Review of Tarja’s “Colours in the Dark”

—There are two reviews we did on this album below. Credit given.—

Review by Jessica Clingempeel
© Ethereal Metal Webzine
9/27/2013

The most anticipating album of Tarja’s has finally released
and this is by far her greatest yet. With each new album Tarja shows that she
is growing and she is getting comfortable with her writing. Colours in the Dark
is an album of many varieties. Fans of all genres can gain something. There is
nothing to hate, at least I don’t think so.

The album contains 10 tracks, plus some bonuses depending on
the edition you buy, including ‘Into the Sun’ which was introduced to us in her
live DVD, ‘Act 1’. Those who do not find this album to be a masterpiece are
obviously deaf and know no good music! (Just kidding, but seriously.)

The tracks that stand out, in my opinion, are ‘500 Letters’,
‘Lucid Dreamer’, ‘Mystique Voyage’, ‘Until Silence’ ‘Into the Sun’,  and ‘Medusa’. Lets discuss three songs from
this album. You can read our review of ‘Victim of Ritual’ single on our site.

‘Mystique Voyage’ is truly the most beautiful song of the
album. This song was written in 3 different languages, plus French title, and
tells us the story of Tarja’s journeys. It creates a huge euphoric experience
and it truly feels you have gone on the voyage with her.

Welcome to my Mystique Voyage
An inner trip to fantasy, freedom and love
A conquest of fear, lonesomeness and dislike
Welcome to my world

‘Until Silence’ hit me the hardest on a personal level. This
is only my opinion of the song, but I felt it was a suicide note. I am not
saying Tarja is suicidal, no, so please do not start worrying, but as a person
who thinks of suicide a lot, I took it personally. Did she write this because
she knows someone personally who has died of or attempted suicide? Maybe she
wrote this in dedication to some of her fans who have felt this way. Whatever
the reason it is a very somber song that tugs at the heart. I could be wrong
and over analyzing things, it happens.

Goodbye, I know my love will go on
I’ll wait until the tears are gone
Goodbye, I know this love will go on
Until the silence says goodbye

‘Darkness’ is a cover song from Peter Gabriel. This is, by
far, one of the best covers Tarja has done and I liked them all. When I first
heard this cover I was like O.O WOW! I never heard Tarja use her voice this way
and even then it sounds amazing! She truly made it her own without necessarily
changing anything.

I’m afraid of what I do not know
I hate being undermined
I’m afraid I can be devil man
And I’m scared to be divine
Don’t mess with me my fuse is short
Beneath this skin these fragments caught

If you have not bought this album yet, do so. You will not
regret it. I cannot find any flaws in the songs. I only have one complaint, not
a big one, and that is of the album cover. It took me some time to get use to
it, but with the deluxe edition there is a slipcover that comes off revealing
only the picture which I love more than with the paint all over. It is
definitely different from her first covers. Anyways, good job Tarja! This is
one damn good album and I know we have many more to come from you.

I saw our memories die
Thought our dreams had lost their meaning
But dreams still in my heart
Are painting colours in the dark

Overall Rating: 5/5

—Review by Brian Kelman—
© Ethereal Metal Webzine

Prior to the release
of a new album by one of your favourite artists have you ever read/listened to
all the interviews, listened to all the song bites, and generally allowed all
the hype surrounding it all to capture your imagination to the point that your
expectations go through the stratosphere? That these expectations get so high
that the artist has no hope of satisfying or meeting them? Yes. I didn’t think
I was alone in this. So with a little trepidation I unwrapped the Colours In
The Dark CD, slipped it into my Bose, turned the lights down, settled into my
chair, put my feet up, closed my eyes and when I was perfectly comfortable
pressed play….

Not only were my expectations met they were exceeded by
far…So much so that I was rendered speechless. As ocean of symphonic sounds of
Colours In The Dark washed over me for the very first time and I was taken on
an unexpected journey of imagination and imagery. Even after listening to the
album in various settings unlike the one I created the first time, I still find
it difficult to find the right words to describe the trip it takes me on every
time. Given the psychedelic nature of the cover, trip is the right word. Rather
than attempt what is now the impossible I invite you to take your own personal
trip that Colours In The Dark can take you on…..That’s right. Colours In The
Dark is something that goes beyond just listening. It is to be experienced.

The band’s instrumentals are heavier than they have ever
been; the symphonic elements of orchestra and choir are bigger and bolder; and
Tarja’s vocals are magnificent and emotive as they’ve ever been. Colours In The
Dark is a perfect blend of symphonic metal, mixed by Tim Palmer with Tarja by
his side, and these elements are the vehicle to the journey that is limited
only by your imagination. The album is more than a head tripper’s delight.
You’ll rock! You’ll headbang! The wounds inflicted upon you by the world will
be caressed and soothed away by Tarja’s beautiful harmonies and melodies. It is
one of Tarja’s finest vocal performance to date.

Naomi makes her international recording debut on two tracks
on Colours In The Dark. Apparently one day ‘somewhere in the world’ she decided
to give her vocals a try when the recording equipment was on. Naomi’s
vocalizations can be heard on Lucid Dreamer and on Mystique Voyage. Namu gets
credit for being the seagull (heard in the background of the ocean waves at the
end of the song).

I have personal favourites on the album including: the
inspirational Victim of Ritual; the scary stalker of Tarja’s past in 500
Letters; the heavy dreamy Lucid Dreamer and Mystique Voyage (sung in 4
languages); Medusa, the duet with Justin Furstenfeld; and the band/orchestra
jam at the end of Deliverance just rocks! I’m certain you will discover your
favourites, too.

My only real criticism of Colours In The Dark is that Into
The Sun was not included with the man album. I did not believe that the live
version from Act I could be surpassed. I was wrong. I encourage getting the
Special Edition for the download code for this beautifully arranged ballad.

Tarja Turunen has been on the cutting edge of musical
innovation from the day she agreed to join a certain ‘mood music project’ at
the end of 1996. Colours In The Dark in sound, arrangement, and message
proclaims to the world that this continues. Colours In The Dark has pushed back
the limits of Tarja’s musical vision of the fusion of classical and rock/metal
music. It is symbolic of Tarja’s freedom from the restrictive formula or ritual
of the past and reflects her growing confidence in herself  and her music. She is coming out the ‘box’ of
insecurity she feels about presenting her writing, her music and herself. Have
no fear, she overcomes her natural shyness and Tarja the familiar is well
represented on Colours In The Dark. The many years of musical study in some of
the finest musical academies in Europe and learning the practical side of the
music business through recording and performing with Nightwish and as a solo
artist have left an indelible imprint upon Tarja into the present. Colours In
The Dark is a breathtaking addition in the catalogue of an artist who continues
to mature in a positive direction—both personally and professionally.

Overall Rating: 4.6/5

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