Sunday, September 8, 2013

September 8th, 2013 - A Dark, Smoked Passion Play

Good afternoon!  Today I'm pairing a Stone Smoked Porter from Stone Brewing Company in Escondido, California with "Dark Passion Play" by Nightwish!

 Released on September 26th, 2007 in Finland, September 28th in Europe, and October 2nd in the United States,"Dark Passion Play" is the 6th studio album by Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish and the first with vocalist Anette Olzon, who replaced longtime vocalist Tarja Turunen.  Turunen was dismissed from the band in 2005.  Characterized by multiple styles and influences, "Dark Passion Play" primarily focuses on Finnish and Irish culture and music mixed with their more symphonic sound, but with thrash metal and alternative metal elements as well.  Along with the amazing talents of Olzon on vocals, Nightwish members on "Dark Passion Play" included: Tuomas Holopainen (primary songwriter and keyboards), Erno Vuorinen (electric and acoustic guitars), Jukka Nevalainen  (drums and percussion), and Marco Hietala (bass, acoustic guitar, and vocals).  Multiple guest musicians included: the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Troy Donockley (bodhran, uilleann pipes, low whistle and tin whistle), Nollaig Casey (violin), Zachary LaPorta (theremin), and Senni Eskelinen (electric kantele).  Heavier and darker than previous albums, songs like the epic "The Poet And The Pendulum," "Bye Bye Beautiful," "Cadence Of Her Last Breath," "Master Passion Greed," "Whoever Brings The Night," and "7 Days To The Wolves" are bombastic, fast-paced, and aggressive.  Like the Stone Smoked Porter, the albums is well-balanced with mellower, beautiful songs of hope and heartbreak like "Eva," "For The Heart I Once Had," "The Islander," and "Meadows Of Heaven."  In these songs, the beauty of Olzon's voice really shines.

The Stone Smoked Porter pours an almost ink-black with a thick, frothy, mocha head with very strong retention and sustained lacing.  The nose is smoky and earthy with notes of liquid smoke, roasted grains, dark chocolate, and a hint of hops.  Sweet and hoppy malts dominate the flavor initially, but yield to dark and bitter chocolate notes and smoked grains.  It has a smooth, medium body and nice balance to go along with the medium carbonation. Rich tasting and velvety, it goes down well.   Like "Dark Passion Play," the Stone Smoked Porter is incredibly rich and well-balanced with a clean finish.  This is definitely a very good beer to enjoy while listening to the wonderfully complex melodies of Nightwish!

Check out Stone Brewing Company at and learn more about Nightwish at!  Cheers!

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