TARJA – What Lies Beneath

Tarja - What Lies BeneathWhen Tarja Turunen left / got fired from Nightwish, many thought that we had seen the end of Nightwish because even though she never wrote any songs for the band, she pretty much was Nightwish with her soprano voice and her charismatic stage presence. Also, we all thought that Tarja’s solo career would kick Nightwish-butt all the way. But things actually went the other way around. When Nightwish released their most successful record of their career, the Anette Olzon fronted Dark Passion Play (2007), Tarja’s debut My Winter Storm (2007) proved not be that much to hang in your Christmas tree and it was a failure both musically and sales wise. It was pretty clear that Nightwish’s main composer Thoumas Holopainen was more important than Tarja as a frontwoman. Besides, Tarja’s broken English felt more annoying than ever and the songs didn’t do justice to her voice either. She also managed to slaughter Alice Cooper’s “Poison” beyond recognition. So the news of solo album number two didn’t exactly arouse me to sink my teeth into this one. After giving it a few spins I could note that this too is a really bad album.

There is no doubt that Tarja is a fantastic singer who possesses a voice with a huge range. On the other hand, I always found her rather annoying and I prefer Nightwish’s new singer Anette Olzon any day of the week. But no voice, how good it might be, is gonna save an album full of crap songs, in Tarja’s case, songs that doesn’t even feels like songs, just melodies, riffs and arrangement in a mix with no structure at all. Although there are some moments here that are not all bad. ”Anterroom Of Death”, the opening track is okay, sounds like a miniature musical and ”Falling Awake”, featuring Joe Satriani on guitar, is really good and easily the best song on here. Not that it has that much competition. The rest of the songs falls flat. But worst of all is the cover of Whitesnake’s ”Still Of The Night”. This is so bad it should be illegal. If you remember the dreadful rape on earlier mentioned Alice Cooper’s ”Poison” from her debut, then this is worse. It’s clear that Tarja needs a good songwriter and a better management to put her back on track, because frankly, I don’t think there is anyone out there who will appreciate this and if her management tells her otherwise her career will not last much longer. Back to the drawing table, leave this mess behind and start all over.

Jon Wilmenius (1/10)

Tracklist:

01. Anteroom of Death
02. Until My Last Breath
03. Dark Star
04. Underneath
05. Little Lies
06. Rivers of Lust
07. In For A Kill
08. Montañas de Silencio (exclusive North American track)
09. Falling Awake
10. The Archive of Lost Dreams
11. Crimson Deep

Disc Two:
01. We Are
02. Naiad
03. Still Of The Night (Whitesnake cover)

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