What Lies Beneath
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The wait is over! Tarja (Turunen), the original singer of Nightwish, returns with her first album in almost three years and her The End Records debut! A veritable musical prodigy, a soprano singer-songwriter and composer, as well as a student of the world-renowned Sibelius Academy, Tarja is the most successful Finnish woman rocker, effortlessly fusing metal, classical and pop-rock.
What Lies Beneath is the follow up to My Mnter Storm, which was hailed a coup in North America and went platinum in Finland. The release of What Lies ... will be followed by a major market tour of North America and you can expect all the marketing details to fall right into place! Digital and traditional media are already chomping at the bit to get a piece of Taqja ...the fans are right behind. Expect major visibility and sales from this Nordic wonder!
Top customer reviews
With MY WINTER STORM, it seemed like Tarja was struggling to find her own way. But with WHAT LIES BENEATH, she most definitely has. If I wasn't a fan of hers before, I most certainly am now. I am spellbound and highly recommend this gem of an album to anyone who likes symphonic metal! It doesn't get much better than this.
As suggested by the title, the songs explore our innermost feelings, whether they be fears of death, intimations of immortality, desire to hide, inner strength, or deep peace. They also take aim at acts carried out in the dark that we would be ashamed to perform in the light. The introspective nature emphasizes the seriousness of this enterprise - this album is a `full meal'. In that sense it is more like a `singer-songwriter' album, although with different musical accompaniment - the acoustic guitar being replaced by a distorted guitar. This is one of the problems with it being classified as a `heavy metal' or `symphonic metal' album - it then gets reviewed only by those publications, and often by reviewers who are more used to music dominated by a band's instrumentation than by the vocals, and by the expression of primal emotions rather than psychological probing.
While there is definitely a heavy metal component to the disc as a whole, the songs themselves range from hard rock (`Dark Star') to standard rock (`Until My Last Breath') to lyrical ballads with no drums at all (`Montañas De Silencio'), and to more operatic sounding ballads (`Rivers of Lust'), as Tarja uses a wide spectrum of sounds to create this musical canvas. The opening song, `Anteroom of Death', alerts you to be ready for surprises, and generally each track sounds very different from the one before it. There are a number of songs that sound like epic anthems - the type that normally would be the last song on an album - I counted at least 5 of them. They provide a grandiose quality to this record.
And one should definitely get the extended version of WLB, as the three additional songs are every bit as good as the ones on the standard disc. For that matter, download (or get via youtube) "I Feel Immortal", the song missing from the American version. If one adds that to the extended group of 14 songs, it comes to 78 minutes, so they can all fit on one CD. Or put them on an mp3 player, and then one can add to the playlist the piano-voice version of "If You Believe" and the soon to be released "The Crying Moon", B-sides of singles from the album.
And what can one say about Tarja's singing that hasn't already been said? While some have called her one of the greatest singers in rock music, that's too narrow a classification. It's hard to think of any other singer, in any genre, who could have performed the vocal feats on this album in these diverse styles, combining range and power with her operatic vibrato. Tarja has said that `In for a kill', a hard rock song, covers 2 and half octaves, typical of an operatic aria. One of the advantages of her now writing her own music is that she is fully aware of what is possible for her, and so can maximize her talents. It's a shame that she has this narrow musical labeling, for the general public doesn't get to know about her - Universal Records really ought to do something about that.
After listening to this album for a month now (repeated listenings are often necessary to get the most out of Tarja's complex song structure), I think this album will ultimately be recognized as a classic, and remembered for many years to come. Don't miss it.
The "Life-Changing" comment in my review comes from song #4, Underneath. It is easily one of my favorite songs on the CD and easily one of my favorite songs lyrically of all. It talks about inner strength and we all have that to some degree. When she sings "Something inside me invisible, turning the fragile unbreakable; but they cannot take away, cannot take away what I believe; you cannot take away, cannot take away what's Underneath". Brilliant lyrics. People can do a lot of things to you, but they can't CHANGE you. I just love the message from this song.
The Anteroom of Death, on the other hand, is an absolute hoot! I was in utter shock after hearing this. She mixes classical, madrigal chorus and metal in a delicious concoction of pure FUN. I played this for one of my friends at work and warned them they've probably never heard anything like this before. She loved it so much and was so shocked that it was "all over the place" (in her words), she ordered the album on this one alone.
In For A Kill: If Ian Fleming's (the creator of James Bond, that sadly passed in 1964) possee doesn't instantly consider for the next James Bond movie or one in the near future, they are fools. This song is PERFECT for a theme. It has that recognizable "Bond chord change" in the chorus, which instantly made me think of the 007 series. Movie theme or not - you cannot go wrong with treasure.
The rest of the CD deserves gold stars as well. There's only one song I kind of didn't get and that was "Little Lies". It starts out as a hardcore metal piece and then slips into this dainty little mini-metal, yet sweet, almost-poppish song. But hey, a 95% love rating of the content isn't too bad.
Bottom Line: Buy this now. It's worth every penny and will broaden your musical experience greatly. I bet poor Nightwish is crying in their coffee after hearing this. It's too bad that relationship had to end because I truly miss Marco and Tarja's duets.
Go Tarja! Keep churning out winners like this - you have a fan for life.
Most recent customer reviews
What Lies Beneath, the second solo album by Tarja, which came out summer 2010,...Read more