Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tarja - Colours In The Dark (2013)

When Tarja Turunen left Nightwish, it changed the band immensely. Not a very good change at all. After “Once”, the band just went downhill steadily. “Imaginaerum” is one of the most disappointing albums in a long time. Anyway, Tarja didn’t stop after Nightwish. Her first solo album was “Henk√§ys Ikuisuudesta” which was quite the departure from Nightwish. It was much softer and focused more on her vocals. Might I add that “You Would Have Loved This” is an incredibly beautiful song? “My Winter Storm” was the next album and it had a more symphonic sound than the last. “What Lies Beneath” was an okay album with some very good tracks. Her newest album “Colours in the Dark” is so far beyond the past albums in every aspect. Not only is it bigger, fuller and heavier, it also proves that Tarja can make epic symphonic metal all on her own.

“Victim of Ritual” is a great track that shows off her vocal prowess once again. She has a very distinct, buttery smooth voice that could be backed by a banjo and still sound amazing. One minute and thirty seven seconds into the track it sounds like it could be in a movie. It’s awesome. One of the highlight tracks on the album. “500 Letters” is a little more pop sounding than the first track but it’s still a good track that continues the flow perfectly. “Lucid Dreamer” is a more experimental song. It takes the album in a different direction and shows good variety. Its only problem is that it could have been two minutes shorter. It just drags on a teeny bit, but it’s still a solid song and sets up the mood for the rest of the album. “Never Enough” is the most radio friendly song on the album, but it’s actually good. It picks up the pace nicely after “Lucid Dreamer” and it’s really catchy. “Mystic Voyage” brings back the experimental side of the album and it’s great. It’s one of the slowest songs on the album. The mood and atmosphere that’s created in this song are just entrancing.

The next track “Darkness” is a Peter Gabriel cover. It’s a good cover, but it doesn’t really fit with the rest of the album. It should have been a bonus track so it wouldn’t mess with the flow. Going from “Mystic Voyage” to “Deliverance” would have been perfect. But as it is, it’s a great cover that’s just out of place on the record. “Deliverance” is quite possibly the best track on the album. It’s epic, melodic and beautiful. It’s one of the slower songs, but it’s damn good. “Neverlight” is much heavier than the rest of the album and also one of the weakest. It just feels very uninspired and hollow. It’s a hiccup in the album that can be skipped. “Until Silence” brings the album back to where it needs to be. It’s a sweeping epic that has a killer vocal melody and calming music. It’s a track that has to be heard. The closing track, “Medusa,” is kind of an oddball. I say that because it features Justin Furstenfeld of Blue October. It’s not that it’s a bad combination; it’s just a weird one. But they pull it off. His vocals fit perfectly into the song and it gives it a special sound that makes it feel complete. It’s definitely the most ambitious song on the album and it serves well as a closing track.

“Colours in the Dark” is a great album that goes above and beyond her past work. For any Nightwish fans out there, don’t make comparisons. This is completely different than anything the band has done. It’s a bold album that doesn’t hesitate to take chances and try new things. Granted not everything worked, but most of the album is gold. “Deliverance” is one of the best songs Tarja has ever done. Her vocals are as incredible as ever and they seem to be getting better with each album. For any fan of Tarja, this is an absolute must listen. It’s her most complete and genre bending album to date. Do not miss this.


- Brian DuBois

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