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Dark Passion Play is the sixth studio album by Finnish symphonic power metal quintet Nightwish, released on September 26, 2007 in Finland, September 28 in Europe and October 2, 2007 in the United Statesmarker. It was the first Nightwish album with the band's new lead singer, Anette Olzon, and the first album not featuring former vocalist Tarja Turunen, who was dismissed in October 2005. Lead songwriter Tuomas Holopainen has referred to it as the 'album that saved his life'.

The album has spawned five singles: "Eva", released on May 25, 2007, "Amaranth", released on August 22, "Erämaan viimeinen", released on December 5 in Finland only, "Bye Bye Beautiful", released on February 15, 2008, and The Islander", released on May 21. Three music videos were filmed to accompany the album's singles: The first two, "Amaranth" and "Bye Bye Beautiful" were both shot in Los Angelesmarker, USA, in spring 2007 and cost 270,000€. The "Amaranth" video was released together with the single on August 22, and "Bye Bye Beautiful" on February 15. The third music video, "The Islander", was finished in October, 2007, in Rovaniemimarker, Finland, and released in April, 2008. Holopainen has stated that at first they were planning not to shoot another video for Dark Passion Play, but when they were offered to make the video in a town with traditional Finnish nature, they couldn't refuse.

The first single, "Eva", was leaked on the Internet six days before its official release, prompting the band to release the single earlier to boost downloads. Several other versions of the song were posted on YouTube and torrent sites a month later. The entire album with record label voiceovers had been leaked on the Internet by August 2. The full album (without voiceovers) was leaked on September 21, 2007, as a result of several stores in Mexico selling the retail album much prior to the worldwide release date. The video for the album's fourth single "Bye Bye Beautiful" was leaked early on YouTube and similar sites.

During the first week of its release, the album entered the European charts as number one in 6 different countries, it sold over 130,000 copies in Finland alone, where was certified with 4 Platinum Discs. Worldwide, Dark Passion Play sold more than 1.5 milion copies between 2007 and 2009, being Nightwish's most successful album.

Background

In October 2005, after a world tour in support of Once, the band's lead singer Tarja Turunen was dismissed via an open letter. In search of a replacement, the band conducted auditions from March 17, 2006 to January 15, 2007, receiving over 2000 demo tapes in the process. Amidst much speculation the new Nightwish singer was officially announced on May 24, 2007 to be Anette Olzon, previously the singer for the Swedish AOR band Alyson Avenue. In an interview, Holopainen said they had made the decision in January 2007 based on the impression she made while performing the song "Ever Dream" from the album Century Child.

Dark Passion Play included an unusual amount of personal songs, including "The Poet and the Pendulum" which has been described as Holopainen's life story, and about being a composer and musician. Another song, "Meadows of Heaven" is a depiction of Holopainen's childhood and the feeling that it'll never return. Two songs, "Bye Bye Beautiful" and "Master Passion Greed" are about ex-member Tarja Turunen and her husband Marcelo Cabuli. "Bye Bye Beautiful" is for Tarja, who was dismissed from the band with an open letter in 2005, and his feelings before and after the time she changed her attitude towards the band and its music. This was at first rumoured among fans and later revealed by Holopainen in an interview. The chorus also contains the lyrics “Did you ever read what I wrote you?/Did you ever listen to what we played?” in which the first part is a reference to the lyrics written by Holopainen, and the second part is about her lack of dedication to the music.

Another song on the album, "Cadence of Her Last Breath", is a "very personal song" about running away. Other songs also contain many references to authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman and Stephen King, but the album also features a return to the fantasy theme with songs such as "Sahara", "Whoever Brings the Night" and "7 Days to the Wolves". The song "7 Days to the Wolves" from Dark Passion Play is loosely based on Stephen King's novel Wolves of the Calla, the fifth book in the Dark Tower series. The song "The Poet and the Pendulum"'s first section is called The White Lands of Empathica, which is also the fourth part of the seventh book in the Dark Tower series.

Production

Title Origin

According to Holopainen, the band's keyboardist and main composer, the album's title was originally intended to be The Poet and the Pendulum, named after the album's first track. However, it was changed to Dark Passion Play for several reasons; taking into account that The Poet And The Pendulum was too long for an album title, and that he didn't want to name an entire album after himself (as he is the Poet in the song). The new name, though, has to do with the album's opening track:

Faster Harder Nightwish was announced as the title of the upcoming record on April 1, 2007 on the official website. The title is possibly a pun on the Scooter single, Faster Harder Scooter. They also released a photo of the new cover's artwork, which led viewers to believe the band were completely changing their style from symphonic power metal to something more like thrash metal. Just hours later, a "promo sample" of the album could be found on several peer-to-peer networks. It was later stated on their official website that this was an April Fools' joke.

