My "year of disappointments" continues with Nightwish' latest release, Dark Passion Play. As with the latest releases from Arch Enemy, Children of Bodom and Megadeth, Nightwish seems to forget who they are with this latest outing. It's a great sounding album, but it lacks the epic feel of its predecessors.
The first notable difference is the introduction of Annette as lead vocalist. Her voice and style are completely different in comparison to Tarja's previous reign with the band. It would be easy to put the blame on her, but quite frankly, she does a remarkable job stepping in with the band. I've had the pleasure of meeting Annette in person, and she's a sweetheart with a beautiful voice to boot.
No, the real problem with Dark Passion Play is that it sounds too much like a Lacuna Coil album. Any doubters, please take a moment to stack this album against a LC album and you'll see what I mean. It is perhaps more noticeable given the fact that Annette has a similar vocal style to Cristina Scabbia, but the real culprit here are the boys of Nightwish who have comprised songs that lack the gothic, operatic crunch of their previous entry, "Once."
Despite this shortcoming, Dark Passion Play is a fine album to listen to. I'm simply not listening to it "as much" as other Nightwish albums. Tarja's presence on those previous albums is not a factor, either. I sincerely hope that Nightwish do not stay down this path, and instead opt to head back into the beautiful territory of "Nemo," "Creek Mary's Blood" and "Ghost Love Score." They are masters in that field.