Release date: September 26, 2007
Label: Nuclear Blast/Roadrunner Records
This Finnish new-metal band has succeeded in creating an overwhelmingly operatic experience with their sixth studio release, Dark Passion Play.
Thanks to the collaboration between the five existing Nightwish members and the London Session Orchestra, this entire record plays like a night at some strange, fantastic opera. Entirely spooky during most of the tracks, this band has written a set of songs that work cumulatively to play with your head a little; first with a bit of trash metal, then a bit of ?80s glam rock, then the sweet, soft, and endearing composition that is ?Eva.?
Because the tone never fully changes, the album moves from extreme to extreme while never letting the listener feel that the songs don’t work together, despite a differing focus.
The incorporation of the London Session Orchestra into the record was perhaps one of the greatest decisions the band has made when it comes to recording. This is an idea That’s been continued from their previous record, Once, which in its time marked a stylistic evolution for the band, who have been recording since their 1997 release of Angels Fall First.
The fact that Dark Passion Play has kept the fundamental style of Nightwish’s last recording means that the band is happy in the transitions made since the late 1990s and feels comfortable in this particular vein of musical production.
In a sense, this album sounds like Olivia Newton-John has taken on the role of a sweet yet seductive vampire on a Broadway stage. The sweet vocals of Anette Olzon bring the music to a different level than it might otherwise have reached; her voice is every bit as versatile as the musicians she works with, so that the transition between dark and almost frightening hard operatic rock and solos, accompanied in turn by piano and flute, is imperceptible.
This album reminds of those times when as a young kid I went to sleep listening to cassette tapes of The Phantom of the Opera, except that Dark Passion Play caters to a more advanced, eclectic musical palette.
What more can I say? It’s essentially flawless, and even if you aren’t particularly turned on by the thought of a hard rock opera, you can’t help but be impressed with the execution of this album. It’s an undeniable 10.