Dark Passion Play - Nightwish
One of the ultimate tests for a band to see if they have staying power is if they can survive the first album after they switch lead singers. Dark Passion Play is an example of how to not only survive and thrive when you switch lead singers. Yes there has been an adjustment in sound, but the roots of Nightwish remain the symphonics are there, the theatrics, and the combination of male and female vocals remains. The major changes are an influence of poppier sounds and the vocal range is lower than with Tarja. That being said this album is phenomenal, it isn't as good as Once but it is close. Now lets dive into this album.
Lets get the weaker songs out of the way, there are two, Cadence Of Her Last Breath, and Whoever Brings The Night are the two tracks which aren't quite on par with the rest of the album, the former of those two took the pop influence from lead single Amaranth and went along the poppier vein, it isn't nearly as effective as the lead single and suffers from the mixture of the vocals and the poppier approach, while remaining a solid track. Whoever Brings The Night is a heavier track but the poppier voice of Anette falls short here and doesn't mix well with the heavier approach. The album also is a little long which could be cut back a little bit.
Onto the greatness, who opens an album with a new singer with a 14 minute epic, Nightwish does, The Poet And The Pendulum is a brilliant choice in opener and an equally brilliant track, an absolute masterpiece, split into 5 parts. The track is symphonic, features some of Anette's most melodic and powerful vocals from the entire album, this song alone is what had me purchase the album. Bye Bye Beautiful is a brilliant follow up one of the albums singles and a nice mix between Marko and Anette, they form a great combination vocally and the track showcases a slightly more harsh approach from Marko which is shown throughout most of the album from him. Amaranth is a good poppy single which shows another side of the band. Sahara is a masterful desert anthem, the track has a driving force to it while feeling mysterious as Kashmir from Zeppelin it is an excellent track which closes off the first LP, an absolutely brilliant mini-epic. The instrumental Last Of The Wilds is one of the best instrumentals I've ever heard, it has a massive folk feel to it which works brilliantly on the album, especially in its placement. I think it would be an amazing track to either open a show or an encore with. I know it has a finnish vocal version which would be cool to have on the album as a bonus track. Finally there are two ballads Eva and The Islander, the former is a nice piano ballad, The Islander is another masterpiece sung by Marko I have not heard him sing this way before but I want to hear more like this, beautiful.