==~Who Is Tarja?~==
Tarja Turunen is one of Finland's sweethearts. She won the heart of many metal and classical fans around the globe for her soprano vocal ranges as the lead singer of Symphonic/Melodic metal band Nightwish, which is one of the most successful bands in their genre. Nightwish was founded in 1996 by herself, Tuomas Holpainen and Emppu Vuorinen.
Tarja and Nightwish stood out by mixing metal, rock, opera and classical elements together.
She was kicked out by the band through an open letter which is still available to read on the official Nightwish website. She was replaced by Anette Olzen and recorded their best selling album to date: Dark Passion Play without Tarja. Despite criticism, controversy and fans rage over Tarja's dismissal, Nightwish still remains as one of the best selling bands to originate in Finland.
Since being expelled on the band in late October in 2005, Tarja has made three studio albums: A Christmas album in 2006 (Henkays Ikuisuudesta), My Winter Storm in the following year and this year, What lies Beneath. My review focuses on the standard version but will contain mentions of bonus tracks.
The album is a huge step up from My Winter Storm where she finds herself much more comfortable and used to the solo career.
The cover and inlay design content are simple and effective. It uses a lot of black so the white swirls and patterns stand out. Some of the images remind me of musical promo pictures.
Lyrics are also included with photos to go on the side.
Release dates for the album
Finland: September 1st
Germany, Switzerland and Austria: September 3rd
Worldwide: September 6th
Brazil and North America: September 14th
The album was released in September in 2010. She spent until April this year recording the tracks and keeping up to date with her blogs. The standard version includes 11 tracks and the deluxe includes 3 bonus tracks and a clip with Tarja talking about her album.
Tarja was involved with a lot of the songs compared to Nightwish where it was Tuomas' main duty and in My Winter Storm some were written for her and she didn't put much song writing into it. So What Lies Beneath is one of her most personal albums to date. She has also produced and composed some herself.
The standard album lasts almost 55 minutes.
1. Anteroom Of Death (Feat. van Canto)
The opening track for the album. The musical introduction gives me a medieval vibe and the lyrics add to it. The things that stand out about about the song are the chorus and the lyrics: Are you joker, king or queen?
2. Until My Last Breath
A very good single choice here I think. It does take me back to the old Nightwish days. I think old Nightwish songs would get a lot of kick out of this song. Not much stands out here apart from it being a good and solid song.
Two music videos were released for it. The first one involves Tarja around in a deserted land with clips of a scuba diver. The second paints a scene were Tarja has passed away and she's a ghost.
3. I Feel Immortal
The song is very relaxing and is another good single choice. I like the usage of the scenery in the music video.
Standout lyrics: Slowly time forgets me, I'm only... only dreaming.
4. In For A Kill
Tarja does overdo a few notes but it still maintains a five-star. It's a harsh wave, especially the last line of the chorus.
This is a pretty nice ballad. Great flow and very simple lyrics. The chorus really stands out. If it was sung by a pop star it would song a bit bland but Tarja makes it work.
6. Little Lies
This is the closest to a filler track. Nothing wrong with it, I just prefer the other tracks.
7. Rivers Of Lust
This song is one of the most enchanting songs on the album. It's about a girl who is abused by a man who is well respected by the public but they don't know the terror they give to the poor girl. It's a beautiful song but can be painful to listen to due to the theme
8. Dark Star (feat. Phil Labonte)
This song has a dark vibe but it does remind me a little bit of nightwish as well.
9. Falling Awake
A very heavy and mysterious song. A very Tarja song. It does have some deja vu though.
10. The Archive Of Lost Dreams
This is a song that Tarja wrote and that she has all the writing credits for. It's a very raw ballad. It has the sad flow that gives you a feeling the end is nigh.
11. Crimson Deep (Feat. Will Calhoun)
I like the lyrics to this song the line in the first verse really stands out:
"Blood on my lips I taste the heavy lead."
The song gives the album a great closure.
Naiad - 4/5
Still Of The Night - 5/5
We Are - 5/5
Tarja Speak About What Lies Beneath video
Montañas de Silencio - This is an exclusive track for North America and it replaces the single I feel Immortal. 4/5
Standout tracks: Underneath, Rivers Of Lust, In For A Kill, Until My Last Breath, I feel Immortal, Crimson Deep, Naiad and The Still Of The Night.
Weaker tracks: Little Lies and Falling Awake
Tarja's talents are undeniable. Her work can appeal in the Metal, Rock and classical scene. The lyrics are thought provoking and the music shines just as much as her vocals shine. It's a very beautiful album that flow like a river. It's much different to Nightwish, past and present although some parts can trace back to her time in Nightwish. It's very consistent and I think it's a great improvement from My Winter Storm and listening to this album makes me want to keep an eye out for her next solo works.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Anteroom of Death
2 Until My Last Breath
3 I Feel Immortal
4 In For a Kill
6 Little Lies
7 Rivers of Lust
8 Dark Star
9 Falling Awake - Tarja, Joe Satriani
10 The Archive of Lost Dreams
11 Crimson Deep
Disc #2 Tracklisting
1 We Are
3 Still Of The Night
4 Tarja Speaks About What Lies Beneath