Released by: earMusic
Release Date: June 3rd, 2016
1. No Bitter End -Video Clip Version
2. Your Heaven And Your Hell – with Michael Monroe
3. Eagle Eye – with Chad Smith on drums
4. An Empty Dream
5. Witch Hunt
7. House of Wax
9. Paradise (What About Us) – New Mix of the collaboration with Within Temptation and Tarja
Tarja Turunen, the Finnish vocalist, hit the spotlight in the Symphonic Metal-Rock scene since joining Nightwish in the mid-nineties. Her soprano vocals have shined since the get-go during tracks such as “Gethsemane,” “Passion and the Opera,” “Dead Boy’s Poem,” “Dead to the World,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “Planet Hell,” and “Nemo.” Tarja is now referred to as the Queen in Symphonic Metal. After her dismissal from the group in 2005, Tarja’s solo career took off where she has continued the Symphonic Metal sound but also moved in a Classical direction that was seen in her fifth studio release 2015’s Ave Maria. No matter what Tarja does, she continues to surprise fans with her enchantment.
As Tarja’s new album ‘The Shadow Self’ is set to release on August 5th, she surprised her fans once again with the prequel release entitled ‘The Brightest Void.’ Including over fifty minutes of music that could have been axed altogether. However, Tarja learned there were too many songs close to her heart to fit onto one record. Tarja expressed that ‘The Brightest Void’ is more than a taste of the upcoming album, where it is an album within itself standing out on its own.
Kicking it off with a heavier beat with “No Bitter End” as Tarja’s voice creeps in with lyrics such as “when dreams are far away.” The instrumentation moves within a harsh tone as Tarja’s vocals brings a hint of softness that escalates towards a mesmerizing hook. I believe the song is about forgiving your mistakes where Tarja sings, “Every heart is the same. To forgive what you have done is a sign for a wish for change.” “Your Heaven and Your Hell” feature’s Hanoi Rocks vocalist, Michael Monroe. I love Glam/80s Rock and Metal, so this track was a treat to my ears. The song rings in with panning guitar riffs as it escalates until Tarja’s soprano vocals enters for a brief moment. Monroe’s vocals move in as he sings out lyrics such as, “Why on earth do you want to play God when things don’t go your way.” Tarja and Monroe continue to sing about the massive crossing on the path between heaven and hell as the melody accelerates with a percussion aggression. A harmonica is heard where the music slows down completely to an almost complete silence during the halfway mark. Tarja’s elegant vocals slowly unfold as a saxophone enters and adds a Jazzy vibe with a bluesy induced guitar riff. The rhythm picks up shortly after the Jazz interlude with the Chorus until it fades out.
The next song “Eagle Eye” features Chad Smith as it ignites with a keyboard introduction. Tarja leads the instrumentals by a quick soft sound of her voice. It is a slower and engaging track that speaks about finding ways to feel alive and leaving behind your Eagle Eye. It is a peaceful and beautiful song that holds a soothing and enchanting melody. The somber song “An Empty Dream” is probably my favorite off of this album. It oddly enters with a watery and silent intro, as though musically you hear water moving across space. Symphonic Elements continue to electrify as Tarja’s hits with lyrics such as “vanishing memory,”endless misery” and “This void will haunt you.” A sad tune with haunting and eerie electronic hits, however, the melody remains simplistic. Maintaining the eerie vibe as “Witch Hunt” unfolds with haunting elements. It drags the listener in with lyrics, “My eyes can see your fear of me.” This is another favorable track of mine. Picking things up to a heavier Symphonic sound with “Shameless,” as it brings a similar style from the beginning of the album. However, it appears a bit angrier and more aggressive than the prior where a demonical sound erupts towards the end.
The rest of the album does not fully include original works from Tarja as the next is a cover of Paul McCartney’s “House of Wax” followed by the Shirley Bassey’s cover of the James Bond theme of “Goldfinger.” The album concludes with Tarja’s mix of “Paradise (What About Us)” that was originally the collaboration with Within Temptation and on their 2014 album ‘Hydra.’ I think it was smart to put the covers and remixes at the end of the album and leaving the original tracks up front. It felt like three additional bonus tracks in a way where it was just an extra treat, and that is what ‘The Brightest Void’ is all about, an extra treat.
I do have to say; I am more curious now than ever to hear ‘The Shadow Self’ that comes out in August. Tarja is not one to disappoint where I will never be tired of hearing one of the top unique and gifted voices.
Written By: Zenae D. Zukowski