Having already released ‘The Brightest Void‘ just a few months ago, we are now treated to Tarja‘s second offering this year; ‘The Shadow Self‘. I wasn’t quite sure how ‘The Brightest Void’ would be topped; however this album is just a continuation of brilliance and even takes it up another notch!
Kicking off with ‘Innocence’ this was instantly a favourite of mine; I was lost in this track with the haunting piano theme through-out. I had to keep playing it again. It’s such a strong song that gets stuck in your head. The video she put out with this track added all the more power to the song; dealing with and raising awareness of domestic abuse. The imagery and powerful music is quite a potent mix, I will admit it did leave me emotional on my first watch.
A huge jump into ‘Demons In You,’ starting off with an almost jazz funk feel to the guitars kicking into slap bass; this track then develops into to a full on Beauty and the Beast duel. Tarja’s incredible clean vocals mixed with the growls of Alissa White Gluz. I had heard this track at Rock On Green festival, however I wasn’t as lucky as everyone at Wacken recently who saw Alissa join Tarja to perform it live! It follows into ‘The Bitter End‘ which featured on her first release this year; that however was the video/radio edit. This is the full version, albeit with a different intro. It was one of my favourites from the previous release, and it’s great to hear it how it was fully intended.
‘Love to Hate‘ again feels different to anything Tarja has done before, there is a great contrast between heavy riffage and beautiful cello and vocals. It leads into the absolute highlight of the album for me; I got to witness this track live at Rock On Park, I have just about recovered from how much it blew me away. ‘Supremacy‘ is a Muse cover, this in itself is a very brave and random choice, however the gamble very much pays off. I am in awe at the high notes she reaches and live I can say she pulls them all off to perfection. This leads into ‘The Living End’ which is a nice change of pace being an acoustic track. ‘Diva‘ is another very different track, I would be very intrigued to ask Tarja about the meaning to this one, I have a fair idea from the lyrics but I would love to know more.
‘Eagle Eye‘ is another track to feature on both releases, this time it is the album version, featuring guest vocals from Tarja’s brother Toni Turunen. It’s another special track. I was lucky enough to hear him perform live with Tarja on her first solo trip to the UK. Finishing off the album are three new tracks, ‘Undertaker’, Calling From the Wild’ and ‘Too Many.’ I was left in slight confusion though due to the extra bonus track on the end of ‘Too Many’ jumping from some of the heaviest riffs into a random electronic part. I am hoping that Tarja shines light on that soon, as I am mostly confused!
Overall a great album, Tarja has achieved so much this year, I think it’s an absolute highlight in her solo career, I look forward to seeing her in October at MFVF.