Tarja had two special shows, one in Romania which was filmed for DVD, and one in Prague which I attended. She played the best of her solo career in new arrangements that would only be heard at these shows. I was looking forward to this show so much wondering what would be in store. Attending the soundcheck gave me a glimpse of what was to come that night and it made me even more anxious.
The show was about 2 hours long and included 16 talented and wonderful musicians. The setlist included songs from every album, some performed many times on stage and some rarities that were missed including Naiad. Tarja has always shown just how professional and dramatic she is at her shows, putting on the best and giving her all to her audience, even when sick or just about burnt out. This was no exception and of all the shows I have been to, this by far was the best.
Every musician gave a flawless performance and you could see that each of them had good chemistry. If there were any mistakes, I did not really notice nor did anyone else as the audience continued to get louder and give more love through each song. The only complaint I would have would be the lighting. The lighting was beautiful, but at times flashed so much that it was hard to see the stage and musicians and was, at times, hurting my eyes.
One of my favourite performances of the night was ‘You and I’ as it is one of my favourite songs by Tarja. Beautifully written and beautifully performed. Other favourites included Love to Hate, Diva, I Feel Immortal, and Tears in Rain which was performed alongside with Clèmentine of Visions of Atlantis. Clèmentine did such an amazing job and her voice matches Tarja’s perfect. Falling Awake was performed with Toni Turunen, Tarja’s younger brother. He has much range in his voice and you can tell music runs through this family’s blood. Naiad was another great performance where all joined in together including Chiara Tricarico. You can see the full setlist below.
You can tell a lot of work was put into these shows and into the new arrangements of these songs. Having seen photos from the show in Romania I cannot wait to have a copy of the DVD in my hands. I only wish the show in Prague was also recorded as the atmosphere of the audience was wonderful, the theatre was beautiful, and the show was just top notch. Maybe they will put some of the fan’s clips onto the DVD as a bonus. 😊
Interview by Jessica Clingempeel | January 15, 2019
With each album, you have grown, gone bigger, and have gotten even better. Did you feel the challenges for this album were easier than previous times or harder?
Through the years I have realised that I have become more relaxed with my album productions. This has to do with the fact that I have already pretty many albums behind me and the work including it’s challenges are not unbearable tasks for me any longer. Of course I am always facing new challenges during songwriting and production, but I am not judging myself as hard as I used to do in the beginning of my career. Experience definitely helps and the confidence I have gained as well, but this didn’t happen overnight.
The orchestration in this album is beautiful and I can see this entire album being performed with an actual orchestra. Have you had any thoughts of doing something like this?
I have been lucky to work with several symphonic orchestras in my career, so this could be a really nice idea to work on. Anyways, I don’t have any plans for it at the moment.
You had previously stated that this album is the most personal and that you went through some things, such as health-related issues, which led to this album. Would you care to discuss some of those moments and to help listeners understand you and your songs better?
Actually I prefer not to bring these issues to the light of day, yet. The music helped me to overcome some of them and understand myself better, so that’s why I wanted to write about these things on my album, but my personal life belongs to me.
Was there any one song that you struggled with or did the lyric writing become easy once started?
The lyric writing has never been an easy process for me, nor it was that this time. I had all the doubts of the world around me when I started writing the lyrics, but once I got the first song down, I felt I was ready for the challenge.
You, along with Alex Scholpp, were the main writers of In the Raw. Did you write with anyone else apart from Alex?
With Alex I wrote actually two songs on the album as I did with Mattias Lindblom. There are other writers involved who had been writing with me along the years. Those are Julian Barrett, Erik Nyholm, James Dooley, Johnny Lee Andrews and Bart Hendrickson.
Spirits of the Sea was dedicated to the crew of ARA San Juan. Have you received any comments from those close to them? Did you personally know any of the families?
No, I haven’t been in touch with the families nor I knew them personally.
I have read elsewhere that the U.S. may be seeing you again with this album. I know you cannot tell much when it comes to touring but, are there any estimated dates at least?
We are currently and constantly working on the album tours worldwide, so I have my high hopes that I will do at least some shows in US with this album. Thank you for the patience.
In January you will have two special concerts that will be recorded for a DVD. What was the idea behind doing this and also the guests that were selected to participate?
