'There can be only one!' - and the one is Nightwish.
Tarja Turonen is no longer a part of the masters of female fronted symphonic power metal; she has off course been replaced by Anette Olzon. A transition, which many feared would mean the end of this extremely influential metal band, but I assure you they have not taken as much as a step back. Actually they have taken a huge step forward and have come out at the end of the tunnel even stronger and more powerful.
Bandleader Tuomas Holopainen took a very long time to decide on the new vocalist, and I must say he chose wisely, and even though Anette does not have the operatic voice Tarja has, she is really a superb replacement for her.
The three opening songs show the full register of Nightwish and Anette; with the bombastic and epic 14 minutes opener "The Poet and the Pendulum", through the hard metal bomb "Bye Bye Beautiful" and "Amaranth", a very emotional song, which falls nicely in line with a song like "Nemo". Both the band and Anette show versatility, skills and maturity and I am sure all Nightwish fans will be convinced after these three Nightwish injections that Anette can carry the torch on for a long time...
I am a huge Nightwish fan and if 'Once' blew me away then I do not know which word is correct to describe my feelings for 'Dark Passion Play'! This album makes me forget the time I've spent listening to this band with Tarja and once this brilliant album ends, all I want to is push play again and be blown away by the sheer brilliance and depth of this timeless piece of metal.
The songs are all a bit more versatile, dramatic and mature, the band is tighter than ever, the production is excellent and Anette is in my book the perfect addition to their sound. They leave all of the competition in the dust behind them and prove they are the true masters and will remain on the throne for a very, very long time!
And the band has moved on, sure there's your usual share of all the familiar Nightwish trademarks, but all of a sudden we are served with some wonderful Celtic folk influences and Marco Hietala has been given a lot more room as a vocalist and his voice is a great contrast to Anette's.
A new era has begun, and I will always have a special place in my heart for Nightwish with Tarja, but its time to move on, and there is no better place to start than with 'Dark Passion Play'. For me a strong contender for album of the year, and surely the best symphonic power metal of 2007.