The album’s opening track, “Innocence”, is piano heavy, with Tarja’s rather haunting vocals over the top. As an opening track, it’s intriguing, but the piano solo in the middle seems odd in an opening track, and at times I wondered if the second track had started.
As it turns out, it hadn’t because track two, “Demons In You”, is a much rockier song, with an interesting opening guitar riff that segues straight into Tarja’s vocals, complete with screaming male vocals behind her. This seems more like a Nightwish song of old.
Track three, “No Bitter End”, once again starts with Tarja’s lone vocals, before being joined by the guitar and drums. Got the thumbs up from my boyfriend, Dan, although not from me.
Track four, “Love To Hate”, was forgettable, and overshadowed entirely by the tracks before and after it.
Track five, “Supremacy”, is a cover of a Muse track. While not at all what I expected from an artist like Tarja, the track actually works quite well with her soprano vocals easily replacing Matt Bellamy’s falsetto vocals. There’s a slightly harder edge to the guitars in this version, compared to the original, which also plays into Tarja’s style. This is easily the standout track of the album for me, and it seems slightly disappointing that the best track of the album isn’t an original one.
Track six, “The Living End”, is a slower, ballad like song. I didn’t enjoy it.
Track Seven, “Diva”, Is a bit of an odd one for me. I liked the vocals, but the opening music sounds like something you’d hear at a creepy circus, and the voices speaking over it at the end just came across as slightly weird.
Track eight, “Eagle Eye”, seems like a generic pop rock ballad to me.
Track nine, “Undertaker”, is probably my favourite track of the album, after “Supremacy”. It’s fast paced, has interesting lyrics, and had my toes tapping along. This is the one song that I could see actually reaching my normal rotation of songs I listen to.
In all honesty, tracks ten and eleven sort of blurred into one for me, and I remember very little about them. My enthusiasm for the album had waned.
There is a hidden track at the end of track eleven, which I can only assume is called “Hate Song” as those seemed to be the only words I could pick out of the lyrics. It’s a very odd piece of music, which starts out as heavy metal, changes vaguely into electronica, and then back out again. As an unexpected bit of music, it was neither entertaining, or something I’d bother letting the album run to the end to listen to again.
Overall, I feel this is a better album than The Brightest Void, with far more tracks which I would listen to more than once, however, it still feels a bit disjointed in places, and some tracks still don’t seem to hang together, as you’d expect an album to. By the end of the album, I was bored, and considering what else I would rather be listening to. While I was hopeful this album would be more to my tastes than The Brightest Void, unfortunately, The Shadow Self is more of the same, and I don’t think I’ll be in a rush to listen to any more of Tarja’s solo work.