Recording

Nightwish began recording the instrumental parts of Dark Passion Play in the autumn of 2006, and were finished by spring 2007. A total of 15 songs were recorded. Following this, the orchestral recordings took place in Abbey Road Studiosmarker, London in two sessions: one in mid-December 2006 and the other in February 2007. During the orchestral recording in February they recorded a new orchestral intro and backing track to the song Wishmaster to use at live performances.

As with their previous studio album, Once, the band collaborated with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Metro Voices Choir. Vocal recordings began in February 2007, after Anette Olzon had been chosen as the band's new lead singer. The album was mixed and mastered at Finnvox Studios, Helsinkimarker in April — May 2007.

The album's production cost 500,000€, making it the most expensive album ever recorded in Finland. An extra 270,000€ was spent on filming the two music videos of the album.

Nightwish recorded a cover song for this album as well. It was a cover of "The Heart Asks Pleasure First" from The Piano soundtrack by Michael Nyman. This version includes lyrics written by Tuomas Holopainen and vocals by Anette Olzon. Before and during the recording of the song they still hadn't received permission to release the cover; and in the end they didn't get it either. Many fans were disappointed that the cover song wasn't released.

During the last concert of the Dark Passion Play tour 2007-2009, at Hartwall Arena, the Nightwish cover of this song was played during the outro while the band left the stage. This was most likely the only chance for people outside the band to be able to hear the song.

Reception and promotion

The album has sold more than 130,000 copies in Finland to date, placing 26th on the list of best-selling Finnish albums ever released, which has granted it a platinum certification four times. "Dark Passion Play" is close to selling more than 1,5 million copies globally. It was Best Selling Scandinavian Album of 2007. It was certified 2x platinum in Switzerland, Platinum in Germany and Hungary, Gold in Sweden, Austria and Poland, Silver in UK. Dark Passion Play is the most successful Nightwish' album in UK and USA. . As of January 2008, the album has topped the album charts in six countries. The singles, "Amaranth" and "Erämaan Viimeinen" have both reached the first position on Finnish charts. According to Last.fm, "Dark Passion Play" is their most played album, and its successful single "Amaranth" has as of February, 2009 been holding the position of most played song since its release.

The album was also critically acclaimed in most reviews. Allmusic called the album a "sort of opera aria" and praised "Bye Bye Beautiful", on a track pic and "Eva", that they say it focus on the new vocalist vocal abilities. Metal Storm said of "The Poet And The Pendulum" as "not just a statement to anyone who may have questioned the future of the band, but is also if you will, the title track with the pendulum on the front cover of the album and is also the epitome of the whole album to come", and called the album a "very much a Nightwish album is one of the most adventurous outings of the band's history."

To promote the release of the album, Nightwish embarked on the Dark Passion Play World Tour, that took place from 2007 to 2008, in this tour, Nightwish played for the first time at Israelmarker, Chinamarker, Hong Kongmarker, Lithuaniamarker, Luxembourgmarker, Irelandmarker and Serbiamarker.

On September 22, 2007, the band hosted a secret concert at Rock Café in Tallinnmarker, Estoniamarker, disguising itself as a Nightwish cover band called “Nachtwasser”. Their first official concert with the new singer was in Tel Avivmarker, Israelmarker on October 6, 2007. The Dark Passion Play tour thus started, visiting the United Statesmarker, Canadamarker, most of Europe, Asia, and Australia. In 2008, the band played over 100 shows, with dates in Oceania, Europe and Asia. In November, the band played at South America, and before this leg they took a 3 months break; Nightwish start the third leg in 2009, with dates in North America and Europe, and also played at various summer festivals, including Graspop Metal Meeting and Masters of Rock. The last show was played at Helsinkimarker Hartwall Areenamarker, with an attendance of 10 thousand people.

The support bands are changing throughout the tour. The frequent acts were the finnish pop rock female group Indica, and the swedish industrial metal band Pain. The USA tour was supported by Doom metal band Paradise Lost. In the last concert, the opening band was the finnish Apocalyptica. In March 11, 2009, was released an EP/DVD, Made in Hong Kong , with 7 live tracks recorded during the tour in various different concerts; the DVD contains three music videos as well as a documentary featuring material from Israel to South America, directed by Ville Lipiäinen.

Music description

Before the album's release, band leader Tuomas Holopainen said in an interview that the album will have a lot in common with the last album Once. For example, the band have kept the new kind of heavier songs (such as "Master Passion Greed," "7 Days to the Wolves," and "Bye Bye Beautiful."), but additionally there will be softer ballads (such as "Meadows of Heaven," "Eva," and "The Islander."). Also that there will be a very long symphonic track ("Ghost Love Score" on Once, "The Poet and the Pendulum" on Dark Passion Play.). The new album includes lots of guest musicians and orchestral parts — in the same interview, Holopainen said that as they recorded Once they had 18 people in the choir, and still this wasn't enough.