I am celebrating my 15th year as a solo artist this year, so I thought it could be a nice idea to have a great party with the musicians that have been working and supporting me through these incredible years. I am not planning to do a world tour with this project, but willing these concerts to remain as something very special and unique. There are no invited, guest musicians in these shows, but a complete line up of musicians who are performing all the songs in the show together with me.
When will we see Outlanders come to life?
Hopefully soon! 🙂 I am recording the last bits and pieces after the best of concerts and my idea is to finish with the production during this spring time. So….I am pretty sure you will be able to hear soon what Torsten and I have been working with during millions of past years.
—Just a few select questions from some of your USA fan club members—
Luis: How was the orchestral process like for In the Raw? Which orchestra/choir did you use this time or was it all digitally produced orchestral sounds?
There was no live orchestra involved this time on the album, but we used samples. Aren’t they sounding amazing? 🙂
Matt: Will My Winter Storm ever get an anniversary box set release?
We don’t have that release in our plans at the moment, even though it’s a nice idea.
Shanell: Are there any songs on your list that you would love to do a cover of?
Covering a song is always a huge challenge, because I need to have a reason for doing it. Also in my productions I always want to respect the original song, but at the same time I need to feel the song as one of my own ones, so it is difficult to choose one particular song to cover. I am doing lots of cover songs in other projects of mine, when I sing with the symphonic orchestras for example, so I am not really missing the chance to cover songs for my albums necessarily. But saying all this, maybe you will hear me covering a song for my future record anyways! HA!
Kathleen: What inspires you to write songs? I would love to know what inspired ‘Oasis’ as it is my mother’s favourite song and still calms me today.
Many things are inspiring me to write music. For example my crazy life, things that I explore or experience during my journeys with music and people that I meet with their incredible stories. But also music itself inspires me. For Oasis one of the biggest inspirations was scores/ film music. I wanted to write a song that would make me feel peaceful and calm, no matter there is a storm outside. I am happy to hear that you and your mom can enjoy my song.
In closing, are there any last words for your fans and readers? I want to thank you for the love and support. I really hope to get to rock with you soon with my latest record! Thank you for keeping my storm strong.
Review, Photos, & Videos by Jessica Clingempeel | December 17, 2019
If you are looking for a great Christmas experience, then catch one of Tarja’s Christmas shows. I have been wanting to catch one of Tarja’s classical/Christmas shows and finally this year I was able to mark that off my bucket list. I had tickets for her last two shows, plus a ticket to Raskasta Joulua at the Hartwall Arena where she was supposed to participate. Unfortunately, two shows were cancelled due to illness.
The Tampere show ended up being Tarja’s last show of her Finnish Christmas tour. She had been battling the flu for a while, and after Tampere she just could not go on. When watching her perform you would never know she was sick. She made those high notes seem effortless and the entire night was spectacular. She was dressed in a beautiful black gown and a smile stayed on her face the entire night.
Her setlist included many favourites from both of her Christmas albums from ‘O Come O Come Emmanuel’ to classic Finnish songs from her first Christmas album, Henkäys Ikuisuudesta and several Ave Marias. My favourite of the night had to be What Child is This. Tarja was accompanied by three other known musicians; Max Lilja (cello), Julian Barrett (guitars), and Guillermo De Medio (keyboards); who did an outstanding band solo of Little Drummer Boy.
The venue, Tampere Cathedral, was a beautiful church which made the atmosphere more magnificent. The church was also filled with fans, both local and international. The show sent chills down my spine as her voice filled the entire cathedral. I left that night in awe and wish it hadn’t ended. I was looking forward to the next night in Kuusankoski, but as said before, was cancelled understandably. I hope to catch more Christmas shows next year as it is an experience to not miss.
Below, exclusive videos by me. Please only share the youtube links or the webzine. Uploading anywhere else is prohibited.
