TARJA
Symphonic Metal / Non-Metal • Finland

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Tarja Soile Susanna Turunen Cabuli (born August 17, 1977, in Kitee, Finland), better known as Tarja Turunen (while she was vocalist of Nightwish) or simply Tarja (after she and Nightwish parted ways.), is a Finnish singer. She secretly married the Argentine businessman Marcelo Cabuli in early 2003.

She was the former lead singer of the Finnish band Nightwish which she founded along with Emppu Vuorinen and Tuomas Holopainen in 1996. After being expelled from the band in October 2005, Tarja Turunen is now devoting her time to her solo career under the stage name of Tarja.

Tarja's first solo album, My Winter Storm, was released in November 2007 and achieved gold status in Finland on the day of release. The album took the number 1 spot in the Finnish charts. Tarja also sings on track In The Picture, composed by Rage guitarist Victor Smolski, on Nuclear Blast Allstars' album 'Into
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Colours In The DarkColours In The Dark
Armoury Records 2013
Audio CD$6.51
$3.97 (used)
Luna Park RideLuna Park Ride
earMusic 2015
Audio CD$9.97
$10.11 (used)
My Winter Storm [CD/DVD Combo] [Deluxe Edition]My Winter Storm [CD/DVD Combo] [Deluxe Edition]
Deluxe Edition
Fontana International 2008
Audio CD$10.49
$7.99 (used)
Luna Park RideLuna Park Ride
Multiple Formats · Import
Imports 2015
DVD$14.92
$16.12 (used)
Left in the DarkLeft in the Dark
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$7.79
$9.39 (used)
Collector's EditionCollector's Edition
Import
Imports 2015
Audio CD$14.73
$16.29 (used)
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TARJA Discography

TARJA albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 2.25 | 2 ratings
Henkäys Ikuisuudesta
Non-Metal 2006
.. Album Cover 3.69 | 9 ratings
My Winter Storm
Symphonic Metal 2007
.. Album Cover 4.28 | 14 ratings
What Lies Beneath
Symphonic Metal 2010
.. Album Cover 3.98 | 5 ratings
Colours in the Dark
Symphonic Metal 2013

TARJA EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
The Seer EP
Symphonic Metal 2008

TARJA live albums

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
In Concert - Live At Sibelius Hall
Non-Metal 2011
.. Album Cover 4.05 | 2 ratings
Act I
Symphonic Metal 2012

TARJA demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Happy New Year
Non-Metal 2006
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
5 Track Promo
Symphonic Metal 2007
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Left In The Dark
Symphonic Metal 2014

TARJA boxset & compilations

TARJA singles (17)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
One Angel's Dream
Non-Metal 2004
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Yhden Enkelin Unelma
Non-Metal 2004
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Yhden Enkelin Unelma: Acoustic
Non-Metal 2004
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
You Would Have Loved This
Non-Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
I Walk Alone
Symphonic Metal 2007
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
I Walk Alone (artist version)
Symphonic Metal 2007
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Die Alive
Symphonic Metal 2008
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Enough / Wisdom of Wind
Symphonic Metal 2009
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Maailman Kauneimmat Joululaulut
Non-Metal 2009
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Falling Awake
Symphonic Metal 2010
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
I Feel Immortal
Symphonic Metal 2010
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Until My Last Breath
Symphonic Metal 2010
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Underneath
Symphonic Metal 2011
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Into The Sun
Symphonic Metal 2012
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Never Enough
Symphonic Metal 2013
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Victim of Ritual
Symphonic Metal 2013
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
500 Letters
Symphonic Metal 2013

TARJA movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Act I
Symphonic Metal 2012

TARJA Reviews

TARJA Colours in the Dark

Album · 2013 · Symphonic Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
arcane-beautiful
After putting Nightwish behind her, Tarja has been doing solo stuff for the past few years now. Being an operatic vocalist, I had always imagined that Tarja would be more opted for the classical direction, but instead she has stuck with the metal side. Now she has flirted with more classical arrangements, especially on her previous 2 releases, but she has never really strayed away from the metal world, and I'm glad she hasn't.

This album pretty much is Tarja's most experienced and maturer releases to date. While I did really enjoy her previous 2 albums, this album is really the one people will talk about in years to come. Having had some attention from the Prog world, Tarja has turned up the prog element on this album and really showed off her ability as a songwriter and a performer. In fact, her career these past few years has interested me a lot more than Nightwish's, who have pretty much played it safe since her leaving in 2005.

One of the most biggest changes I've noticed about this album is the song lengths. Usually the songs are roughly between 4 and 5 minutes, but on this album, there are a lot more lengthy compositions, with songs reaching the 7 to 8 minute mark. And, musically this album is very different. Tarja has seemed to tone down a lot of the aggressive side of her music and worked on the more experimental nature found in her music. When the metal side does come in, I have to admit, it's heavy as hell.

