Nightwish Dark Passion Play

Nightwish Dark Passion Play
Never having been a fan of Tarja Turunen (or really, for that matter, Nightwish), I didn’t approach the debut of new vocalist Anette Olzon with any great anticipation, but I was curious what the band would make of their new line-up. Even more bombastic than Nightwish’s usual fare (yes, it’s possible), Dark Passion Play brings orchestration to the forefront in a way that suggests musical theatre more than a metal album. Although the record is intensely heavy at times, the aggression comes across as a dramatic effect and it’s the keyboards and vocals that provide the epic songs’ basic structure. That said, Dark Passion Play reveals a better integration of opera, rock and folk than Nightwish have usually achieved, a change that seems part evolution but also largely a credit to the flexibility of Olzon’s vocal performance. I won’t be joining any Nightwish fanclubs after listening to this one but Dark Passion Play is a significant step in the right direction. (Roadrunner)