Welcome to the LOUDEST DOT COM ON THE PLANET!
KNAC.COM
LISTEN NOW!WATCH NOW! LOGIN JOIN
MAGAZINEON-AIRDOWNLOADSCHATBOARDSCONTESTSSTORE
Reviews

TARJA From Spirits And Ghosts (Score For A Dark Christmas)

By Daniel Höhr, European Correspondent
Monday, December 11, 2017 @ 1:11 PM


- advertisement -
TARJA
From Spirits And Ghosts (Score For A Dark Christmas)

earMusic, 2017




Brace yourselves, boys and girls, it's the Christmas season, which means the inevitable “Christmas albums” are being released, where traditional Christmas songs and carols get a new sonic make-up to appeal to fans of whatever genre there is. In the present case, the classically trained soprano and former NIGHTWISH frontwoman Tarja Turunen delights us with a darker approach to eleven classic songs plus one new original song, called “Together”, which is the second track on the album.

The first thing you need to know about this release is that if you're expecting a metal album, you'll be in for a surprise – the music on this album is bona fide film score music. Produced by Tarja herself, the Emmy Award winning film score composer Jim Dooley and Tim Palmer, who has worked with a variety of artists such as PEARL JAM, U2, DAVID BOWIE, Chinese pianist Lang Lang and THE CURE, Tarja's Christmas album is quite a substantial orchestral piece of work.

The opener is an eerie and brooding version of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and the contrast between the words in the chorus “rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel” and the mood of the arrangement couldn't be any greater, thus setting the tone for the entire album. It is like the soundtrack of a dark movie about Christmas. In Tarja's own words: "On this album, I explored the other side of Christmas — the Christmas of the lonely people and the missing ones, the Christmas for those that do not find joy in the blinking lights and the jingle bells." Indeed, for many lonely and people out there Christmas is anything but a feast of joy. As if to highlight the connection between Christmas and death, Tarja includes “Pie Jesu” on this album. The Latin words of this song have in fact nothing to do with Christmas but are taken from the Catholic Mass for the dead. Eerie.

The songs live on the huge sounding orchestra arrangements and Tarja's mellow soprano voice, whose timbre is bound to touch you and send many a shiver down your spine. Needless to say, the album sounds huge, bombastic in places and occasionally crosses the fine line between good taste and kitsch, which is in a way part and parcel of that kind of music. Whether, for example, the solo cello on “Amazing Grace” belongs to the former or the latter, I can't say but we're all perfectly entitled to an extra amount of cheesiness during the holiday season, so suffice it to say that it is beautifully played. The song itself evolves into an enormous crescendo and has a Celtic feeling about it. Kitsch? Maybe. I guess my favorite track is the subsequent “O Tannenbaum”, partly because Tarja sings it in my native language, which she masters perfectly – little surprise, though, because she studied at Karlsruhe University of Music in Germany. The other reason why I like this version is the use of a celesta, an obvious allusion to the “Dance Of The Sugarplum Fairy” from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker. Nice.

As it is the case with all twelve tracks on this CD, the atmosphere of the concluding track “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” couldn't be any further from merriness – slow, brooding, with fragile vocals, this song, like the entire album, leaves you with a queasy feeling. And that is, of course, the very point of it.

To be honest, I don't really know what to make out of this album. The concept of presenting the darker side of Christmas is interesting and, musically, it definitely works out. Tarja's singing is, needless to say, magnificent. Her “classical” projects give her the opportunity to showcase more of her vocal abilities than she is able to in the admittedly limited context of metal projects. And as a classical musician who loves metal, I always appreciate the sound of an orchestra or artists who feel at home in both camps, which are closer to each other than many people think. And yet Tarja's classical sounding Score For A Dark Christmas is too bombastic, too bittersweet, too clichéd for my liking. At the end of the day, it comes down to personal preferences. I am sure Tarja fans will love it and it will surely appeal to a broad range of music fans.