Vocally, Tarja is always on top form. She is one of the best female vocalists of all time in my opinion and can't really be matched. Her power to experiment but also keep her style is very impressive.

The opening track “Victim Of Ritual” is probably my personal favourite on the album. In many ways like the opening on her last album (“Anteroom Of Death”).

“500 Letters” is definitely one of the most catchiest songs on the album. A brilliant and epic chorus that may get stuck in your head for days. The lyrics are pretty cool too, and tell a story about a stalker...I think.

One of the album's longest compositions, “Lucid Dreamer” is a rather odd track. The middle section, with some rather slowed down avant garde and open space sections.

“Never Enough”, the first single dropped from the album is one of the more rockier song on the album. With an opening riff that is heavy as hell, it really is one of the most handbagging tracks Tarja has done. The ending to this song is pretty insane, with a giant discordant build up. Almost unlistenable, it does make you shiver a bit.

“Mystique Voyage,” another big track is a beautiful song with the lyrics in 3 different languages, English, Spanish & Finnish. A beautiful arrangement with some tear jerking vocals from Tarja.

We all know Tarja's love for Peter Gabriel, but I didn't expect her to cover one of his songs. But she pulled it off incredibly well. The track “Darkness” is a rather eclectic song for Peter and Tarja. Her vocals are really impressive in this song and show a wide range of diversity.

The album closer “Medusa” is definitely a highlight on the album. With guest vocals from Justin Furstenfeld from Blue October, the mix of Justin's very beautiful tones and Tarja's power really does bode well. In fact, I wouldn't mind hearing Justin do some more metal sounding songs in the future. The arrangement on this song is incredibly intense and powerful and ends the album spectacularly.

In conclusion, this is Tarja's best, most diverse and most experimental album to date. I really recommend giving this album a listen, because while she really has done something interesting, and has probably made something a lot better than her former bandmates in Nightwish. This proves that she really is a pioneering force in the metal world, and this is only the beginning in what I expect to be an absolutely exciting career ahead of her.

8.6/10

TARJA Act I

Live album · 2012 · Symphonic Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
dtguitarfan
For those of you unfamiliar with the name Tarja Turunen, she is a Finnish, operatic, lyric soprano singer/songwriter who is most well known for being the former lead vocalist of the Symphonic/Power Metal band Nightwish. Now, for those of you who are Tarja fans, I'm going to start this review off by making a confession: I had never listened to any of Tarja's solo material before this, despite having followed Nightwish since the late 90's and being disappointed when she and Nightwish parted ways. This was never a conscious decision, more like one of those things I just didn't get around to. So, keep this perspective in mind for this review.

Act 1 has all the ingredients that make a good live album – it has good performances by the musicians, a healthy level of crowd noise that adds to the experience of the recording but isn't so present as to distract from the music, good solos, and even a few cover songs. There is even a couple Nightwish covers thrown in. But Tarja focuses on her own solo material, rather than dwelling on her past with Nightwish. As a newbie to her material, I like that she seems to display her own style rather than sounding like "the former Nightwish singer doing more Nightwish-y stuff." Her band has a bit more edge to them than Nightwish – more crunch to the guitars and a heavier beat. Tarja's material also has more of a "Classic Metal" feel to it, but she juxtaposes her classical, operatic style of singing with this heaviness quite well. In fact, she features this juxtaposition quite well by switching back and forth in the opening song between an almost baroque sound with harpsichord and some choral arrangements and the heavy grinding metal sound. One thing I found to be very nice about Tarja's music is that for me it had this sort of déjà-vu-like feeling to it – many of the songs felt familiar to me even though I had never heard them before.

There are two things I felt this album did very well: 1) it made me want to see the DVD, and 2) it made me decide that I REALLY need to get on to the task of listening to Tarja's solo albums. I do feel, however, that I need to point out two things that did bother me about this live album. First off, for every song on the album, the crowd noise fades in at the beginning and fades out at the end. For me, this kind of destroys the illusion, or the feeling that I'm "almost present" at the live event, and it was a little annoying to be honest. The second thing that bothered me was the Whitesnake cover, "Still of the Night" – now, my opinion of this one might be discolored a bit by the fact that I LOVE the original. But to me, I felt that Tarja's style of singing just didn't work well with this song – and I think Tarja has a gorgeous voice that I feel usually works well within a metal context. But that being said, this is still an excellent live Metal release, and I'm sure the concert was quite an experience!

Originally written for www.seaoftranquility.org

TARJA My Winter Storm

Album · 2007 · Symphonic Metal
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My Winter Storm is the second solo album from former Nightwish lead singer Tarja Turunen, here performing under just Tarja. While it is the second album it is actually the first release from her that returns to the more symphonic metal sounds of her former band, albeit in a less grand style. While I’ve personally found the compositions somewhat lacking here, fans can be rest assured that My Winter Storm contains a top notch vocal performance. Overall the songs on the album fall into two groups, classical and metal, although with one particular track aside, this isn’t actually a very heavy album from Tarja.