Dead promises – we all hate them. But what can they teach us? In Tarja’s new song “Dead Promises”, Tarja’s departure from symphonic metal is obvious within the first 30 seconds of this amazing track. (The heaviness kinda brings me back to Ciaran’s Well from My Winter Storm) The intro is lead guitar based. It makes me wonder if Tarja had some influence from Stratovarius during the “Nordic Symphony”. Anyway, at about :17 seconds in, the first power chord hits, and gives you an idea of what this song is made of. Just wait for it. Then the main riff, with drums, kicks in at about :46 seconds, which is where I’d imagine the pit will break out? 🙂
Tarja’s melodies in this song are extremely catchy, no surprise there. What I find most intriguing though is, for a lack of better words, the “rawness” of Tarja’s emotions throughout the melodies. I’ve been a huge fan of Tarja since about 2001, but I’ve never heard such raw emotion coming from her as I have in this song, both lyrically and melodically. This album is said to dive into the raw state of Tarja’s emotion, bringing us into a very personal place lyrically. This song doesn’t disappoint in that regard.
This song truly demonstrates Tarja’s writing ability to hook the listener within just seconds of the song. Driving/heavy guitars, grooving and pulse pounding drums and yet, subtle verses. Tarja’s vocal versatility shines in “Dead Promises”; from her light yet driving “ahh ahh ahhhh”’s during the intro and in between verses, to her more laid back voice during the verses “I’ve seen the walls collapsing, breaking down countless times”, to her belting out “Dead Promises” in the choruses.
“Dead promises Games you play will kill your dreams Promises mean everything Life won’t look back for you”
This line in particular means a lot to me. I’ve had someone in my life that I’ve known since I was 9 years old. This person always made promises that they’d be there to support me, and would always be there to help me grow. Then the backbiting and the dead promises started. This person did everything they could to break me down, and eventually, killed a dream for me. I however then look to the line in the second verse “Why can’t you see that your powers will weaken and fall? Oh why, you seem to forget what you make us recall.” This person only had power over me because I allowed them to. Thankfully, I got myself out of that toxic situation and have made new dreams that are becoming reality.
For me, this song reminds us of what empty promises have taught us throughout our lives. We can chose to be a victim, or a victor. We can’t let those who hurt us with empty promises define who we are, and they only define who we are if we give them the power to do so.
If this song is any indication as to what the rest of “In the Raw” holds, I absolutely can’t wait. I always find a true connection to music that is honest and raw; music that pours out emotion and doesn’t hold back. Tarja always pushes the boundaries with her music and tries new things, and because of that her music is always evolving. *
As a fan of Tarja since I discovered Nightwish in 2001, I have always had a deep appreciation for all of her music, and have always been able to find a personal connection to her lyrics; and “Railroads” is no exception! This song, to me, has a beautiful opening. (It’s actually hard not to envision an older railroad crossing just before the vocals come in.)
The first few lines alone I connect to right away. “Hard to believe in, strikes like a bad sin. Live without meaning is no life at all. Dreaming victorious, death to be glorious. Conquering new worlds further than before.”
Everyone longs to find meaning in their lives and it’s hard to believe in life without one. For some, it’s a career. For many, it’s family and their loved ones. For others, it’s faith. For me, it was my new found faith as a Christian that gave my life meaning.
Throughout my middle school/high school years, I went through a really bad depression. We had a lot of financial worries throughout those years and things were really difficult emotionally, financially and socially. I dealt with a lot of emotional bullying, which turned physical at times as well. Back in 2008, a close friend introduced to me to the Church that I’m going to still to this day, and my life has completely changed for the better. I have a much better career path now, an amazing Wife who I met at Church, and have found true happiness and joy in my life.
When the chorus kicks in “Come show me the love that fills your heart. You’ll see this moment will redeem the past, and shine tomorrow railroads with your light.” the music builds with more intense strings and chugging guitars. After the second chorus, there’s an instrumental interlude for about :38 seconds where the strings intensify even more and pull to the front of the melody from the chorus. I’ve always been a sucker for strings with hard rock, and this section is just great!
For me, the chorus is really the hook of this song. The very moment that we discover the meaning of our lives, we find a love and a drive that fills our hearts. For me, when I turned to my faith as a Christian, that exact moment in time redeemed my past. In this moment, whatever your purpose is, once you identify it, you become a light for all of those around you who may still be in the dark. You’re able to help others who have been in your same situation because you’ve been through it and came out on the other side victorious.
