Nightwish-Dark Passion Play

Have you ever listened to a CD and been completely blown away and amazed? If you haven’t, listen to the most recent album by Finnish metal band Nightwish, entitled Dark Passion Play. Whether you’re a headbanger following in the legacy of Slipknot, or someone looking for something reminiscent of Evanescence and Within Temptation, you’ll find something you like.

This quintet consists of piano, drums, bass, guitar, and vocals. As well as an orchestra and choir numbering over 130. Nightwish features a female lead singer Anette Olzon, whose angelic voice is worthy to serenade God himself. And then there’s Marco. Marco Hietala, bassist of the band, sings at least back up on every track on the album. And sometimes even lead.

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Marco can growl like a lion or croon like a dove, and still manage to look hardcore either way. With a beard to rival Santa’s, I personally think he should be one of the definitive metal icons of this time.

Anette is a stark contrast to the screams and growls of Marco, but still doesn’t even seem remotely out of place on stage beside him. Whether she’s singing the soft ballad “Eva” or enthralling listeners with the catchy lyrics of “Amaranth,” she doesn’t disappoint. She’s a highly versatile singer, able to adapt and fit in with any song.

The album itself is opened with a fourteen minute masterpiece, “The Poet and The Pendulum.” With lyrics from Anette’s chorus: Get away/run away/fly away/lead me astray to dreamer’s hideaway, it slightly resembles a pop song. And then there’s Marco. After one of the most awe-inspiring string solos you’ll ever hear, he sings loudly with a voice that can give the LISTENER a sore throat. Second robber to the right of Christ/Cut in half; infanticide, the first line of Marco’s short vocal piece in the song paints a grisly image. But all too soon it’s over and back to Anette.

The album continues in this epic, dramatic style with nary a weak song in the entire set. It builds up to “Master Passion Greed,” a goodbye to former singer Tarja that is anything but fond. This song is solely Marco singing, and “The Islander” very nearly is.

Dark Passion Play is thirteen tracks long, and the first twelve build up to the dramatic ending, “Meadows Of Heaven.” With Anette singing, the beautiful lyrics could make stones weep. It also features a choir and solos that send shivers running down your spine each and every time you hear it.

The DPP experience is enhanced by one thing, and one thing only: “The Sound of Nightwish Reborn,” an EP released in 2008. In addition to several orchestral versions and demos of songs, it features “The Escapist,” “Reach,” and “While Your Lips Are Still Red.” Three tracks that, for some unfathomable reason, didn’t make it onto the record.

Dark Passion Play. So much more than a CD. Just short of a miracle.

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