He also claimed there was going to be "shockers" that he didn't want to reveal. The longest track, "The Poet and the Pendulum," is a song that according to him is a very personal, epic piece that is a lot like film music, and lasts for almost 14 minutes. Music engineer Mikko Karmila has also stated that the style is much more progressive than earlier.

Holopainen also said that there are darker pieces reminiscent of Century Child, such as "The Poet and the Pendulum", and some others. It will be a dark album, both musically and lyrically. Even though the album is much more upbeat than Century Child. Songs that reflect this mood are for example the second single "Amaranth" and "Bye Bye Beautiful"'s B-side "Escapist."

Just like the album Once, Nightwish included many new influences and experimentations in several tracks. On Once, much inspiration came from Native American music, especially "Creek Mary's Blood," which featured Lakota Indian musician John Two-Hawks. However, on Dark Passion Play, much inspiration comes from Finnish and Irish culture and music, which can be clearly heard on "Last of the Wilds." Songs like "Master Passion Greed" included thrash metal elements as well, displaying the newer, heavier sound of the band.

"While Your Lips Are Still Red", a bonus track on the "Amaranth" single, is the first song featuring Marco Hietala's softer vocals. Hietala is generally known for his screaming and sometimes growling in the songs. "While Your Lips Are Still Red" is written by Tuomas as the theme song for the upcoming Finnish feature film Lieksa!, although it's technically not a Nightwish track as it only features Marco on vocals, Tuomas on keyboards and Jukka on drums.

The album's average track length (Spinefarm Records' version with 13 songs) is 5.8 minutes, with most of the songs lasting for about four minutes. Three tracks are over seven minutes long, which is long for a Nightwish record, a band that mostly had songs about 4–5 minutes and one or two longer per album. The track "The Poet and the Pendulum" is the longest song in the band's history, 13:55, three and a half minute longer than the song that used to occupy that position, "Beauty of the Beast."

Track listing

All lyrics by Tuomas Holopainen. Arrangements by Pip Williams, Hietala, Holopainen, Nevalainen, Vuorinen and Kinnunen.

Charts

Album

Chart Peak Position










1


3

Europe
4

Netherlandsmarker
5


6
7
12
14
17
18
22
24
33
42
Irelandmarker 62
84


Singles

Release date Title Notes Chart positions
AUS AUT DEN FIN FRA GER HUN ITA NET SPA SWE SWI
2007-05-25 "Eva" Radio/Internet only - - - 14 (1w) - - - - - - - -
2007-08-22 "Amaranth" 38 30 4 1 62 16 1 10 47 1 13 14
2007-12-04 "Erämaan Viimeinen" Finland only - - - 1 - - - - - - - -
2008-02-15 "Bye Bye Beautiful" - - - 5 54 35 - - - 4 - -
2008-05-30 "The Islander" - - - 1 91 - - - - 5 - -
AUS AUT DEN FIN FRA GER HUN ITA NET SPA SWE SWI
Number one hits - - - 3 - - 1 - - 1 - -
Top ten hits - - 1 4 - - 1 1 - 3 - -


Credits

The band



Guest musicians



Notes

I. The first single of the album, released on May 30, 2007, was a preview of the album. This was the first known track of the album, revealed in February 2007.

II. An epic piece that is dear to Tuomas, including orchestral parts. It is much like for example Ghost Love Score (Once).

III. The second single of the album, to be released in August 2007.

IV. More info.


References

  1. "The auditions for the new vocalist have ended"
  2. Roadrunner Records Official website
  3. TuomasHolopainen.net - Tuomas about the DPP tracks
  4. Ricarda Schwoebel: Interview Nightwish - Anette, Tuomas at Powermetal.de, August 3, 2007 (German, viewed on November 4, 2007)
  5. "Nightwish.com - April fools!"
  6. "Nightwish.com - New album's title and cover revealed"
  7. TuomasHolopainen.net - Interview
  8. TuomasHolopainen.net - News
  9. Statistics by IFPI Retrieved on 2009-03-17
  10. http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.Net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=89498
  11. "Nightwish.com - PARADISE LOST to support NW on the 2007 US tour"
  12. Nightwish.com - News (Suomi)
  13. Nightwish.com - News
  14. Discographie Nightwish - austriancharts.at
  15. danishcharts.com - Discography Nightwish
  16. finnishcharts.com - Discography Nightwish
  17. lescharts.com - Discographie Nightwish
  18. Musicline.de
  19. italiancharts.com - Discography Nightwish
  20. dutchcharts.nl - Discografie Nightwish
  21. swedishcharts.com - Discography Nightwish
  22. Discographie Nightwish - hitparade.ch
  23. "Nightwish.com - The auditions for the new vocalist have ended"


External links




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