Review: Tarja – The Brightest Void

Tarja - The Brightest VoidAs my previous reviews have shown, I am a huge fan of Nightwish, especially their earlier albums, with Tarja on vocals. Following her exit from the band, I haven’t listened to much of her solo work; with the exception of a few singles, this is the first I’ve really listened to. While I can understand her desire to create music that is separate from Nightwish both in style and subject matter, I feel that Tarja’s voice is best suited to the operatic style showcased in early Nightwish albums.

This is sadly missing from the two opening tracks of The Brightest Void, which have a heavy rock style. As a result, Tarja’s vocals seem out of place, and almost clash with the musical style, which meant that I didn’t enjoy either track.

From track three, “An Empty Dream”, to track five, “Witch Hunt”, the album improves, with Tarja’s vocals becoming the star attraction, rather than the music, or guest stars appearing on the first two tracks. “Witch Hunt” is easily my favourite track of the album, with Tarja’s haunting vocals front and centre. Track six, “Shameless”, could almost be a Nightwish track, and is another highlight of the album, and a track I could see myself listening to on a regular basis.

Following the original tracks are three cover songs – the first, a cover of “House of Wax” by Sir Paul McCartney was a surprising gem, and as a person who is not generally a fan of music by members of the Beatles, is something I wasn’t expecting to want to listen to more than once. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the following track, a cover of “Goldfinger”, originally by Dame Shirley Bassey. While I would be the first to admit that Tarja has a fantastic voice, it just doesn’t have the power behind it to really give “Goldfinger” the oomph that you’d expect from a rendition of it.

The final track, a collaboration between Tarja and Within Temptation is another miss from me, as the similarities between Tarja and Sharon Den Adel’s singing styles mean that the duet unfortunately ends up sounding a little like a competition between the two women, and ultimately, made me want to listen to Within Temptation, rather than to Tarja.

While there are definite high points on this album, my overwhelming response to it is that it doesn’t hang together like a full album; although this is possibly due to the fact that it has been released as prequel to the album The Shadow Self, due out in August. As a result, it’s most likely not something I’d listen to again, as a full play-through, although as I said above, I can see one or two tracks making their way onto a playlist in the future.

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