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Tarja - The Brightest Void Award winner

Tarja
The Brightest Void
by Sammy M at 28 July 2016, 11:04 AM

Straight away I will say that TARJA does not seem to get the appreciation that she deserves. After her departure from NIGHTWISH, it seemed that a lot of her old fans decided not to give her a shot when she decided to go out on her own. However, I will say that since leaving the band, she has had more of an opportunity to go in to different genres of music which she certainly has done over the years. She has stuck to what made her a big name with some songs staying in that same symphonic metal style, but has also shown us that she can delve in to other forms of rock and metal, and on two other albums she has shown off that amazingly powerful voice by going full classical opera. “The Brightest Void” is basically made up of songs that didn’t quite make it on to “The Shadow Self”, her upcoming full length album. As she has said "During the long process of recording the songs for my new studio album “The Shadow Self”, I realized that there were so many tracks for just one album. So this time I decided to keep nothing for myself and to share all my favorite new songs with you, the fans, who have shown such passionate and constant support." As such, “The Brightest Void” may be considered an EP and possibly overlooked by many as a result, however as it turns out, even the supposedly weaker songs from TARJA can make a great EP. Also at nine tracks, this feels more like a full length, albeit short, album.

“The Brightest Void” doesn’t ever seem to stick to one genre, with some songs sounding like power metal, others seem almost glam, and one in particular “Witch-hunt” isn’t even rock or metal at all, and is instead a nice but somewhat hollow and haunting sounding ballad. Because of the exceptional and instantly recognisable voice of TARJA, these songs do all somehow sound like they belong in a category or genre of their own. The first track on the album “No Bitter End” is probably the catchiest of the lot and is probably the most accessible as a result. It’s the most mainstream radio friendly and TARJA seemed to realise this as it was also the first one that she did a music video for. On the next track “Your Heaven and Your Hell”, Michael Monroe from glam-punk band HANOI ROCKS, joins in on the vocals. His somewhat ugly and gritty style, is a huge contrast to TARJA, and actually works quite well with the feel of the song. It even has a saxophone solo which I can’t help but feel that Monroe is responsible for. “Eagle Eye” features Chad Smith from RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS on drums, and the younger brother of TARJA, Toni Turunen lending his vocals as well.

The final three tracks include two covers and a re-release which were all extremely welcome. “House Of Wax” being a cover originally written and performed by the legendary Paul McCartney in 2007, now given a roughed up and much more powerful rendition. “Goldfinger” is an amazing modernised version of the title song from the 1964 James Bond film of the same name. No disrespect to Shirley Bassey, but TARJA makes it far more powerful and honestly it feels like a better song as a result.  The final song is a re-release and differently mixed version of “Paradise (What About Us?)” originally released on the 2014 WITHIN TEMPTATION album “Hydra”. While the original was clearly more focused on Sharon den Adel in the mixing, this version changed things up and TARJA comes through much more on the harmonies. While I appreciate that they wanted to bring her forward a bit more, there’s something slightly off about the mix which makes it somewhat inferior to the original release. That said, it’s still a fantastic song and a great addition to the EP.

“The Brightest Void” is an extremely welcome sudden release by TARJA, and a great way to tide us over until the release of the full length “The Shadow Self”. Saying this album is an EP seems ridiculous as even with only nine tracks, it’s still longer and of far better quality than a lot of what is put out by other artists and passed off as a full album.


Songwriting: 8/10
Originality: 9/10
Memorability: 8/10
Production: 9/10

 

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
01. No Bitter End
02. Your Heaven and Your hell
03. Eagle Eye
04. An Empty Dream
05. Witch-hunt
06. Shameless
07. House Of Wax
08. Goldfinger
09. Paradise (What About Us)
Lineup:
Tarja Turunen – Vocals
Record Label: EarMUSIC
     


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