Thank you Tarja, yet again, for your constant inspiration. Thank you for sharing something so beautiful, yet something so raw. I can’t wait to hear the rest of this album!
Tears in Rain
We all have faced challenges and difficulties in our lives, but what defines us is how we come out on the other end. We can all relate to Tarja’s newest single “Tears in Rain”, as we’ve all faced something that has completely changed us.
The intro to this song is in your face drums and guitar, with some synth in the background. Once the verse hits, it almost has an 80’s feel, and I love it! The verses are light but groovy, and the chorus is extremely catchy. “We are gone. Nothing of us remains, like tears in rain. Who we are, all of it washed away like tears in rain.”
The bridge, however, has got to be my favorite part of the song, especially the first few words. For me personally, it speaks to victory over difficulties. “I will write another storyline. The circle of love will shine…”
When I was about 22, someone I trusted and considered a part of my family (not blood family) did something awful to me. This one moment in my life changed me. I didn’t know who I could trust anymore. When I hear the opening lines “Dominos fall in a house that’s empty. Still of the silence is deafening. Not even a trace, our existence erased by this quiet game.”, I think of that moment. Everything around me came crashing down hard and fast. I was broken. I couldn’t feel anything anymore. Just “…like tears in rain”, the “familial bond” was washed away forever. The trust was broken and could never be gained again.
“How could the memories be so real? We move on, but the time won’t heal. So I give what I get, just before I forget how our fates were sealed”. For years after, the memories were so vivid in my mind. I would have nightmares, on repeat, of that one moment in time. As time moved on, I felt like I wasn’t healing. In fact, only getting worse. I would talk to family and friends about it, but it kept eating at me. I had a choice to make at that point. Either I could let this one moment define the rest of my life, or I could move on, learn from it and forgive. (Forgive doesn’t mean that I’d ever trust this person again, only that I’d release myself from the bondage of hating this person for the rest of my life). I decided to forgive. The moment I did, I was able to “write a new storyline.” The memories slowly began to subside and the nightmares went away. To this day, I am able to see this person, and at least be civil with them. While I have forgiven this person that changed me forever, I won’t ever be able to trust them again.
“Tears in Rain” is becoming my favorite track so far from “In The Raw”. Tarja’s deep dive into herself for this album is very evident. This is shaping up to be my favorite album of hers in quite some time, pretty equal with MWS and WLB. As always Tarja, thank you for sharing your heart with us, and for always staying true to who you are as a person and as a musician. Thank you for laying it all out, and exposing your inner heart on these three songs, and I can’t wait to hear the rest of the album!
Several people wanted to write a review on this single for the webzine so you will be reading several here. Mine is first, enjoy and be sure to listen to the song (video at bottom, along with a sample of the album version feat. Bjorn from Soilwork) and order this album. Out Aug. 30th, 2019!
Dead Promises, given the context of the lyrics, has no bearings on Tarja’s promise to deliver a heavier and darker album. This track promises to deliver and succeed! The beginning starts out heavy, gets heavier in the middle, and ends heavy. The instrumentation meshes well with the melodic and emotional context of Tarja’s voice, making this song an outstanding first taste of what I assume will be the album to beat this year.
Instead of focusing on the musical elements of this album, since we already have several reviews, I will focus on the lyrical context and what this song means to me. A little bit of a personal story if you will.
We have all been given a dead promise or two or a thousand. Countries have been given many from the “leaders”. We have all fallen victim to such promises. I was the victim for most of my life, since early childhood. I was given broken promises by my father almost every time I would see him. The promise of love, safety and protection, being there for me. All those promises were dead, were empty. I never saw much love, I never had protection, he was barely ever there, and with him I experienced all kinds of abuse, if not by the hands of him, then by the women and their grown children he would take me around.
I was given dead promises by my ex. The relationship was nothing but control, fights, etc. One-sided, always about him, I was last. These two are just small examples of what I endured in life. Those men were the reasonings for my disbelief in love, my struggles with any kind of relationships (friendship or intimate), and my trust and hatred for humanity that kept getting worse. I had put up a wall and thought nothing or no one would ever get close to and hurt me again as long as I was in charge and kept that wall up. It was just recently I have learned to love again. I met a man that I never thought existed. He has been kind, loving, and every promise so far has been kept and fulfilled. I tore my wall down and gave him the chance. If I hadn’t I would not have ever seen true love.
