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This whole issue of Tarja leaving the band is not what made me reluctant to buy this album. I heard the new singer, and I'm not going to lie, she has a fairly decent voice. New vocalists are always hard for fans to handle, but it's not exactly the end of the world.
If the new vocalist was not a problem for me, it looked like a pretty enjoyable album to me. "The Poet and The Pendulum", "Bye Bye Beautiful", "Amaranth", and "Cadence of Her Last Breath" were all well-written, if slightly pop-oriented, pieces. Then the album began to sink with "Master Passion Greed". Marco Hietela's screams and harsh singing were not the problem. The problem was that the song was nonsense. What the hell is it about? I was thinking. I did like the fact that it had a harder, more "pure metal" feel. Upon hearing the next four tracks (all mediocre) there was no doubt in my mind that Nightwish had made a huge dent in their name with Dark Passion Play.
The album's last songs were not worthy of much note except "The Islander", the first acoustic ballad I've heard from Nightwish in a while. The rest of the album was basically horrible: the final two tracks were much too long.
Many will enjoy this goth-rock hit, (because, undeniably, it is a popular record) but it is not my cup of tea. Nightwish can't repair the damage it has done here, not with a new album with this same attitude. It is hard to say whether the new singer had any affect on Tuomas' song writing, but I doubt she did. Most bands can take a new singer without the style of music completely changing: Dark Moor did it. Nightwish, perhaps, is suffering from this song writing slump because the members are getting older. However, I would expect someone who is three years older than when he wrote "Once" to be able to write a better tune than those found in "Dark Passion Play".