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3.58 | 37 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 2007

Filed under Symphonic Metal


1. The Poet and the Pendulum (13:54)
2. Bye Bye Beautiful (4:14)
3. Amaranth (3:51)
4. Cadence of Her Last Breath (4:14)
5. Master Passion Greed (6:02)
6. Eva (4:25)
7. Sahara (5:47)
8. Whoever Brings the Night (4:17)
9. For the Heart I Once Had (3:55)
10. The Islander (5:05)
11. Last of the Wilds (5:40)
12. 7 Days to the Wolves (7:03)
13. Meadows of Heaven (7:10)

Total Time: 75:45

Bonus disc
1. Escapist (5:00)
2. Meadows of Heaven (orchestral version) (7:13)
3. The Poet and the Pendulum (demo version) (13:41)

Total Time: 25:55


- Anette Olzon / vocals
- Tuomas Holopainen / keyboards
- Jukka "Julius" Nevalainen / drums
- Marco Tapani Hietala / bass, vocals
- Emppu Vuorinen / guitars

Guest Musicians:
- London Philharmonic Orchestra / Orchestra
- Metro Voices / Choir
- Guy Elliott / Lead Boy Soprano (on track 1)
- Tom Williams / Second Boy Soprano, Treble Vocals (on track 1)
- Troy Donockley / Bodhran, Uilleann Pipes, Low & Tin Whistle (on tracks 10, 11)
- Nollaig Casey / Fiddle (on track 11)
- Senni Eskelinen / Electric Kantele (on track 11)
- Greg Knowles / Cymbalom

About this release

Release date: September 26, 2007
Label: Nuclear Blast

Some versions contain the entire album as an instrumental bonus disc.

Thanks to the t 666, metalbaswee, adg211288, diamondblack for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Symphonic Power metal with Celtic flavours...

With Tarja being moved on in a whirlwind of Gothic dust, Anette Olzon joined Nightwish and injected a new passion and enthusiasm to the band. This amazing album begins with a 13 minute symphonic metal epic, with Anette sounding crystal clear and emotional among all the orchestral strings and grinding distorted guitars.

'The Poet and the Pendulum' certainly opens this release in a blaze of glory, with massive crescendos and some absolutely sumptuous strings. There is a passage of high octave vocals like an angelic choir layered over dreamy cello and synth strings, and the odd harp glissando. This is ultra dramatic music with some hyper orchestrations and downright chilling soundscapes. The violins are frenetic at one point and are joined by galloping metal riffs and a tirade of percussion and bass. Marco adds some growling vocals but they are not too intrusive. It ends with gorgeous vocals, dreamy piano and symphony. Overall, this is one of the greatest Nightwish songs in their extensive catalogue.

'Bye Bye Beautiful' is a fan favourite, featuring a heavy driving beat and an emphasis on the aggressive vocals of Marco. I prefer the female vocals and a more melodic approach with Nightwish. One of the most popular songs of recent years is 'Amaranth' which is rather heavy in rhythm and very melodic, with Anette adding just the right amount of grandeur to the wall of symphonic sounds. The choppy riff of Emppu's guitar on this track is excellent and it has an innovative structure ranging from bone crushing riffing to gentle piano by Tuomos.

'Cadence of Her Last Breath' has a pulsating rhythmic riff and more stabs of orchestra. Anette's voice is multi tracked and harmonised well with the gritty distortion and omnipresent strings. There is a thrash feel in 'Master Passion Greed', perhaps one of the fastest and heaviest, with Marco dominating on verses and then a mixture of symphonic and Anette joining him in the chorus. Jukka's drumming is supersonic in places and really drives along powerfully.

'Eva' begins with soft piano, strings and woodwind, and Anette really serenades with sweet tones. This is Nightwish in their melancholy mood, and they are able to provide some emotional moody scapes of immeasurable beauty. 'Sahara' is another melodic rocker that is a grower. The chugging riffs return with 'Whoever Brings the Night' sounding dark and more prone to a metal sound. The chorus builds with some intriguing choral vocal intonations and strings.

