Tarja: Colours In The Dark

Symphonic metal from ex-Nightwish vocalist.

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The marriage of classical stylings with rock/metal makes for an interesting genre, of which Finnish soprano Tarja Turunen is something of a First Lady. On this, her fourth solo effort, she builds on her illustrious reputation with compellingly gothic material, not to mention wide-ranging, beautifully executed operatic vocals.

Admittedly, it’s an acquired taste. If you don’t like symphonic metal, and if you’d rather put your hand in a blender than listen to distortion mingled with operatic wailing, this may not do it for you. And as flourishing and accomplished as Colours In The Dark is, even Tarja fans may be reaching for some Steel Panther by the end, simply for light relief.

Still, its varying shades provide consistent intrigue. Lucid Dreamer throws in two minutes of mystical water effects, wind chimes and new-agey samples; Neverlight leaps straight in with intense fuzzed guitar; and Deliverance generates an ambient goth-metal feel before swelling into orchestral strains. High-point Medusa moves tantalisingly between haunting choral harmonies, eerie passages and punching metal chops. An electrifying close to a niche but strident record.