Colours In The Dark


Amongst the myriad of female voices in the Metal scene today, only one voice remains […]
By Tuoksu Holopainen
November 12, 2013
Tarja - Colours In The Dark album cover

Amongst the myriad of female voices in the Metal scene today, only one voice remains distinctively unmatched and timeless. Tarja Turunen, the Nordic Goddess of Symphonic Metal mainly known as the ex-front woman of the Finnish giant NIGHTWISH, is arguably the most highly-acclaimed vocalist that the female-fronted Metal scene has ever known. With her unique dark timbre, her soaring full-lyric Soprano and her mind-blowingly-powerful live performance, the 36 year old Finn is the favorite Lady among most  fans of the genre who have continued to admire her even after her dismissal from her ex-band, probably even more ever since. "Colours In The Dark" is but another steady step on her solo path which has already been paved by splendid works in which she was aiming to gradually digress from what she did with NIGHTWISH and develop her own sound. With this new album, Turunen definitely nailed that. This is an album that has a pure characteristically Tarja sound, much to her fans' cheering.

The album features longer, more solemn tracks than its predecessors, namely "My Winter Storm" and "What Lies Beneath", which were kind of replete with shorter, "hit" songs. Despite the bright title, "Colours In The Dark" has a darker undertone than it sounds, probably even darker the two previous albums, although Turunen now is presumably going through much less dark times than back then.

As in every single work of hers, Turunen's voice is the main feature of the album and as usual, it's never short of her majestic virtuosity, captivating beauty and stunning stamina. You can never expect less than a top-notch vocal performance from the Finnish Diva, be it in studio or in a live performance. She's unrivaled at this. Notwithstanding, her technique has tremendously improved since the hilarious Ocean born times and the over-dramatic, super-heavy operatic stuff. Over the years, Turunen managed to stretch her heavy full-lyric Soprano into a limber almost-coloratura Soprano, making it more approachable yet even more alluring.

The album opens up with "Victims Of Ritual" and the classical influence lingers as the opening is very reminiscent of Maurice Ravel's "Bolero". This track has killer-hooks and sounds simply more captivating than anything she has ever written. Although most tracks sound rather Rockish, Turunen does not abandon the Metal sound. This can be clearly heard in "Neverlight", a song that might confuse you for a few seconds as you might think you were listening to METALLICA's "Death Magnetic" instead. "500 Letters" belongs more in "What Lies Beneath" but still fits greatly in this album. "Lucid Dreamer" became instantly one of my top favorite Tarja songs, showcasing more experimental elements and we can even hear the sweet giggling of her newborn baby Naomi. This song is pretty much in the same vein as "Naiad" which is equally a favorite of mine. "Mystique Voyage" is yet another experimentation, a successful one that also turns out to be one of her best songs ever. However, "Never Enough" is absolutely the weakest track of the whole album and certainly the least-appealing. We can always expect a beautiful rendition and "Darkness" is a perfectly-executed Peter Gabriel cover.

Overall, I can definitely say that "Colours in the Dark" is the best Tarja album to date. Although at first it might not sound as catchy as What Lies Beneath, it only gets better every time you listen. It certainly takes some time to be fully-grasped as it's a complex album. Still, Mrs. Turunen has definitely made a great progress songwriting-wise and successfully established an independent style with this album.

9 / 10

Almost Perfect

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"Colours In The Dark" Track-listing:

1. Victim Of Ritual
2. 500 Letters
3. Lucid Dreamer
4. Never Enough
5. Mystique Voyage
6. Darkness (Peter Gabriel cover)
7. Deliverance
9. Until Silence
10. Medusa (feat. Justin Furstenfeld)

Tarja Lineup:

Tarja Turunen - Lead Vocals / Piano
Alex Scholpp - Guitar
Julian Barrett - Guitar
Kevin Chown, Doug Wimbish - Bass
Christian Kretschmar - Keyboards
Mike Terrana - Drums
Max Lilja - Cello

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