There is Celtic flavour present in 'The Islander' with flute, acoustics and stormy effects. Marco uses clean vocals and sounds a bit like Guy Manning. The theme that is concentric on a sea voyage further augments the Celtic sound. The albatross even makes an appearance, along with watery ghosts, bringing to mind the legend of the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. It builds to a twin violin solo and is very different to other Nightwish tracks and stands out as a result.

'Last of the Wilds' is an instrumental that follows seamlessly with more thunder and Celtic flute and violin, though the metal riffing guitar returns to up the tempo and atmosphere. I really like this side of Nightwish with the compelling music mixing folk prog with heavy guitars; it works so well. Emppu's lead break is a welcome embellishment along with some fragrant flute and tinkling keyboards.

'7 Days to the Wolves' is next and I expected some heavier material after all the Celtic flavours, and was not left waiting long. The drums pound heavily and then a metal riff crunches in with some violin serrations, sounding like Rammstein. Anette is back on harmonised vocals and Marco joins her later as the sound gets heavier. A lead break is heard briefly and then after a chorus the song breaks into a new time sig with some dramatic violins and faster drums. This is a terrific passage of music, and is augmented with more vocals but the song has changed, until it moves back to the measured rhythm; a great song reminding me of the style of Ayreon in places.

The last track is 'Meadows of Heaven' opening with melancholy strings and Celtic flute again, which really sounds dreamy and peaceful. Anette is sensuous on crystalline vocals, and this builds to a grandiose orchestration creating a wall of sound with the band at their most bombastic and emotionally charged.

Overall, this is a quality release from Nightwish, showcasing the new talents of Anette Olzon and focussing on symphonic orchestrations throughout. Some of the tracks are masterpieces such as the opener, and others seems to glide by unnoticed such as for the poppier 'For The Heart I Once Had'. The Gothic element is omnipresent and it is consistent in terms of quality musicianship, providing enough balance between metal and symphonics. I was very impressed with "Dark Passion Play"; an enjoyable listen with some tracks worthy of the bands' growing reputation as leaders in Symphonic metal.
Conor Fynes
'Dark Passion Play' - Nightwish (7/10)

'Dark Passion Play' is in a sense; the debut album of a 'new' Nightwish, a Nightwish robbed of their main trademark; the operatic antics of their frontwoman Tarja Turunen. Keeping this in mind, the metal world's ears were very open, and very cynical when this came out. Personally, I had never been too much of a fan of the band's music, and especially without their operatic grace, I wasn't sure I was going to like this... but I do, and I like it alot.

To put it simply, this is more than a collection of songs that are testing the waters for Ms. Anette Olsen (an amazing female vocalist, who while not having the distinction of Tarja's soprano, is very accomplished and has a beautiful voice that fits the music even better than her predecessor) but a full-on piece of genius. The main composer, Tuomas Holopanien (who is in my mind; a musical genius in his own right) has brought on an entire orchestra to the band's sound. While this isn't quite new to Nightwish ('Ghost Love Score' off of 'Once' for example; was very immersed in a symphonic sound) no time before has the band gone so far deep into a true symphonic territory.

I have to say, there were moments here where I was convinced I was listened to a complete symphonic metal masterpiece. Even beyond the obviously masterful epic 'The Poet And The Pendulum,' there are parts on here that are breathtaking.

The only problem with the album is that somewhere after the ballad 'Eva' and before 'The Islander' kicks in, there is a fair period of mainstream boredom that really hurt my overall appreciation of the album. The musical quality is obviously quite good seeing as there are orchestral arrangements throughout, but I will compelled to give the album a less-than- perfect score simply because of a sustained period where the album really takes a nosedive.

The album is certainly noteworthy however. The epic on the album 'The Poet & The Pendulum' is a masterpiece of music. Over the course of thirteen or so minutes, the listener to taken on a dramatic and powerful journey. It's one of the greatest epics I've ever listened to, and by far the greatest suprise on this album. 'The Poet & The Pendulum' really opened me up to the album.

The 'hit' on the album 'Amaranth' is also really good, and catchy. It shows the tasteful flavour of Anette's voice, and her voice really works well to mold any musical mood at her will.

