Picture that you’re the front lady of one of the most popular female fronted bands on the planet. You’ve turned kitsch into greatness. You’re riding on a wave of success. Then, bam, things happen away from the eyes of the fans, and you’re out of the massively popular band. Where do you go from there?
Would the most natural business choice be to set up something completely similar to what you just came from? Would you go into a entirely different direction and perhaps focus on your classical background?
In the case of Tarja Turunen, for it is the Finnish nightingale I am referring to, she did move in more than one direction. She’s done classical concerts, Christmas music and power/symphonic metal and hardrock. Not sure if you can call it an artistic direction, but it’s certainly diversity.
The same can be said of her latest release, ‘The Brightest Void’, which was recently unleashed upon the public as a baiter for the upcoming ‘proper’ album, ‘The Shadow Self’ (release date some time during August). ‘The Brightest Void’ is a collection of tunes that weren’t meant as an album, one being a remix of the song Paradise (What About Us?) with Within Temptation. You also find the song No Bitter End, which is a duet with Hanoi Rocks singer Michael Monroe, Eagle Eye, which is a duet with Tarja’s brother, Toni, a capable although not astonishing cover of Goldfinger.
The general impression of this album is that it is all extremely professional. The sound is perfect. Tarja’s voice is (as always) perfect. The chanteuse has tried to strike the balance between hard music and the broader appeal. She has probably got it exactly right. Only, for me personally, it’s a tad too teethless. No Bitter End starts out excellently with a fat and heavy groove. This is indeed metal! Your Heaven and Hell is too. Eagle Eye is less so, but still good, and her brother is not at all a bad singer.
An Empty Dreams is plain boring. Witch Hunt ditto. All traction is gone.
Shameless picks up again. Probably more rock than metal, even has a riff that kind of reminds me of D-A-D, but it’s got a certain something, this one. Cool chorus.
House of Wax, yes, the Paul McCartney song, Tarja also covers and, sadly, doesn’t manage to turn into something dangerous or interesting. Goldfinger, as mentioned, decent enough, but not totally amazing – which annoys me because it’s one of the grandest film tunes ever, and a metal version done with soul could be awesome.
Paradise (What About Us?) couples two of the greatest female metal voices ever, and the result is a pleasure to listen to. Although with a kind of laid back feel to it, the song progresses nicely, and the voices of Sharon and Tarja compliment each other in a great way. Catchy tune, great stuff.
This release is, as I said above, a baiter for the ‘real’ album, and as such it’s mostly for diehard fans of the Finnish soprano. The rest of us are looking forward to hear what ‘The Shadow Self’ will sound like.
01. No Bitter End
02. Your Heaven and Hell
03. Eagle Eye
04. An Empty Dream
05. Witch Hunt
07. House of Wax
Playing time: 43 minutes
Release date: 6th of June, 2016