Putting aside the fact that the album could have been heavier, it is a decent enough album with some killer operatically voiced songs, but has several other faults, some of which are just plain stupid. The most annoying fault is that fact that My Winter Storm begins with a 27 second intro track which is as good as the same tune as at the start of the first proper song, I Walk Alone. What was the point in that I ask? It should have been one song and done with it. It would not be so bad, had not this process been repeated not once, but three more times with Seeking for the Reign/The Reign, The Escape of the Doll/My Little Phoenix and Sunset/Damned and Divine. This is such a stupid thing to do in my opinion, each intro flows into its song like it’s a part of the same composition, and I think the album would have sounded better if they had been.

Another fault is Tarja’s utterly ridiculous cover of the Alice Copper classic, Poison. I won’t go so far as to say that she murders it, but it sounds like she had a damn good try. She somehow manages to make a good song sound very cringe worthy to say the least.

The only song on My Winter Storm that instantly strikes me of being heavier and more metal than the rest is Ciaran's Well, which features a guitar tone which is twice as heavy as everything else on here. This album is all about Tarja’s voice, and as such, there are a lot of times when she focuses entirely on classical music such as The Reign and Damned and Divine. These are pretty nice pieces in their own right, especially vocally, but for a metal album I’m thinking that most may prefer more metal and less classical, even for a symphonic metal release.

Some songs are rather mediocre I’m afraid to say, especially I Walk Alone, Sing For Me and Minor Heaven. Some go a step below into decidedly below average territory, but none more so than Oasis, the only song on the album that Tarja composed all on her own. It’s just plain boring. Tarja is one of the best female singers ever to appear in metal but now that the Tuomas Holopainen partnership has been broken, My Winter Storm seems to showcase a Tarja that has lost the songs that truly made her great (though as a note here, her next album had very much superior writing to much Nightwish work). Despite some decent writing efforts between her and a host of others on My Winter Storm, I can’t really say there’s anything of the standard of the songs she sang for Nightwish that her listeners were used to hearing her sing.

The better songs on My Winter Storm are Lost Northern Star, Boy and the Ghost, Damned and Divine, and Ciaran's Well. The Boy and the Ghost I think is the best song, but it is actually one of the ones which hardly has any of the rock/metal elements. It’s Tarja’s superb vocal performance that wins it for me.

I would recommend this album without hesitation to a fan of Tarja’s voice that wouldn’t care about the faults I outlined, but those who come to My Winter Storm looking for Nightwish will not find it. It’s still a good album, to the point that I do enjoy it a fair bit, but unfortunately it took Tarja to make a third album (2010’s What Lies Beneath) before I was really convinced by her solo work, so I wouldn’t recommend this album as a starting point, whether or not you’re coming from Nightwish or not. It may be retroactive to say it now given that it's several years since the album was released and what you're reading is an updated review due to yours truly not being happy with my writing skill when I first published this, but I personally only advise hearing this album after the following What Lies Beneath.

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven, scoring 7.8/10)

TARJA What Lies Beneath

Album · 2010 · Symphonic Metal
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What Lies Beneath is Tarja’s third album, but only her second metal album. Released in 2010 this album easily gets the biggest surprise of the year award for me. Having bought her previous effort, 2007’s My Winter Storm around the time it first came out and finding myself on the Nightwish (Tarja’s former band, just in case you’re reading this unaware) side of the split. It’s about three years later at the time of writing this review for its follow up, and it’s take me this long to really appreciate the previous effort, which even now I’d still consider very far from a masterpiece. So when bits and pieces of this following started getting released I was quite surprised. The material here is of such a superior quality to My Winter Storm and when I say superior I really mean it, because with What Lies Beneath Tarja has delivered an album that is really up there with some of the best albums of the genre, including those of her former band Nightwish, and has singlehandedly managed to make me prefer Tarja’s solo career to post-Tarja Nightwish, when previously I was generally of the opinion that she’d never be part of another truly great album.

The music is much heavier than what was on My Winter Storm and it’s also more to the point, there are no intro or transition tracks on the album, not even as an opener. This is a good thing, all those intros that were practically musically joined to the next songs on the previous album were really annoying to me and What Lies Beneath is a much better and accessible album for doing away with this practice. The music is also generally much more focused on being metal than classical pieces. There’s also a bit of a progressive flair in some of these songs such as opener Anteroom of Death and Dark Star, which was pretty unexpected. Anteroom of Death could even be consider somewhat avant-garde, it has some general weirdness that could be associated with the style, especially in the bridge where a cappella metallers Van Canto pop up for a guest appearance. Dark Star also features a guest appearance, this time from All That Remains vocalist Phil Labonte, providing some guest vocals, including a few growls, though these aren’t exactly prominent in the performance. While less experimental than Anteroom of Death and featuring a chorus laden with lyrical hooks, this one nevertheless is leaning towards that sound.

