 'Dark Passion Play', a seemless blend of power metal, choirs and orchestral blows to the ear drums. The sound on this album is extremely diverse with extremes explcitly present, this album features Nightwish's heaviest song to date, their longest song to date and maybe they're softest song to date. Nightwish's new vocalist Anette Olzon presents us with accessability to Tuomas' lyrics which might not have been as present in previous Nightwish albums, her voice has a very warm and sweet tone which is easy to the ears whilst still possessing great strength and range. Many fans will feel that Tarja could never be replaced but Anette feels too much like something completely new and fresh to be considered as a simple replacement. This album definitely showcases Nightwish at the top of their musical games.
Lyrics — 10
Tuomas Holopainen really reveals his inner-most feelings on this latest album. The 14 minute opener entitled 'The Poet And The Pendulum' gives us an unadulterated and explicit look at how the events of 2005 affected him with a sinister blend of dark imagery, this could possibly be the most personal and emotionally charged song the Finnish lyrical genius has ever written. Holopainen is not afraid to speak his mind when it comes to the subject of former vocalist and bandmate, Tarja Turunen and her personal manager/husband Marcelo Cabuli. Songs like 'Master Passion Greed' and 'Bye Bye Beautiful' are almost like angry bittersweet love letters delivered with a powerful punch of sonic brutality. Any Nightwish fan will know that Holopainen was possibly one of the most formidable lyricists in metal today and judging by this album, he still is.
Overall Impression — 9
This album will certainly divide existing Nightwish fans. Many will believe that Anette is a breath of fresh air and a welcome change to Tarja's operatic vocal style. Some will however think that this album is simply not a Nightwish album because of Turunen's absence but in my opinion both singers are very talented albeit posessing different types of talents so whether you enjoy the new vocals or not will all be a matter or personal taste. Leaving the vocals aside the music is just as heavy, strong and bombastic as ever featuring an even bigger orchestra than 'Once' and the orchestra feels like it fits into the music a lot better. People who have not listened to Nightwish before or people who disliked them because of their previous vocal style will definitely want to consider 'Dark Passion Play'. It defines Nightwish as a band possessing a huge amount of tenacity and a band that never gave up. A must-listen.