TARJA — Colours in the Dark (review)

TARJA — Colours in the Dark album cover Album · 2013 · Symphonic Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
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.

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