Tarja: Left In The Dark

Stripped-down collection from ex-Nightwish vocalist.

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In theory, this sounds like a waste of time. The one-time Nightwish singer’s latest features alternative versions of every song on last year’s Colours In The Dark album, except for the cover of Peter Gabriel’s Darkness (replaced here by a studio rendition of Into The Sun).

But the reality is that these comparatively bare demo and radio performances actually enhance the material. No longer hampered by overly fussy arrangements, Tarja’s voice chimes through with unrelenting emotion. On 500 Letters and Never Enough she sounds lucid yet passionate, no longer impressing with her technique, but with her untethered conviction.

The difference between these versions and those on the original album is that the earlier versions were overblown and these renditions are more intimate. This CD was originally given away at selected dates on Tarja’s last tour. Now it’s more widely available it should make many more people aware that Tarja would benefit from working in a more basic environment. Not that she’s gone all rock’n’roll – there are still lush string accompaniments – but given the chance, she can deliver depth and feeling with just her voice.

Malcolm Dome

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica, published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009.