3.0 Out Of 5.0


Please log in to view RANTS

If you don't have a username, click here to create an account!

Username: 
Password: 

Message: 
 
 

 





 Recent Reviews
ICARUS WITCH Goodbye Cruel World
TARJA, STRATOVARIUS, SERPENTYNE In Cologne, Germany
CLUTCH, SEVENDUST, TYLER BRYANT & THE SHAKEDOWN In Portland, OR With Photos!
ACCEPT In Houston, TX With Photos!
U.D.O. Steelfactory
SKULL FIST Way Of The Road
SOULFLY Ritual
ANTHRAX State of Euphoria 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
FIFTH ANGEL The Third Secret
STEVE GRIMMETT'S GRIM REAPER In New Bedford, MA
ANAAL NATHRAKH A New Kind of Horror
PRIMAL FEAR Apocalypse
BEHEMOTH I Loved You At Your Darkest
DORO Forever Warriors, Forever United
SLASH FEATURING MYLES KENNEDY AND THE CONSPIRATORS In Houston, TX Photo Gallery
BILLY MORRIS AND THE SUNSET STRIP Holdin’ All The Aces
VINCE NEIL In Houston, TX Photo Gallery
DEE SNIDER For The Love Of Metal
UNLEASH THE ARCHERS, STRIKER, HELION PRIME In Houston, TX W/Photos!
CLUTCH, SEVENDUST In Houston, TX
KING KOBRA Sweden Rock Live
DREAM CHILD Until Death Do We Meet Again
SCORPIONS, QUEENSRYCHE In Tampa, FL With Photos!
HUMBLE PIE Live At The Ottawa CityFolk Festival
BEHEMOTH Album Listening Party In Los Angeles For I Loved You At Your Darkest
THE DEAD DAISIES, HOOKERS 'N BLOW In Ottawa, Canada With Photos!
DRAGONLORD Dominion
STONE BROKEN Ain't Always Easy
BRANT BJORK Mankind Woman
KORPIKLAANI Kulkija
BRAINSTORM Midnight Ghost
SLEAZY WAY OUT, INSUFFICIENT FUNDS In Ottawa, Canada
DEEP PURPLE, JUDAS PRIEST In Jacksonville, FL W/Photos!
HELLOWEEN In Worcester, MA With Photos!
RED TIGER Evolution
ALTER BRIDGE Live At The Royal Albert Hall Featuring The Parrallax Orchestra
CLUTCH Book Of Bad Decisions
ANGRA In Winter Park, FL With Photos!
TALES FROM THE PORN H.M.M.V.
CARRY THE STORM i/E
PIG DESTROYER Head Cage
SAXON Strong Arm Of The Law Reissue
THE DEAD DAISIES In Houston, TX Photo Gallery
ALICE IN CHAINS, BUSH, THE CULT, STONE TEMPLE PILOTS In Ridgefield, WA W/Photos!
SUICIDAL TENDENCIES STill Cyco Punk After All These Years
OPERATION:MINDCRIME, TILL DEATH DO US PART In Portland, OR With Photos!
TNT XIII
DC4 Atomic Highway
CAL JAM '18 POP UP In Los Angeles With Photos!
SLAYER, LAMB OF GOD, ANNTHRAX, TESTAMENT And NAPALM DEATH In Ridgefield, WA With Photos!
JIZZY PEARL OF LOVE/HATE All You Need Is Soul
NIGHT DEMON Live Darkness
RAVENSCROFT Rebel
NASHVILLE PUSSY Pleased To Eat You
QUIET RIOT In Houston Photo Gallery
WARRANT, STEELHEART In Houston Photo Gallery





HOME | MAGAZINE | ON-AIR | DOWNLOADS | CHAT | BOARDS | CONTESTS | STORE | HELP

©2018 KNAC.COM. All Rights Reserved.    Link to us    Advertise with us    Privacy policy
 Latest News