This song challenges everyone and is a lesson for those of us who have been lied to and hurt. We have all fallen victim to someone and/or something. We can either keep the walls we have built up or we can tear them down, forgive those who hurt us (for us), and trust again. Otherwise we will never know what love is, a good life, nor ever see our dreams become reality. As always, Tarja has hit a personal level for me. She has been my earthly saviour, apart from my mother, because if it were not for her and her music, I would be dead today. I was on the verge of suicide so many times, use to self-harm, pull hair out, scream, cry, hate the world, but it was her music that saved me. This is why I am so loyal to this woman. This new album, after only one song, proves to be another fit for me on a personal and emotional level. As always Tarja, thank you. *
In short: Very guitar-based, riff-based, with a very important bitter message that hit the hearts of those who habitually break promises or have their promises let down, Tarja’s out there to retribute!
This song’s message seems to be about empty promises in relationships or family conflicts that are not fulfilled and it keeps adding up the pain when the promises keep creating expectations of improvement but not much effort in achieving. However, it can likely to apply outside interpersonal context too, such as unfulfilled political hopes, corporate failure in compensating their services. The line “Dead promises, games you play will kill your dreams…” sends a strong message about those who give empty promises will actually be the ones hurting, too. The vocals are pretty minimal compared to Tarja’s other songs that are a bit more complex, but executed it well, kept it concise, catchy, and powerful.
The music is on the heavier and faster side of her discography, very guitar-based and riff-based. The lead riffs, the main heavy riffs, and choice of sound give the song a “bitter” and “dry” feeling which fits the message. No solo in heavier Tarja songs had not ever been a bad thing, as this song gives you a varied and harmonized version of the lead riff near the end.
The dynamics of the song are very well plotted, as there are parts that the lead riffs playing alone giving excitement and build up, things get heavy on the main riffs and chorus. In the verses are laid down with less distorted guitar picking and bass guitar on higher register makes the song fit the “dry” feeling. *
Dead Promises, the first track released to the public from Tarja Turunen’s new album “In The Raw”, is a thunderous song with plenty of guitar and a traditional hard-rock feel. In The Raw is definitely an album title this song belongs on – the music and lyrics combined make for a very naked song, aggressive and not even having to put up a fight to get to the front of the musical line and be noticed. Tarja stated that this new album was going to be darker and heavier than previous albums, and she definitely delivers here.
Turunen’s powerful vocals shine brightly on this track, but the missing element was a heavier, darker vocal – a growl, if you will. From my quick review of the Album Version preview of Dead Promises, this is solved with the addition of Björn “Speed” Strid of SOILWORK. While the single version is a fantastic preview, the album version seems like it’s going to have that one extra element needed to make a perfect heavy metal song. (Though it’s been proven over and over again that Tarja Turunen shines beautifully on her own.)
Overall, Dead Promises was a perfect peek into what’s to come. A crowd pleaser to say the least (as it won a Metal Hammer poll for best new music in metal for the week of its release by a LANDSLIDE), I can say this much: we’re all dying to see it live.
If this new single shows us everything, it looks like her promise of a Winter Storm is about to be unleashed with fury, anger, and the darkest corner of herself as a person. We’ve seen this transformation of a classical singer with an exceptional voice to her now being a powerhouse or a vocalist. And yet, years later, we are drawn back into her spell.
The last hard rock album she put out, The Shadow Self, was all about the darker Tarja and the sides of her that are deranged, emotional, and hidden beneath scars of damage she as endured as a performer. If this song is any indication of what the album will entell, we are about to start seeing the wounds uncovered and bloody.
“Dead Promises” lyrically are as deep as any other song she has put out (brings to mind the lyrics to “I Walk Alone”, “Dark Star”, “Never Enough”, and “Innocence”). They are all recollections of her past with people, theorizing that they deal with Nightwish. When looked at it from that angle, this is a natural progression of herself as an artist: she is moving on, but won’t forget what happened to her for her to be where she is at now. The song does create a strong sense of sorrow when you are left thinking about all the promises people have made but keep on breaking. The message, I believe, is that we need to move on from all of that. Those that have betrayed us will no longer be able to continue living their best life because they built there’s off of lying, betrayals, and promises that amount to nothing. We will always have to deal with people like that, but they are not our problem; we don’t have the right to give ourselves to those kinds of people because they will only hold us back. Tarja is moving on from the past and that is what she is telling us to do.