Lastly, the folk-infused 'The Islander' is a very powerful acoustic song. It's the sort of song that would be best listened to curled up beside the log fire. There is a real feeling of 'storytelling' going on here that is trademark of folk, and the male vocals work very well in contrast with Anettes.

I think despite the weaker tracks, this album could have been a real masterpiece. While I have nothing against individual songs, I think the album (having such an epic sound to it) would have really benefitted from having a album-encompassing concept to it, such as Pain of Salvation's 'Be' record, or Kamelot's 'Epica.' As it stands however, 'Dark Passion Play' is a fantastic record, and hopefully a sign of good things to come from this talented Finnish band.
was a bit of a fan of Nightwish before I got this album. I had enjoyed listening to a lot of their stuff on the internet, and I could tell that quite a bit of it had some demanding musicianship to it. I figured I should get one of their albums, so I went for their latest one. I had known from looking up some stuff about the band that they had changed vocalists, but I was sure that the band wouldn't make too drastic of a change from their operatic singer Tarja. So I got this the next time I got to a shopping mall.

I put this in the CD player of the car and got ready to listen. I had known that the first track was a long one, so I figured it must be an epic like Ghost Love Score which went through several themes and moods and was absolutely fantastic. But once the drums came in on The Poet and the Pendulum, it felt like an average goth/alternative/rock song with a medium tempo 4/4 beat. Nothing special. The song continued, and I was apalled. This is a 13 minute song, and it's relying on pop hooks! Nothing grandiose or epic happens in the whole 13 minutes of this one. Granted, it's not the same chord progression over and over, so it happens to be a good long track, just not a great one.

The next couple of songs come on. More pop hooks, more distorted guitar that is prominent enough in the mix even to be called close to metal. Basic verse and chorus structures. The new vocalist sounds like some pop solo artist in front of a run of the mill alternative band. Nothing sticks out at all. Master Passion Greed sounds promising at the beginning enough to be at least a good metal song, but then it goes back to sounding like a regular old goth song. Eva breaks up the mediocre mid-tempo tracks to give the listener a mediocre slow-temp track instead. Yes, it is a pretty little song, but compared to Nightwish tracks in the past, it pales. It then goes back to the mid-tempo tracks.

There's a couple of songs saving the album from going entirely unlistenable. The Islander is a lovely track with maybe a drop of Celtic ballad influence. Marco, the bassist finally gets to kick the new dissapointment of a singer Annette into the background while he sings beautifully, this is the long forgotten light at the end of the world. They continue in the vein of this song by following it up with the instrumental Last of the Wilds another fairly good track. Again, you don't hear Anette's voice, possibly one of the reasons that this is one of the few listenable tracks on the album.

The next track, 7 Days to the Wolves goes back to the pop-like styles of the previous songs. The only difference is that the bridge section has a different tempo than the rest of the song, but the instrumental break really doesn't go anywhere.

Meadows of Heaven is a bit of a step up from a few of the songs. It's another ballad, starting off with a quiet pop/orchestral type background and ending the album on a pseudo gospel type ending. I guess this was probably one of the best ways to end the album. Nothing all that great, but better than most of the tracks on the album.

Overall, this is just a regressive step for Nightwish. This album is basically a pop album with pseudo heavy guitar and pseudo symphonic orchestra behind it. Nothing special.
After Nightwish kicked Tarja on to a dark and cold street, for no reason, basically because Tuomas is a bit whiny, (but like Morrissey, he does make some great music.) they started to make this album, while looking for a lead singer, who they found in a bin probabbly (Anette Olzon, they probabbly didn't find her in a bin, it was proabbly Tk Max or something).

To be honest, I think they knew that criticism would attack them from every corner. But how do you combat the criticism...with a great album of course. And did they succeed...obviously.

This album was actually suprisingly amazing. There was some meh meh moments, but the music did make up for it. Unlike the last album, the heaviness was toned down and the orchestra was turned up (still not Within Temptation...has anybody thought of giving Within Temptation this album in order to show them how to produce an album the right way).

The new singer isn't as good as Tarja, but to be honest, not many people are. She is a great singer and she is very good looking (well if she was a boot, I don't think anyone would like them anymore).

