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Throughout history, many a fall from grace has been bestowed upon our sad, sordid reality, both mythological (Lucifer from Heaven) to impractical (Rob Blagojavich turning Illinois into a further laughing stock than it was prior to his criminal notions), and while such dust-ups were best left as humorous fodder amidst the pages of tabloids worldwide, the musical side of such things always seems to resonate the most with all of us. Never you mind the pop-star meltdowns of Spears and company (after all, that’s not MUSIC…); this is more abhorrent and noticeable in the underground/mainstream metal spectrum, where top-of-the-pops acts who once possessed a glimmer of humanity let it all go astray in the name of replacing every S with a $. We all know who did such displeasing scenarios, and we don’t like it one bit…especially since, you’d think, after all these years certain bands should know better.
And such a fine example is here, the deciding sin of Nightwish…
It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
It was far, far, FAR worse…
If I thought “Once” was the creative nadir of the group, then “Dark Passion Play” beats that dead horse so deep into the ground it’s halfway to China. What a wreck. What a fucking pitiful, miasmic, ignominious, hollow, tasteless, burnt beyond recognition WRECK! I’m talking both the album and the band, here, by the way. I swear, the whole time I subjected myself to this Abu Ghraib-style musical torment I sat numbly, my eyes barely blinking and mouth agape in utter disbelief and confounded silence. I really gave this excursion into maddening fury an honest, go-for-broke try, but I couldn’t take it. It’s just so horribly lifeless, so self-centered, so short-sighted, so very, very…UGH! There’s pretty much nothing left of the original Nightwish, where instead of the powerful, emotional, simultaneously uplifting and depressing works of art, we instead get the metallic equivalent of something you’d hear on “Now THAT’S What I Call Music!” volume googolplex. What an utter abomination, from first song to last, this album is, and I hated every second of it, every second that was stolen from me so horridly that I may or may not consider filing a lawsuit against the band to get my lost time back. No amount of better symphonic head-bashingness, guitar/bass interludes, or percussive niceties would ever redeem “Dark Passion Play” in ANY walk of life…even the mighty pipes of Marco Hietala, who is still more than on his mark, could even dent the diamond-hard worthlessness this album portrays. And at the helm of it all is poor Anette Olzon, who probably had no idea what she was getting into, or how big those shoes she’d be filling would be. I will say this, at the very least…the woman can sing. That’s fairly obvious. But coupling her Amy Lee-style warblings with a band like The Nightwishers just doesn’t gel in the least. She’s just not a good fit…not as a result of her replacing someone like Tarja, but because her approach is so much different than the band’s in general. It just ain’t workin’. The way I see it, if she were to end up in a style more befitting her particular voice, she’d shine rather brightly (I recall her vocal work on Pain’s latest album sounding pretty nice), but in this walk of life it’s just so diarrheic, and not by any inability on her part. It all falls squarely on the Christ Illusionary shoulders of Mr. Holopainen and his every attempt to sling more dung onto the legacy of what was once a promising and talented symphonic metal act now thrown under the bus in the name of every dollar sign and gawth douche bag the world over, as the likes of “Bye Bye Beautiful”, “Master Passion Greed”, and “Amaranth” are concerned. Oog…I think I need some Valium and two bottles of Listerine to wash out all this bile…
In the end “Dark Passion Play” is, by and large, one of the worst albums I’ve ever had the misfortune of knowing exists. With this single act of stylistic treason, Nightwish is now officially dead in my eyes, and any further recorded works from them will only go ignored, if not demonized, no matter how much all of you would claim that it’s the best thing to hit the metal world since “Number of the Beast”. No fucking THANKS!