Tarja: Act I

Excess all arias with operatic Scando-metal diva.

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Heavy metal and Norse folklore make natural bedfellows, especially if the bed in question is full of busty Wagnerian maidens in horned helmets. The former singer with Finnish symphonic rockers Nightwish, Tarja Soile Susanna Turunen Cabuli now enjoys a solo career as a kind of goth-metal soprano diva.

This double live disc, recorded in Argentina in March, features both solo and Nightwish songs alongside a smattering of Whitesnake and Gary Moore covers. It’s preposterous, bombastic and overblown – but no more so than most Judas Priest, Queen or Muse albums.

Trilling through her full, triple-octave range, Cabuli hits sublime levels of high-camp melodrama in sprawling orchestral riff-crunchers like Lost Northern Star and Dark Star. But her graceless duet on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom Of The Opera is plain hideous, as are interminably blustery power ballads like Tired Of Being Alone.

An enjoyable novelty at first, this shrill and soulless cabaret-rock cacophony very soon grates like nails on a blackboard.

Stephen Dalton has been writing about all things rock for more than 30 years, starting in the late Eighties at the New Musical Express (RIP) when it was still an annoyingly pompous analogue weekly paper printed on dead trees and sold in actual physical shops. For the last decade or so he has been a regular contributor to Classic Rock magazine. He has also written about music and film for Uncut, Vox, Prog, The Quietus, Electronic Sound, Rolling Stone, The Times, The London Evening Standard, Wallpaper, The Film Verdict, Sight and Sound, The Hollywood Reporter and others, including some even more disreputable publications.