Review Summary: A new singer brings the same style, but with a different feel to Nightwish. A great album for Nightwish fans who care about Nightwish as a whole, just not about the leader singer issues.
This is my first review here at Sputnik, and I wanted my first review to be about my favorite band, Nightwish, and their newest album Dark Passion Play. This is the first album with new lead singer Annete Olszen after the departure of Tarja Turunen in 2005. Now it’s enough of the history lesson, and on to the review.
1. The Poet and the Pendulum
-I first heard about this song a few months ago when Tuomas said in an interview that the new CD had a 14 minute epic on it, so immediately I was stoked, but when I first heard the beginning of the song, I was like WTF is this? This is not Nightwish. Fear not, the young boy at the beginning fades out at around 1:20 and the real magic kicks into the song. The next 40 seconds are officially my favorite in history. The orchestration comes and rips the skin off of your face with the monstrous tribal like drums, blaring of the horns, chanting, and some great riffs by Emmpu. This is the perfect musical section that I have ever heard in my life, it’s really hard to describe with words though. After that, Annete comes in and sings a verse, at first I didn’t like her voice, but now listening to it for awhile (I heard all those leaked promos back in July) I am starting to like the tone of her voice. I will admit though, that the verses are the weakest part of the song. A nice catchy chorus comes in afterwards, followed by another verse, than another chorus. Suddenly, a nice, calm, soft piece comes into the frame. This is followed by that little boy singing a verse of his own (which is quite captivating and mesmerizing) Annete comes back in to sing with him, then the boy has a speaking part, which is the darkest part of the song and, in my opinion, the second darkest thing on here. Succeeding the spoken part, an epic violin solo comes in and it leads into Marco’s rough, scream like vocals….very cool. After that, another chorus, followed by the boy telling the story that is present during the song. We then hear a heartbeat fade out and the second best part of this epic song begins. It is a very slow and soft moving piece of work. This specific part has the ability for me to tear up (it depends how my mood is) because this is SO beautiful….Annete’s best vocal performance so far. The song ends with the boy whispering, “The Beginning”
10/10 Easily my favorite song on here…and my favorite song ever
(Note….This Tbt review will not have any other reviews of songs that will be as long as my PATP one)
2. Bye Bye Beautiful
- This is the second single of DPP and is a top five for me on here. This song is about Tarja and the whole fiasco with her and the band. Again, the orchestration of top notch, but the problem is Annete’s vocals. There are some songs on this album where she is just plain awesome, but I feel that they are average on here. The thing that makes this song so great though is Marco Hietala. His singing of the chorus is amazing.
“Did you ever hear what I told you
Did you ever read what I wrote you
Did you ever listen to what we played
Did you ever let in what the world said
Did we get this far just to feel your hate
Did we play to become only pawns in the game
How blind can you be, don`t you see
You chose the long road but we`ll be waiting"
This overall, is a great song, excluding Annete. I give it a 9.5/10
-The first true single off of DPP. What is the highlight of this song? The orchestra…again! Can’t you tell that I like the orchestra? The beginning of the song that are leading up to the vocals, are personally my favorite part of the song. Annete’s voice is better in here than in Bye Bye Beautiful. The chorus is quite catchy and the little guitar like solo thing (I am not great at names of things like chorus, riff, bridge, all that stuff) comes in, followed by another verse type part that I like. The song ends with a chorus.
4. Cadence of Her Last Breath
–Ugh, I definitely do not like this song, and is my least favorite on DPP. The orchestration is nice, and the guitars (Emppu has a nice solo that I like a lot), and drums do their job….Hell Marco has a notable bass line in here, to go along with singing “Run Away”. I don’t know what it is, but this is the downfall of a very outstanding album.
6.5/10 Would be lower if the solo and Marco were not included.
5. Master Passion Greed
-This is easily the heaviest and darkest song Nightwish has ever done in their careers. This is about Marcelo Cabuli, the husband of Tarja. As noted in the lyrics and the tone of the song, Nightwish is not fond of him at all. Annete does not do a single vocal line in this song, and that makes this seem sort of like a Tarot song. With the dark passage of,
Feast on it all”
This is overall a good song to listen to while you are in a crappy mood, and a very headbangable song…which is isn’t said a lot with Nightwish songs. This is just what I needed in this album…a focus off of the light side of the orchestra. The orchestra’s dark lines are just great in here as well, a great positioning for a song of this magnitude.
