August 28, 2019 Tarja – In The Raw (Album Review)
Finding purity amongst the obscurity and inauthentic facades that much of society hides behind is a complicated labyrinth to navigate. For someone as well-versed and awe-inspiringly talented as Finnish Vocalist Tarja Turunen, who has built a queendom in not only Heavy Metal but also in her classical style vocals that supersede any cage, finding a raw, truthful experience is at the core of her newest album. That is right, returning for another breathtaking vision unleashed from within herself, Tarja is set to release In The Raw on Friday, August 30th via earMUSIC.
Prolific in recent years, the former Nightwish front lady has pumped out a diverse mix of material from Christmas themed albums such as 2017’s From Spirits and Ghosts, to collaborations, including 2014’s Beauty and The Beat. Now returning with her seventh overall solo studio album, she offers fans ten new songs to dig into it with a grandiose introductory featuring the dauntless vocals of Soilwork’s Björn “Speed” Strid. Like a clap of thunder, “Dead Promises” roars open with speeding, eclectic guitar work and the unhalting soprano of Tarja. This is while Strid’s complement prepossessing to his female counterparts as they entwine in a duet that tugs at the heartstrings. This is before there lies an unyielding ascendancy to the track of “Goodbye Stranger,” which behold the equally staggering voice of Lacuna Coil Singer Cristina Scabbia. That said, the cut soars above the clouds with echoing vocals that ring through bright, melodic guitars.
Moving on, “Railroads” rolls in slowly with delicate guitar work and a patient pulsing on the drums. The intensity in Turnen’s voice is exceptionally true and stirring over top of the string ensemble that blooms like garden over the seasons. This is while “You And I” marks a calmer point of In The Raw; it is a stripped away piece composed primarily of propitious guitar, vivacious violins, and perhaps the gentlest of all vocal performances. Thereafter, “The Golden Chamber” feels like an ambient world of serenity from the first note as a small symphony plays, from the ever-constant piano to the spacious flow of the stringed instruments. For much of the primarily instrumental track the only vocals are a wordless siren song before a brief interlude in her native Finnish.
Later on in the journey “Spirits of the Sea” rolls in slowly with a hammering guitar rhythm as an eerie melody dances over top. A whirring synth plays in the background and the drums thunder and crash, fueling the stygian rhythm guitar. Then, “Serene” is a track that is antithetical to its title, which makes the quieter moments in the chorus. The guitars rip and tear away beside Herculean drums in the track.
Beautifully layered vocals that stand as a testament to the Finnish singer’s unstoppable vocal prowess. She becomes her own angel choir in her highest peaks and an indelible wail of death in her dusky depths. The lyrical compositions are eloquent as they weave together in a tapestry of love, loss, and infinite emotion that is heard throughout every note and melody. In The Raw is meticulous in its craftsmanship for a triumphant, well-rounded vision true to Tarja Turunen. That is why Cryptic Rock gives In The Raw 5 out of 5 stars.