This is not to say that Tarja hasn’t included some more commercially orientated songs, she has, but in their own way they’re just as good as those experimental pieces like Anteroom of Death. They’re not all classical ballads either, they’re still heavy even if they’re designed to show off Tarja’s vocal ability and when riffs are prominent they’re very good. Until My Last Breath is the first of these songs, and what’s most of note here as the second track is how different it is to Anteroom of Death. Tarja’s vocals here are excellent and a nice guitar solo is thrown in for good measure. Third track I feel Immortal is another song which fits into this sort of category but this one mixes a heavy chorus with some atmospheric piano for the verses. While it can be seen as commercially orientated metal there is a great and epic atmosphere to it which is what sets it apart from songs with a similar intent by other artists. Later track Underneath is a more balladry type song, but is every bit as good in its own way, and the same goes for Rivers of Lust. What’s most of note at these more standard songs is that they have a great atmosphere which wasn’t really evident on My Winter Storm.

In For a Kill is quite a frantic sounding song, very guitar driven. Some have described this song as like something that would be the theme to a James Bond theme, and right down to the delivery of it and the name I have to say they’re are right to say that. Again vocals are superb and the song has a different feel to what’s been offered already, so we know already that What Lies beneath is no one track pony as is proved yet again with Little Lies, which begins with this little rhythm pattern that sounds like the build up to a shark attack in a film or something, which then kicks into some of the heaviest riffs on the album. Despite the hooks in the chorus this song doesn’t actually come across as overly commercial. Some of the riffs here don’t sound that far off to some stuff I’ve heard from groove metal bands.

Falling Awake deserves a special mention of its own as the lead single from the album, and may end up being the song that gets checked out by new listeners the most due to the presence of famed guitarist Joe Satriani guesting on it to provide some of his trademark lead guitar work. While not the most experimental song on the album it is nevertheless a surprising choice for the lead single given that this is actually no commercially inclined ballad like I Feel Immortal, it’s very much a metal song and it is one that can really get you going, especially when Joe kicks in. His leads are epic and really add to the atmosphere of the song, especially in the drawn out outro section. Great stuff.

The Archive of Lost Dreams is another ballad, and is the only song on the album to be completely composed by Tarja and is one of the most classically orientated pieces on the album. I can’t say it’s a particular favourite of mine but it does fit very well in with what the rest of the album offers. After this we’re just left with the last and longest track – Crimson Deep. Starting off with some bass guitar it quickly moves into some heavy riffs which sound almost doom metal at times, and perhaps would be if played slightly slower. It then turns the tone down a notch for the verse which features some haunting piano work. The guitars come back in pretty quick though in the build up to the chorus. Yet again there’s something a different feel to this song. At about four and a half minutes in everything else pulls back for a piano/acoustic guitar section which gradually builds up with some symphonies and then it gets heavy again in such a way that it may make you think if this is really a Tarja album, because it’s so completely unlike anything she has put her name to before. It’s far from generic and its very far from what she was doing with Nightwish. No, it’s much better than that. No one saw this coming, but Tarja just put out one of the best of 2010.

There also exists a deluxe edition with three bonus songs, two originals and a cover. I’ll talk about the originals first. The first of these is We Are, which starts off with some light music which lasts through the first verse until kicking into some heavy guitar riffs for the chorus. I love the chorus is this one, its pretty additive. After the second of these the songs takes one of those unexpected turns and goes all weird on us to the point of leaning towards the avant-garde again. The second original bonus track is Naiad, which is a more of a classical piece yet as times, while not metal doesn’t strange classical at all, still experimental and just well, different is probably the best word to use here. It’s also the best such piece (as in light non-metal songs) out of the whole package. Like Crimson Deep it’s another long track (both clock in at over seven minutes). These two shouldn’t really be bonus tracks as they’re every bit as great as what Tarja’s put on the main album, better than some even, which is why I’d recommend picking up the deluxe edition of the album over the regular, it’s worth it just for these two songs.

The cover is Still of the Night, originally by Whitesnake. My Winter Storm has a cover of Alice Cooper’s Poison and this is What Lies Beneath’s equivalent to that, except this time the right thing has been done by putting the classic rock cover as a bonus track since this way it doesn’t sound out of place even if it does still sound slightly ridiculous to hear Tarja doing a song of this style, which is far from that of her usual style, even in this very varied release. Enjoyable nonetheless.

(Review originally written for Heavy Metal Haven)

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