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Dark Passion Play

4.2 out of 5 stars 240 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 2, 2007
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Product Description

Although it is their sixth studio album,Dark Passion Play marks the beginning of a new era for Finnish symphonic metal masters Nightwish. With new vocalist Annette Olzon onboard, Nightwish returns with their most accessible material to date. Firmly rooted in their trademark symphonic sounds featuring elaborate keyboard and guitar parts blended seamlessly with intricate string and choir sections, Olzon's vocals have more pop sensibility as they are far less operatic than those of her predecessor. This is perfectly exemplified in the vocal melodies in Amaranth, Eva and the scorching duet with bassist Marco Hietala titled Bye Bye Beautiful. Nightwish mastermind Tuomas Holopainen (keyboards) not only wrote all the lyrics and all but two songs on the album, but also helmed the project as one of the producers along with T.C. Kinnunen and Mikko Karmila, who also mixed the album. Dark Passion Play has already made history as Finland's most expensive recording project to date with massive string sections and choirs and it is clearly evident in the impeccable production. Nightwish have taken the symphonic elements of their prior works and infused them with a new voice to create a sound representative of the album title: dark, playful and, most of all, passionate.

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Nightwish returns with an ambitious epic metal opus that begins promisingly enough but quickly devolves into another formulaic power rock affair. The band's at its most powerful and convincing on the opening "The Poet and the Pendulum" (all 14 minutes of it), the dynamic "Bye Bye Beautiful," and the infectious pop-inflected "Amaranth." But mid-album tracks such as "Sahara," "For the Heart I Once Had," and the limpid closer, "Meadows of Heaven," retread familiar ground that reminds us of epic metal's more disappointing tendencies--faux pop, bombastic bombast, anemic anthems, and a penchant for the maudlin. With new vocalist Annette Olzon in the ranks, the Finnish outfit stands poised to make a thoroughly convincing and wholehearted classic (listen to "The Islander" for further proof) but falls short, delivering a decent but distracted recording. It's too ambitious, too scattered, and, simply, too long--and that's too bad. --Jedd Beaudoin
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Digital Booklet: Dark Passion Play
Digital Booklet: Dark Passion Play
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 2, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Roadrunner Records
  • ASIN: B000URDEB0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (240 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,574 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Koo on September 20, 2007
Format: Audio CD
"The end, the songwriter's dead..." begins the first track of the album. Despite the presentation of these chilling words, they are far from the truth concerning Dark Passion Play and Nightwish. Nightwish, replaced former vocalist Tarja Turunen with Anette Olzon, have released their sixth studio album and the first in three years. As the thousands of Nightwish fans groaned when Tarja was fired, we all wondered whether the new vocalist could fill Tarja's shoes and if Nightwish could live up to what it had become, one of the world's best symphonic metal albums fronted by one of the best female metal vocalists.

Well most of the jury is still out, but this one says there is absolutely nothing to worry about; Dark Passion Play is my new favorite Nightwish album. Oceanborn and Once were my favorites before, but no longer. And astonishingly enough, one of the reasons may in fact be the vocals. So really there are three reasons why I enjoy DPP more than all of the other Nightwish albums: Anette Olzon, more epic, and the Poet and the Pendulum.

Beginning with Anette. Anette is...not Tarja. For me, in a very good way (though I will concede that many will take this in a very negative way). She is a completely different vocalist and I look forward to hearing her sing the old songs live. For one, she is an alto rather than a soprano, uses very little vibrato, and sounds like a rock singer rather than an operatic vocalist. That is not to say I don't like the operatic vocals that Tarja utilized so admirably--far from it, as groups like Epica are still among my favorites and Tarja is one of the greatest female metal vocalists of all time.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a very special album, for those who can take it that is...I wasn't sure what to expect but judging form the picture of the artists online it was going to be quite a ride! I loved all the songs and the marriage of orchestra with hard metal and some make believe dialogue that made me feel as if I was watching a raunchy version of Lord of the Rings.

I cant recommend this album enough for those who think that symphonic power metal is delish, I am such a person. It's also a funny coincidence how so many bizarre and cool at the same time musicians emerge from Finland, it's quite a place for creative existence.

Poet and The Pendulum is glorious, starting off as an eerie fairly tale reminiscent of movies such as "The Company of Wolves" which is a dark take on the Little Red Ridinghood story as one can literally hear snow falling and soft whispers reeling in the bait, followed by something dark brooding nearby by. That is taken over by a glorious army of guitars wrenching the listener from make believe onto a battlefield of sound and energy. The latter part of the song reminded me of one of my favorite fantasy movies "Kull the Conqueror" which is a glorious marriage of orchestra and metal. The vocals are sweet and powerful which makes the sound glisten like a blade of an ax ready to strike imaginary forces. The song is loud and long with many different dynamics and themes, changing from a sad cello to a mosh pit showdown.

7 Days to the Wolves is another fantastic piece, it's different I know, so different in fact that people can have a hard time understanding it but I can blast it of as loud as my poor ears can take it and it even makes me walk faster if I'm listening to it on my ipod.
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Format: Audio CD
Okay... I don't write many reviews but for this particular purchase, I felt I had to make an exception. Along with most other fans, I was worried about the future of Nightwish after all of the (somewhat) recent hullabaloo over the band's change of lead singer. Those worries, I am pleased to say, were completely unnecessary. Right up front I will say that this is one of the best albums I've had the pleasure of listening to. The opening song "Poet and the Pendulum" grabs you by the throat and holds you enthralled for its entire 14 minute duration. It is classic Nightwish - powerful and bombastic, soft and melancholy - full of musical twists and turns and amazing lyrics; epic in every sense of the word. Wow. And that is only the beginning.

I won't go into a track by track analysis because so many others have done a better job with that then I ever could (and these things are so subjective anyway). Let it suffice to say that unlike any other Nightwish album (and I own and love them all), there is not one single track on this album that I have any urge to skip over. Not one. Even after many repeated spins. There is so much variety in the musical styles presented here that the sound never becomes boring or repetitive. Yet it all the while maintains that distinctive flavor that is uniquely Nightwish; with the power to evoke a visceral response in the listener (me). That, to me, is quite an accomplishment.

Now, I don't really want to bring up any singer comparisons here because it has already been hashed to death (and not always in the most respectful fashion, which is a shame), but I will say, while not the soprano we're used to, Anette Olzon is a powerful vocalist in her own right. And as the new lead singer for Nightwish, she services the music very well.
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