1. The Poet & The Pendulum - Well can you match Ghost Love Score, ICS Vortex you can. This song is beyond epic. It makes other symphonic metal bands cry. The soprano vocals, performed by Aled Jones (not really). The orchestra is amazing and it even reminds me of a film soundtrack. It's also very dramtatic. It's so dramatic that it made Peter Gabriel shed his skin, or scales, or whatever he is made of now. Yea, I'm being too funny. The lyrics are also very good, but I don't think the word rape should be used in a song, unless it's that song from Hamlet 2, "Raped In The Face".

2. Bye Bye Beuaitful -Tuomas, please, get over it. This song is amazing, but still, Tuomas is still cranking over Tarja, she's gone, get over it. The video also made no sense, why did you replace the guys with girls, it's so cheesey, Whitesnake did a parody of it. All in all, it's a still very catchy.

3. Amaranth - Annete's vocals are really shown off in this song. When I first heard this song, I didn't think it was that catchy, but it is incredibly infectious. Amazing song, incredibly remerable.

4. Cadence Of Her Last Breathe - This song is about Tuomas wishing that Tarja was dead. GET OVER IT... It's very catchy and the artwork which shows Tarja holding a butterfly was just stupid. If you are trying to hide the meaning of the it better.

5. Master Passion Greed - This song is about how Tuomas hates Tarja's husband. I'm just not gonna say anything.

6. Eva - Finally, the Tarja bashing is over. Back to songs about... homless... children. How depressing can you be? It is incredibly beautiful and the arrangement is great.

7. Sahara - Very epic and catchy. As long as it's not about Tarja.

8. Whoever Brings The Night - A song about prositutes. Why is there always a song about sex, Tuomas really needs to get lobotomised. Still a great song.

9. For The Heart I Once Had - A nice ballady song with a great chorus and an amazing vocal performance from Annette. :)

10. The Islander - A song about Tarja being on Lost, not really but I wouldn't be suprised if it wasn't. Very catchy and very nice. Great vocals from Marco, and I like the Uilean Pipes.

11. Last Of The Wilds - I have played this song, so many times, on nearlly every instrument known to man. I actually skipped this song, cause it already is playing in my head, even now.

12. 7 Days To The Wolves - Very epic and great riff. The chorus is also very catchy and memorable.

13. Meadows Of Heaven - A nice ballady song to end the album. And every band, at some stage, will end up using a gospel choir, It's called the Simon Cowell disease.

CONCLUSION - This album is great and really made critics stand up and applaude, but really awkwardly, like in a teen movie. Although, like every lyricist, Tuomas lyrics are getting worse, e.g. John Petrucci, Steve Harris, Mike Portnoy. Buy it, it's an amazing album.

Members reviews

I would like to be clear from the beginning on. I always had one single problem to get an approach to Nightwish and this problem was called Tarja Turunen. From an objective point of view, I am able to admit that she has without a doubt a very powerful and professional voice but I always thought that she was singing way too theatralic, too exagerated and without true emotions or feelings. Don't get me wrong, I listen to operas and symphonies and I adore bands or projects like "Therion", it is not a question of style but a question of convincing joy. Tarja Turunen didn't even know anything about metal when she joined the band, she never spent time with the other band members, she didn't really write some lyrics or something else for the band's purpose. In my opinion, she was always just there because she was a talented singer and while I appreciated the passionate music of Nightwish, I was never able to feel the same passion in the voice of the egocentric ice queen.

That's probably the reason why I saw the departure of Tarja Turunen as a new chance to identify with the music of Nightwish. One of my best friends, an absolute Nightwish fanboy who adored Tarja Turunen and who had almost every single, every vinyl version and special edition of each Nightwish release, had the opposite reaction. He still bought the "Amaranth" single and the "Dark Passion Play" album, listened to it a few times and never touched it again. He felt very disappointed and the band died ultimately for him with the departure of Tarja Turunen. For me, Nightwish really got born with the new singer Anette Olzon.

