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“Dark Passion Play” by Nightwish

Artist: Nightwish
Title: “Dark Passion Play”
Label: Roadrunner Records
Release Date: 9/28/2007
Genre: Symphonic Operatic Metal
Rating: 4.5/5

If you have missed the story so far here is where we stand; Tarja Turunen is no longer singing for Nightwish, the band held a world wide audition and presses on with a new member and new music – let the new Era begin. Attention Metal legions for it is my pleasure to introduce you to the beautiful Annette Olzon, who truly had some big shoes to fill and scores of fans to impress with her talents based on their loyalty to the former singer. “Dark Passion Play” is the long awaited return of Nightwish and what a return it is. Musically there has been no dramatic shift in the way of things because when it came to the composing end, it was always the task of bandleader/keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen. While Tuomas penned the music and lyrics for a good 85% of the release there are a couple of songs that have the talents of bassist Marco and guitarist Emppu as the creative force. Yet even with the added contributions from them the core sound is very simply the Nightwish that you had missed and longed for the return of. It opens with an epic number called “The Poet And The Pendulum” and I was surprised to find such a song as the introduction of Olzon. Broken into three distinct movements, the song demonstrates that Annette can handle all the varied aspects of Symphonic Metal that Nightwish delivers on a regular basis.
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“Amaranth” (Single) by Nightwish

Artist: Nightwish
Title: “Amaranth” (Single)
Label: Roadrunner Records
Release Date: 8/22/2007
Genre: Symphonic Metal
Rating: 5/5

The world is just about a month away from the release of “Dark Passion Play”, the brand-new album from Finland’s Nightwish. It’s the groups sixth overall release and the first with their new singer Anette Olzon. Back in May I scoped out a single called “Eva” (seen HERE if you missed it) and while I liked the track, will admit that it was a tad slower than I had expected of them in terms of a debut. Now the band has unleased an additional track in “Amaranth” and I’ve a few thoughts about it in comparison.
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“The End Of An Era” [DVD] by Nightwish

Artist: Nightwish
Title: “The End Of An Era”
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 6/19/2007
Style: Symphonic Operatic Metal
Rating: 5/5

There are good live concert DVD’s and then there are absolutely incredible ones and this my fellow Metal heads is the one that you will not easily forget, turn off or be left the same after watching. The Symphonic Operatic Metal fanatics know full well that Nightwish is one of the superpowers in this genre and had held the banner high after numerous releases of note. The concert was filmed in the Hartwall Areena in Helsinki, Finland back in October of 2005 as the band supported their latest release “Once”. It was a show that found the band on top of their game and raising the bar ever higher as far as both live performance and musical content were concerned. From start to finish the film keeps your attention as they explode upon the stage with their opener “Dark Chest Of Wonders” from the moment it begins and when lead singer Tarja Turunen walks out the crowd is absolutely ecstatic. Since this was the final night of touring for the “Once” album they were treated like returning heroes and admired legends. Those that had luckily witnessed a Nightwish concert in the past can attest to how exciting they are on stage musically and how tight the delivery of their songs comes across. Tarja herself has an incredible voice and while she seems able to break down walls with it at times there are other moments were she is as soft and subtle as a whisper. The show itself primarily focuses on the last release as well as touching upon some music from “Century Child” and while it features some of their classics in the mix for good measure you will need to purchase “From Wishes To Eternity” if you wanted the very old stuff. With this being a hometown closing show I had expected and hoped to find more of these in the set but it would not be the case.
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“Eva” (Single) by Nightwish

Artist: Nightwish
Title: “Eva” (Single)
Label: Roadrunner Records
Release Date: 5/22/2007
Genre: Symphonic Metal
Rating: 4/5

Well my friends the time has come for new music and the mighty Nightwish has welcomed singer Anette Olzon into their ranks and offered up the first single from their upcoming album with the song “Eva”. I guess it’s too early for a servicing of the brand-new full album, so this will have to suffice. Let’s talk a little about this one to generate some additional excitement. The song begins with a solemn piano intro and what sounded like a concertina but could just be one of the many effects Tuomas has under his command. It’s a slow number but the voice of Olzon is warm and compassionate. She’s clearly a different style of vocalist from Tarja and the song itself is not bombastic at all which is a vibe that many have grown accustomed to with Nightwish.
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“Highest Hopes: The Best Of Nightwish” by Nightwish

Artist: Nightwish
Title: “Highest Hopes: The Best Of Nightwish”
Label: Century Media Records
Release Date: 10/31/2006
Genre: Symphonic Operatic Metal
Rating: 3/5

And so we come to the release of “Highest Hopes: The Greatest Hits of Nightwish”. This single CD collection features some of the bands best material from across the albums that made them famous and allowed them to become one of the most beloved and respected of the Operatic Symphonic Metal groups of all time. I admit that there are some signature tracks missing like “Come Cover Me” and “She Is My Sin” and the die hards would probably also agree that this would have been better if served up as a double disc Anthology package. The group truly had too many good songs to be relegated to a single CD yet despite this some killer stuff is present such as “Over The Hills And Far Away” (the Gary Moore cover), “Dead Boy’s Poem”, and “Nemo”. Marco gets to sing solo on “High Hopes”, which is a Pink Floyd song that does not hold much resemblance to the classic Progressive Rock act.
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