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Tarja – Colours in the dark

tarja - colours in the darkFinnish singer Tarja Turunen is back with her third rock/metal solo album – Colours in the dark.  Tarja is the Finnish classical singer who with Nightwish changed the female fronted metal scene dramatically.  No longer were female vocals limited to standard rock or metal styles (e.g. Doro or Girlschool), instead Tarja and Nightwish introduced classical or operatic vocals and blended them with metal to make something special.  Since then hundreds of bands have started to use a more classical style female vocal with varying degrees of success.
In 2005, after nine years in Nightwish, Tarja left the band and started her own solo career.  Since then she’s released two studio albums (“My winter storm” and “What lies beneath”) plus an EP (The Seer) and a live album (Act 1).  Technically it’s more than two solo albums, but I’ve ignored her Christmas album (Henkäys Ikuisuudesta) and her classical side project (Harus) and stuck to the rock/metal releases as these are the ones that are of most interest to fans of Tarja and Nightwish.

As it’s been three years since the last studio album then anticipation is high amongst fans eager to see how the new album compares to her earlier albums, and also in expectation that there will be tour dates in support of the album.

Two songs from the album have already been released – ‘Never enough’ was released as a teaser track, followed a few weeks later by the first single, ‘Victim of ritual’.  As fans will already be listening to these songs and will know what they’re like, I’ll skip over them for this review.

A track I love on the album is ‘500 letters’ which talk about an obsessive fan – or stalker. It’s a great song

With her other albums Tarja has included an 80’s cover – Alice Cooper’s ‘Poison’ and Whitesnake’s ‘Still of the night’.  personally I thought these were pretty awful as they weren’t at all suited to her voice, and just felt like they didn’t belong on the album.  Happily on this album, while there is a cover version, it’s actually a really good one.  The cover here is ‘Darkness’, a Peter Gabriel song, and it’s been done so well that it really feels like it belongs on the album – in fact I didn’t realise at first that it was a cover.  An great choice of song and it’s been re-worked so it’s got a different pace and as a result it’s an excellent cover that Tarja’s fans are going to love.

I think this could be Tarja’s best album yet.  I love it, and if you’re a fan of her solo work then you’re likely to love this album.  If however you’re expecting another Nightwish album then you’re out of luck – Tarja’s solo work is quite different but is still extremely good.  She really does bring the classical and metal worlds together, and ‘Victim of ritual’ is a real example of this, with the music being based around Ravels Bolero.

‘Colours in the dark’ will be released on 23rd August via earMUSIC.

Rating: 9/10

Track listing:

1. Victim of ritual
2. 500 letters
3. Lucid dreamer
4. Never enough
5. Mystique voyage
6. Darkness
7. Deliverance
8. Neverlight
9. Until silence
10. Medusa