Sound — 10
The moment I had the album running, I knew this album was going to be one hell of an album! Being one of those who thought Nightwish would find it difficult to do without their front-woman and idol Tarja, I was literally smiling as I began listening to Dark Passion Play (DPP). The album starts off with the 14-minute epic The Poet and the Pendulum, and frankly, this song needs a review on it's own! The song consists of five parts, and I have to say that every single one of them is absolute perfection. Also, Anette (the new singer) shows her strengths at being a very versatile singer, with a story-teller's voice. Being brief and to the point, this song is theatrical and it is my personal favorite Nightwish song to date. Following this mighty song, come very different and extremely good pieces of music. The variety in this album shows the ever-strong core Nightwish is made of. Even with the departure of one of their most (if not the most) popular members of the band, Nightwish still provided a magnificent piece of art. Since Tarja had never been a providing part to the music, DPP still gives satisfaction as it is the perfect blend of metal and classical music. The sound of this album is overwhelming. The production is wonderful, and the orchestrations are genius. As most artists mention, it is pain and suffering that allows the creation of the most wonderful pieces of art, and I have to say that DPP shows a lot of creativity, beauty and pain; combining all these factors, you get DPP! However, it is noticeable that Nightwish no longer provides the power of the previous albums Oceanborn and Wishmaster, as the band clearly deflected it's way in the following albums into a more complex, more creative and deeper style, introducing classical music elements into their music. Tuomas has once again proved to be one of the best metal composers around. DPP is a whole level above any other symphonic/melodic metal album available these days. Also, Anette and Marco's voices go very well together, and the vocal harmonies on DPP are astonishing. Furthermore, DPP has such a wide variety of music, that the songs seem to be those of different artists. The softest (Eva) and the heaviest (Master Passion Greed) Nightwish songs are there, as well as an oriental oriented song (Sahara), an obvious commercial hit (Amaranth), in addition to something that the band never did before, a song which sounds like American Metal in Cadence of Her Last Breath. DPP is full of surprises, and when you think you've heard it all, you are to be once again taken by surprise to be dazzled by a gospel choir in Meadows of Heaven. Simply, DPP has everything one can ask for!
Lyrics — 10
Honestly, I don't personally think that Tuomas is a lyricist, to me he's a poet, for once again he offers some of the greatest lyrics in the metal scene. From pain, to anger, to hate, to longing, to beauty, to hope, to lust, to intensity and despair, Tuomas provides it all! Of course, much is left to personal interpretation, but some of the songs are quite direct. The lyrics go hand in hand with the music, and that is an extra plus for DPP, and Anette (the new singer) has such brilliant interpretation of the songs, and as I mentioned before, she has a story-tellers voice, which makes the album more of a long, gorgeous fairy tale. However, yet again does DPP show a deviation from the past Nightwish albums. The lyrics are somehow different to what you would hear on Oceanborn for example. However, the lyrics are still first-rate and they still go in the same direction as the music.
Overall Impression — 10
My impression of this album is a very deep fall in love! I expected the band to go a step back after Tarja was axed, but they proved me wrong as they took a huge step forward. The album can be considered to be different from the old Nightwish sound, ye as a sequel of Once, however very different from it! The orchestrations are much better, and the variety is wider in DPP, as well as the introduction of a new and very different, yet very good singer. Here is a brief summary of my personal opinion about every song: 01. The Poet And The Pendulum - the best Nightwish song ever! 02. Bye Bye Beautiful - a good song, similar to Wish I Had an Angel from once, although slightly less beautiful. 03. Amaranth - a catchy song with a head-sticking melody, although obviously commercial it is still a good song (not one of the best songs on the album by any chance). 04. Cadence Of Her Last Breath - again, a catchy song with an extremely good chorus. This is one of the songs a listener would love at first listen. 05. Master Passion Greed - a wicked, wicked song and the heaviest Nightwish ever created. Marco sings throughout the whole song and I'm personally impressed by the power of the guitars in this song. 06. Eva - pretty good song, but pretty lame. The song I least liked on the album, but that doesn't mean it's not a good one! 07. Sahara - oriental song, with beautiful imagery. One of the best songs on DPP. 08. Whoever Brings The Night - I personally didn't like this one the first time I heard it, but then I realized I was just deaf! A very good song, very riff-oriented, and very erotic. 09. For The Heart I Once Had - one of my favorite songs on DPP, not many would like this one, but I have to say it has a personal meaning to me. It is beauty at it's best for me. 10. The Islander - an acoustic song, and another beauty yet again. Have you noticed that not many songs are similar? 11. Last Of The Wilds - an instrumental. Good for the first time, but gets less attractive the more I listen to it! Here I feel like it's Scotland Vs. Finland, where both triumph. Very celtic. 12. 7 Days To The Wolves - definitely one of the best on the album! A complete and well-rounded song, where every part is just right! 13. Meadows Of Heaven - I had to listen to this song a few times before I indulged in it. This one is a beauty! The gospel choir is also another bonus Nightwish gives to the lucky listener! Overall, if I lose this magical piece of art, I would certainly buy another one. This is a must have in my collection, and without any doubt one of the best albums I ever heard. Nightwish is back, and stronger than ever!