Tarja – “The Shadow Self” (earMUSIC)
Well, if you liked “The Brightest Void” then prepare yourself for more! Originally speculated as a double release, Tarja released two albums this year, this being the second, and as might be expected from the title, showing the darker, more melancholic and definitely heavier side to her personality. In fact, the sheer diversity of the material in both albums might actually have been overwhelming for a double album, so she’s definitely made the right move in separate releases in my opinion. Despite its darker tone, what impresses me about Tarja’s composing on “The Shadow Self” is that while being passionate and emotional, it isn’t depressive or negative in anyway, but rather expressive about the opposites inherent in all of us like love and hate, and moreover, that something of one exists in the other. Translated into the music, there clearly aren’t any taboos or boundaries so expect to hear classical, opera aria, epic rock, soft rock, bagpipes, mini piano concertos – and wait for it, the extreme metal ending complete with double bass drumming on ‘Too Many’! We’ve already seen how Tarja has been influenced by great female singers in covering Shirley Bassey’s ‘Goldfinger’ and on the heavy goth rock of ‘Demons In You’ she enlists the growls of Alissa White-Gluz to add to her own soprano brilliance. Elsewhere, she outdoes Muse in covering ‘Supremacy’ with a heavier reworking enhanced by orchestral strings while ‘Undertaker’ sounds very much like Kate Bush in a classical soft rock piece – excellent! My personal fave though, had to be ‘Diva’ where Turunen clearly goes for her own film score soundtrack, putting in a stellar soprano performance to this deep and emotional epic that is sure to garner her even more praise as a respected solo artiste in her own right.