Dark Passion Play

In the end of 2005, at the height of their popularity, Nightwish kicked their iconic lead-singer, Tarja Turunen, from the band. Many people, including me, thought that it would be the end of them. It seemed obvious that the band could not recoved from the ordeal, even though they put on a brave face. They started looking for a new lead-singer, but it seemed like re-arranging deck-chairs on the Titanic.

Fast forward over 1.5 years: Nightwish just released their new album, featuring their new vocalist: Anette Olzon. The album has been talked and talked about for months before the release. This is the album that will tell whether the band has future after Tarja.

If this album is of any indication, Nightwish will be with us for next 20 years. They deliver. They really do. "Dark Passion Play" is a truly great album by any measure.

The album starts with a 14-minute tour de force: "The Poet and the Pendulum". It seems that the intention was to start the album with a bang, and they succeeded. Although it must be said that it's quite risky to subject the listener to a 14-minute song right at the beginning. Luckily the song is one of the finest songs Tuomas Holopainen has created, if not the finest. While being a very personal song, it also seems that the band wants to tell the nay-sayers that "No, you are wrong". The opening-track is an indication that the band has confidence in themselves and on their new record.

The album is also used as a tool to work on the splitting of ways between the band and Tarja Turunen. "Bye bye beautiful" is aimed squarely at Tarja, although the song is not really malicious. It would be extraordinary if the split between the band and Tarja would not show on the album, and "Bye bye beautiful is one of the two places it shows in". The other is "Master passion greed", which is targetted at Tarjas husband Marcelo Cabulli. The band blames Marcelo for the split, and it shows:

Who the hell are you to tell me
What to do, why to do, why bother
Leech in a mask of virtue
Such waste, to ever think of you again.


Not only are the lyrics aggressive, the whole soundscape of the song is very menacing. It's propably the most aggressive and dark song Nightwish has ever released. It's also interesting that Anette does not appear in this song (apart from some backing vocals), it's performed by Marco Hietala. It seems like they want to keep Anette outside of their fight with Cabulli.

All in all, those tracks are very effective tools of underlining the fact that the music is not created by "a band", but by real people why just happen to form a group called "Nightwish". Bands do not have feelings, people behind bands do.

What about the album as a whole? The songs cover wide area stylistically and thematically. But it still doesn't seem confusing or undetermined. There is a method behind the madness. Well, "Last of the Wilds" seems like an odd song, since it's instrumental. It's a good song, but it's a strange song amidts songs with strong vocal themes. Well, I got the double-CD version which contains instrumental version of the entire album, so it might sound perfect on that version.

You reap what you sow

So I was just watching this piece of news about inuits in Alaska. This one village is about to face destruction, since the global warming is melting the ice and raising the ocean, so the village is about to be washed away (literally). Now, as tragic as their story is, I could not help but notice few things:

a) Everyone (and I mean everyone) in the village drove around with ATV's. The village had a diameter of about 500 meters, so they _could_ have walked instead

b) they seemed to eat their food on disposable plates

So, as they were talking about the tragedy they are facing, I kept on thinking "but you yourself are partly to blame for this"... Yes, they would still be having these problems had they lived more eco-conscious lifestyles, but still. They polluted like crazy, and then complained that global warming is ruining their way of life.

...not with a bang, but with a whimper

It's done (well, I'm cheating a bit. There's still some minor things left, but they are just that: minor. They will not prevent us from actually living like normal human beings). No more renovation. Yesterday was spent hanging lights to the ceilings and putting together the guest-bed. On Saturday we removed all protective papers and plastics from the furniture and the floors. Our apartment looks like almost normal apartment with minimalist decor right now, instead of looking like a scene from the Book of Revelations.

The end was quite an anticlimax. Me and my mother in-law were running some errands, while the Mrs. and father in-law wallpapered the remaining wall in the livingroom. After that was done, we packed the tools, and went to have some evening snack at our in-laws place. And that's it.

As the renovation is winding down, we have been able to pay more attention to other things. Like our garden. What to do with it? There's this large Thuja in the backyard, that we were thinking about cutting down. But then we noticed that the local squirrels like it. They might be living there, but at the very least they use it's cones for food. So we can't cut it down (well, we could, but we like the squirrels. Yes, the squirrels are making a mess in our garden, but still.) So the Thuja stays.

We are still missing few lights (one in the livingroom for example), and we need to figure out how to handle it. Since we have already spent too much money on paint, wallpapers, turpentine, ceiling-lights, new carpets etc., I would really like to save some money and use one of our existing lights, instead of buying a new one. it might not be a perfect match for the livingroom, but money is money.

While the renovation itself is done, there's still work to be done to turn the place in to a proper home. we still need curtains. We still need to hang the paintings to the walls. We are still missing few pieces of furniture. But all in good time.