9.0/10 An excellent and dark song that was put at the perfect position at this point of Dark Passion Play
-After the heaviness of Master Passion Greed, we get a ballad. This was released as an internet single back in May, and fans of Nightwish should have at least heard this song once by now. Again, the orchestration is top notch again, and Annete shows a nice soft voice in this song. Nothing, besides the orchestra, really sticks out to me in this though, yeah, the solo is good, but it’s nothing special.
7.5/10 The Orchestra is above average so this is why I give it this rating.
-Starts out with a slow piano line than explodes into something spectacular. It then goes slower for the majority of song, sounding very Middle Eastern like in the process. About the 3:50 mark, Annete starts a part that shows that she is a good singer and this last about 20 seconds, and its back into a chorus. The real highlight of the song is about the last 50 seconds when Annete goes into, what I feel, is a chant….Very awesome.
8.5/10 A good song for what I feel is the end of the worse part of the album
8. Whoever Brings the Night
-This is the first song that appears that is written by someone else than Tuomas…..and Emppu has that honor. I feel it is very noticeable that Emmpu wrote the music for this song because the guitar is extremely present during the song. I wish I knew what the song meant though, because it shows some dark lyrics and the meaning is unclear to me….Anyways, Annete does a great job with the vocals and Emmpu does my favorite solo on the album during this song.
9.0/10 Great Orchestration and Solo in the middle of the song make this all worthwhile for me
9. For the Heart I Once Had
-This is easily Annete’s best performance on DPP. Her vocal range is just amazing during the chorus, and I feel that this is a song that Tarja wouldn’t have been able to do as great as Annete has done. As for the music part, again, it’s up to par with the rest of the album. I find it funny that the first time I heard the opening guitar, it sounded like HIM. I don’t know if I am the only one who felt that, but it was strange.
9.5/10 Becoming one of my favorite songs on Dark Passion Play and the standout isn’t the orchestra this time, but Anente’s voice.
10. The Islander
-The second song that wasn’t written by Tuomas, but instead Marco. This has a very Celtic feel to it, and I am starting to appreciate this song more and more everytime I hear it. The best part of the song for me is the chorus. Marco’s voice is hypnotizing during the chorus, and it reels you in quickly. A perfect song for when you have a bonfire or when you’re stuck on an island, because everytime I hear this, I feel like I am stuck on an island.
10/10 A great Song that has no flaws in it.
11. The Last of the Wilds
-From the Celtic feel of The Islander, we get the Irish feel of Last of the Wilds. This is the most amazing instrumental that I have ever heard. From the Irish Fiddle to the Uilleann Pipes, and the Kantele, these give off a feeling that I have never had before listening to a song. Adding Emppu and the guitar makes this even better. Instrumentals are hard to explain for me, and you just need to listen to this to see the beauty of this song.
10/10 Easily gets a perfect score, and at one time was my favorite song on DPP
12. 7 Days to the Wolves
-When I first saw the title to this song, it reminded me of Sonata Arctica and their obsession with wolves, now I find out that Tuomas like them too. I guess it’s just a Finnish thing. The song is overall a very good typical Nightwish song. A great solo by Emppu follows a string of verses and choruses, and from about the 3:00 mark to the 4:15 mark, the orchestra delivers one of my favorite parts of the song. The only gripe I have is that the chorus is repeated too many times for my taste, and kinda loses interest of the song. Thankfully the last minute or so redeems the song with the great ending of full on assault by the orchestra and Marco crying, “Hero, Coward, No more.” This ending is the second most epic piece of orchestration on here.
9.0/10 The Orchestra has saves several songs from mediocrity, and this is one of them…Turning it into a great song that may get repetitive in the lyrical department, but the music outshines it so much.
13. Meadows of Heaven
-Ah…another smooth calming song, and a great way to end a fantastic album. Annete shows a nice, calm, soothing voice again in this one. The orchestration in this is my second favorite overall (the first being PATP). The thing that makes this song stand out though, has got to be the choir. They are simply amazing and they make Annete’s voice more powerful. After the Epic choir/Annete part, we get another soothing verse from Annete. The song ends Annete singing Meadows of Heaven over and over, but the real treat is the choir again. It makes me feel like I am in church listening to a gospel choir singing. Truly Astonishing.
10/10 A phenomenal way to end a terrific album
Overall, I give Dark Passion Play a 4.5 out of 5. Is it better than their hugely successful “Once”? No, but there are songs on here that are better than what was on Once. If you are a fan of Nightwish, definitely pick this one up. Annete brings a nice addition to the band, and it does take some time to get used to her, if you were so used to Tarja.
Top 5 Songs.
1. The Poet and the Pendulum
2. Last of the Wilds
3. 7 Days to the Wolves
4. The Islander
5. Meadows of Heaven