without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Let me preface my review with this: I hate Once and the way that Nightwish sold-out. (Sure Century Child was a sign of things to come, but it wasn't actively bad.) I hate the fact that when I watched the End of an Era DVD, I saw lots of mallgoth 15-yr-old girls crying when a ballad started. I hate mallcore and I hate mallcore+orchestra too, and that is what this album is, just like Once. But even worse.
Of course the biggest change here is the singer. And while Olzon is a capable singer, she is just that. The woman can handle her melodies with ease and has an extremely sweet voice (too poppish for me), just like the girls from Epicrap, After Forever and many others. But the problem is that she sounds too standard, you cannot tell the difference between her and other singers. Of course this is a letdown when comparing her to Tarja (and you cannot avoid the comparison) if you consider Tarja's unique voice.
As for the rest of the band... this could almost be called Once II. Vuorinen again pumps out the same shitty, down-tuned and repetitive "riffs" which is nothing else than background noise ala Rammstein, and uses the same guitar tone that many think is "heavy" or "aggresive" but in reality it is harmless and designed for mallgoths. For instance, the intro to Master Passion Greed... sorry kids, but this is pure mallcore.
Early Nightwish didn't have an aggresive tone, but it was not down-tuned and very melodic, it didn't want to be aggresive.
The keyboards are again kind of there, in a gothic way that sucks, not used wonderfully like 7 years ago. If you took out the keyboards, you would have an Evanescence album.
You may notice that I don't go very deep into some aspects, and that is because they are just there, being complete filler.
Highlights? Forget, none of them. I can give you a low point instead: They sure had some slightly poppish songs before, but none of them sounded like Amaranth. This is the epitome of mallgoth pop. Chugga chugga guitars, a heavy dose of sugar and whiny vocals, what a mix.
The worse part is that this is so fucking long! At least Once had the decency to stop, this one does not. It goes on and on and on and fucking on.
Recommended to mallgoths. Metalheads avoid, stick to anything pre-Century Child.
PS: I couldn't even write funny comparisons in this review, in fact it is quite sad. Sad just like the path Nightwish took.