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 Review of Tarja's 'Colours in the Dark'

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Location : Virginia

PostSubject: Review of Tarja's 'Colours in the Dark'   Fri Sep 27, 2013 3:22 am

Two reviews below by Jessica and Brian (beekay).

Reviewed by Jessica Clingempeel

  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. Razz

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. Wink
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


*Signature made by me*

Last edited by Jessica on Fri Aug 28, 2015 1:28 am; edited 3 times in total
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Location : Southern Ontario, Canada

PostSubject: Re: Review of Tarja's 'Colours in the Dark'   Fri Sep 27, 2013 7:17 am

Review: Colours In The Dark
By: Brian Kelman
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.

5 Classic
4.5-4.9 Excellent
4.0-4.4 Very Good
3.5-3.9 Good
3.0-3.4 So So
2.0-2.9 Poor
1.0-1.9 Bad
0-0.9 Crap


Last edited by beekay on Sat Aug 06, 2016 7:12 pm; edited 5 times in total
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Location : Ohio

PostSubject: Re: Review of Tarja's 'Colours in the Dark'   Sat Nov 09, 2013 12:02 am

I wanted to weigh in with my thoughts on the album and get everyone’s reaction.  I often wonder where my views of Tarja and her music stand within the realm of her fan base. 

Before I heard the album, I trolled the web to get an idea of early reviews of the album.  One reviewer (and I forget his name) concluded that the album (and consequently, Tarja) is not metal.  This early review sunk my heart a bit and made me fear that the new album would be a disappointment for me.

After listening to the album, now, several times, I must say that I agree, to an extent, with the reviewer’s sentiment.  I also feel that this is actually not a bad thing.

I remember being a little underwhelmed by My Winter Storm, which  was a softer sound than I was accustomed to hearing from her in a “metal” album.  Actually, very little of that album would probably qualify as metal.  Ironically, it was the softer songs on the album (“Oasis”,” The Reign”) that I liked most.

What Lies Beneath was a stronger album with a heavier sound—more like what I was expecting from a solo work from Tarja, albeit with some, ah . . . interesting . . . experimentation (I’m talking about you:  “Anteroom of Death”).  The heavier songs on the album were much stronger.  I still have Dark Star on my workout/running ipod playlist.  Still, I missed the overpowering, wall-of-sound feeling I get from a Nightwish album.  I love the choirs, the orchestras, the drama.  And it fits Tarja’s voice so well.  I was hoping for something similar to that sound on Colours in the Dark.

Well, I didn’t get that, so much.  But what I got was so much more.

The first time I listened to Colours in the Dark I noticed that I got something I liked or was impressed with in almost every song.  I could find something (in many cases, a lot of things) that I liked.  There is really only one song (“Tired of Being Alone”, from the Special Edition) that I just couldn’t get in to.

For the most part, the risks she takes on this album are more in her style and less contrived.  Her cover of “Darkness” was unique, and I LOVED how she used a different voice during it (she should do this more—it shows off her underrated versatility).  The song was a better fit for her than some of her previous covers.  “Still of the Night” is one of my all-time favorite songs, and her version sounds awesome (especially during the middle part) but listening to her sing; “In the still of the night I feel my heart beating heavy, telling me I gotta have more” makes me giggle, a bit.  It’s just not her.

“Victim of Ritual” is an example of one of the more experimental tracks on the album, and while I sheepishly admit that I love her over-the-top rolling of her ‘R’s in “Ritual”, this is a song I don’t listen too much, anymore.  It’s part pop, part metal, but other songs on the album (“500 Letters”) do a better job of delivering that sound.

 “500 Letters” is similar in tone to what a lot of her What Lies Beneath album sounded like; strong, slightly heavy, and catchy.  It’s a song that has grown on me after overlooking it, at first, because I was too busy being mesmerized by other songs on the album.

“Lucid Dreamer” was the first song that made me pause and wonder if we were really on to something, here.  I loved the chorus and how her voice rings out.  It’s a perfect example of a song that fits her voice.  I must admit I can do without the interlude in the middle of the song—it doesn’t add anything for me-- though I think I understand why she has it there.

“Never Enough” sounds very strong (though I still claim that her live version on Act I was a better rendition), though the end goes on a bit longer than it needs to.
“Mystique Voyage” is similar in style to “Lucid Dreamer”, but without Naomi-meets-Pink Floyd-part.  It actually reminds me a lot of “Najad”, which I don’t listen to much on Beneath.  But whenever she switches to different languages, I eat it up.  It adds a mysterious element to the song that I think is becoming her solo “style”.

“Deliverance” is downright beautiful.  I can’t get enough of it.  This is a perfect example of a song in which her voice just shines.  It’s the dish of cake batter ice cream that I can keep eating and never get sick from .  (sigh).

I was totally into the intro to ”Neverlight”.  It smokes.  Best guitar sound on any of her albums.  But the momentum of the guitars comes to a screeching halt with the first word out of her mouth: “Neeeeverlight”.  Nails-on-chalkboard (sorry, Tarja).  I know she knows how to pronounce the word “never” correctly—just listen to “Never Enough”.  So why does she (intentionally?) mispronounce it here?  Is she showing off her accent?  That one word, aside, I love the song.  This is the heaviest song on the album--one that would definitely qualify, by most regards, as ‘metal’.  And again, her voice just shines.

“Until Silence” is a pretty song, but it’s a little too far into Celine Dion territory for me.  If the rest of the album wasn’t as good as it is, I might like the song more (much as I like “Our Great Divide”, off Winter Storm).

“Medusa”.  I’m sold.  The first time I listened to it, I immediately thought; “Wow”.  This is different, but . . . breathtaking.  I always loved the sound that “Crimson Deep” had on Beneath.  This takes that to a new level.  It has it all: mysterious sounding instrumentation, mythical lyrics, and soaring vocals.  It’s positively otherworldly.  To me, this is the most impressive song from any of her albums.  Can it also be a coincidence that two of my favorite of her songs (this and “Dark Star”) have a male voice in them?

I used to hope that Tarja's "next" album would sound more like Nightwish.  After listening to Colours in the Dark, I no longer wish for that.  Now I hope that her next album sounds more like this one.  I feel this is her most complete album, by far.  She is refining her sound and it is starting to become more consistent.  I listen to it and I feel satisfied.  I like this.  A lot.  If she is not going to sound like Nightwish, then I want her to sound like this.  It may not be metal, but I don’t care.

It’s heavy.   It’s beautiful.   It’s mysterious.

It’s Tarja.
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