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„Colours in the Dark“ is the third rock solo record of the icon of Symphonic Metal. No other artist shaped this genre as much as Tarja Turunen, back in the Nightwish days. Like her previous records, “My Winterstorm” and “What Lies Beneath”, also “Colours in the Dark” shows all the different sides of Tarja. As always, she and her band heavily experimented and the result are ten intense and very captivating songs. Again, it is not an easy album to listen to but everyone who is already familiar with Tarja´s music will notice that it is less chaotic than the forerunner albums. Trying out new things makes every album interesting and with “Colours in the Dark” they definitely didn´t stagnate but kept on growing, delivering quality songs like before. The fast time changes and melody variations are still there but it seems that with her new album Tarja has finally arrived at where she always wanted to go, as a musician, a singer and an artist.
On the whole, “Colours in the Dark” is more harmonic and a lot catchier than any other of her records. On the track “Lucid Dreamer” one can even hear Tarja´s daughter, Naomi, who was born last year. “500 Letters” is a very calm piece that does not showcase Tarja´s impressive vocal range but all of her emotions instead. This is a talent only few possess. Tarja simply makes every song her own, no matter whether she wrote it herself or someone else. She is able to put all her feelings into it and it´s easy to hear the difference. I don´t really know many singers who are able to do that. There´s also a Spanish-language song named “Mystique Voyage” on the record, as well as a duet with Justin Frustenfeld, frontman of US band Blue October.
I can´t really say which song I like the most on “Colours in the dark”. The only thing I can say is that I hope Tarja explores exactly this musical path further. And that´s because “Colours in the Dark” is, for sure, the best record that Tarja ever released. It´s a masterpiece from a one-of-a-kind artist. (Rating: 10 elks, Sandy Mahrer)
Four ears, two opinions:
When Tarja released her first solo album My Winterstorm in 2007, I was more than disappointed. The songs were like badly-cooked soup of song fragments and it lacked both balls as well as heart. But Colours in the Dark is very different: The three opening tracks are inspired by Tarja´s former band and reflect all parts of Nightwish´s heavier songs. Victim of Rituals is bombastic, has some opera vocals and also some heavy guitars. 500 Letters works without bombast but instead offers good riffing and an even better chorus. Lucid Dreamer, then again, sounds more like the rocky Century Child. All in all, these songs are more than just copies of the originals and they are a perfect entry into the album. After these songs, the album becomes a bit more quiet but also more experimental – partially, however, also dispensable. While Mystique Voyage has an Atlantis vibe, Deliverance and Until Silence offer some more bombast. Neverlight and Never Enough are some sort of harder and faster songs but they are also the most boring ones of the entire album. The grand finale is Medusa, an experimental duet, which I still don´t really understand.
All in all, I like Tarja 2013 much more than Tarja 2007. I think it´s mainly because of all the Nightwish-like stuff. But it is also nice to see and hear that Tarja also tries out some new things even though not all of those experiments are hits. (Rating: 7 elks, Timo Päßler)
Sandy Mahrer, Timo Päßler
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