The instrumentation for this track is what threw me off the most. It feels like she is also moving away from her usual pure orchestration that was what started her career with both her Christmas album “Breath From Heaven*” and “My Winter Storm” and going back to the hard rock elements from “What Lies Beneath” and “Colours in the Dark”. This song isn’t about sounding as sweeping and operatic, but more in your face and out in the open. It’s an interesting choice, but I am left wondering how the rest of the album will play out.
This is a good look into the album and a song I’m sure will be a fan favorite. We are seeing Tarja transform more into the queen of hard rock that we know her as and it seems there is no way to go back. She’s hear to sucker punch us into looking deeper in ourselves and we can only hope that emotionally we will handle what it is like to strip ourselves from what we see and embrace what we find in the raw. *
Review by Jessica Clingempeel Admin of Winter Storm USA | Ethereal Metal Webzine 9/22/2018
September 9th, 2018 will be a night that will never be forgotten in New York City. It was a long wait for the return of one of the most influential female singers in the metal world today, but the wait was well worth it.
First, the opening band, Symfinity. Seann, the vocalist, came out to greet me as we were waiting outside, and he is an awesome guy. I had the pleasure of getting an interview with this band a few weeks prior to the show and every musician seem to be very humble and down-to-earth. This is a band that you need to check out and see live. So many musicians and instruments, one must wonder, how can they even keep up with everything though. Haha! Seriously though, don’t miss them and don’t be afraid to walk up to them and start a conversation, very nice people!
Symfinity performed several songs, including their new single “Dynamite”. My favourite, however, would have to be “Everything I know Explodes”. I could be biased though as this was one of the first songs I heard from this band and instantly loved.
After Symfinity, fans patiently waited for Tarja to grace the stage. The intro started, and people began packing into the venue like sardines desperate to get as close to the stage as possible. I am a 5’0, tiny woman, GIVE ME SOME SPACE PEOPLE! (haha) Easy to get lost here…moving on..
No Bitter End begins, and screams filled the room as Tarja comes on and begins what is going to be one hell of a show. Though in the beginning there were some tech issues with the mic, Tarja handled it like a champ. Ok, it was cute. 😉 Considering this woman is a powerhouse, a microphone wasn’t even needed.
The setlist contained 15 songs, which includes songs from every solo album and a Nightwish medley. Every set was a flawless performance, with the acoustic being breathtaking. A standout performance, of course, was ‘Diva’. Tarja comes out wearing, now dubbed the ‘Diva’ crown, that was given to her in Brazil. The entire performance was superb. Though I wish the setlist had included ‘Supremacy’ and ‘Too Many’ I wasn’t disappointed at all. The entire show was AMAZING. Every musician, including Symfinity, gave their all and were flawless. I don’t think anyone left the venue that night dissatisfied, and if they did, I did not notice it. All I saw was passion from the fans and from the musicians.
Of course, the show was ended with the traditional bow and “HIT SONG”. Several people were waiting for that moment and Tarja headbanging through severe neck pain should prove she is passionate for music and for her fans. Please Tarja, look after yourself and as much as we love to see you head bang, no need to make yourself hurt and sick for us! We will love you no matter what. 😊
Hopefully there will be a return from Tarja soon (soon, soon, not Tarja’s usage of soon) because my ass will definitely be on another eight-hour train ride from Virginia to New York, and standing another 4 to 5 hours in the chilly, rainy weather to be there. Yes, she is that worth it people! Being a fan for over 15 years should prove that.
For those who did not get the chance to meet Tarja yet, your time will come, and the wait will be worth it. Tarja is a very sweet woman and she tries to give time to everyone.
Mad props to Eleonora (she knows who she is.) The rudeness of some people and frustrations you have to put up with, you have balls! Thanks! Thanks to the rest of the crew and band for everything. ❤