She is more natural, more human and she seems to enjoy what she does and you can feel it. She has maybe not the grace and the talent of Tarja Turunen, but she has more power and emotion and she does a convincing job on this new album. Finally, there was not everything focused on the singer in this band and this occasion was used by the musicians to improve and do more complex, progressive and diversified compositions than ever before.

You have a big variety of styles and genres on this record. Of course there are symphonical elements throughout the whole album, especially in "The Poet And The Pendulum". There are many fresh folk influences on this album like on "Last Of The Wild" and the use of Uilleman Pipes, Kanteles or whistles is quite present on this record. The band's typical power metal influences are also present in most of the songs for example in "The Poet And The Pendulum". There are also some death or thrash elements as on "Master Passion Greed". "Bye Bye Beautiul" has some Industrial Metal vibes and sounds very modern. Operatic ghospel influences can be found on "Meadows Of Heaven". Pop music influences in the key of ABBA that especially influenced the new singer Anette Olzon can be found on "Amaranth". Slightly Gothic influences can be heard on "Cadence of her last breath". Useless to say that the production of this record is brilliant and that the booklet is truly beautiful, artistical and inspiring.

All these styles, influences and ideas are bound together as a whole and well working and diversified album. From the soft, tender and breakable ballad like "Eva" to the most aggressive song ever of this band that is "Master Passion Greed", Nightwish deliver a fresh amount of creativity and nevertheless, the album has its own personal style and flow and Anette Olzon already shows that she has a very special and unqiue voice. Maybe not an outstanding voice like Tarja Turunen, but after a few lines, you can be sure to recognize her and can identify her very own style and different approach to the Nightwish songs. As I have even seen the band live in concert with her, I can only underline that she gives a new, a second life to the old Nightwish tunes. And I must congratulate the band to their hoice to a take a new kind of siner and not a copy of what has been done and seen before. Many fanboys are whining and still shouting Tarja's name during the concets but this was the best choice to be made. Anette Olzon is unique, different and a new chapter has been written.

What about the songs? Well, I think that Nightwish offer some of their best tracks ever on this record. Even the weaker ones like the pop ballad "For The Heart I Once Had" are at least catchy and easy to appreciate, but the true masterpieces are songs like diversified, dramatically and emotionally convulsing opener "The Poet And The Pendulum", the very calm down to earth acoustic folk song "The Islander", the brilliant and magic instrumental "Last Of The Wilds", the operatic and darkly powerful "Seven Days To The Wolves" as well as the progressive and symphonical ballad "Meadows Of Heaven" with its brilliant grand fianle with a ghospel choir. Add to that a very catchy "Bye Bye Beautiful" that reminds a little bit too much of "Wish I Had An Angel", the unforgettable smash hit "Amaranth" that you can't get out of your mind once you have lsitened to it, the haunting and most Gothic song on the album which is "Cadence Of Her Last Breath", the brutal and straight "Master Passion Greed", the very calm, dreamy and inspiring ballad "Eva" where Anette Olzon does an outstanding job and the oriental and somewhat exotic "Sahara" which is one of the less convincing songs. every song offers something special and unforgettable and even if there are two weaker songs, there is no single filler but many great killers on this record. My favourite one is the epic, personal and very atmospheric "The Poet And The Pendulum" that somewhat reunites the diversity of styles and creations on this record in one single outstanding song. This is the kind of song you just write once in a life time.

I didn't expect that much from a band that was rather difficult to approach for me but they delivered an outstanding masterpiece. I bought the album and lsitened to it over and over again and tried out the old stuff again but didn't feel the same passion and magic in it. I decided to see a concert of the band which was probably the best concert of the year 2007 for me. I am really looking forward to the next record they are creating right now. Nightwish has got a brand new and enthousiastic fan. And for the Tarja fans: Even if you may dislike Anette Olzon's voice which I would understand and tolerate (even if she merits a second chance from anyone), you can't deny the class of the compositions, of the music on this record and that's why extremely low rating are completely subjective nonsense. At least, you can listen to the instrumental CD of the special editions that has been especially created for you and then you can imagine the voice of Tarja. And please don't shout "Tarja, Tarja" during the concert. That woman has got a new band where you might do this and where you might not risk to get knocked out.

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