Tarja – The Shadow Self

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Released: 05/08/2016 FIN

Notoriously known as one of the ex-singers of Nightwish, Tarja Turunen (or just simply Tarja) has just released her fifth studio album bearing the rather mysterious name “The Shadow Self” – A prequel to this record called “The Brightest Void” came out in June, but let’s not concentrate on that now. I’ll just let you know it featured a strange duet with Michael Monroe.
The Shadow Self” is the successor to the 2013 album “Colours In The Dark” and let’s just check it out, shall we?

To my surprise, the opening track “Innocence” brings a really powerful start to “The Shadow Self” together with its catchy chorus and the epic piano intermission. But as good as “Innocence” gets, the following track “Demons In You” feat. Alissa White-Gluz (of Arch Enemy fame) doesn’t quite catch up. The verses turned out to be too chaotic for my taste and the rest of the song could be easily labelled as “just-another-Tarja-song”.
And then we get to the first single off “The Shadow Self” entitled “No Bitter End”.
Watch out, a pun incoming: Tarja went totally anti-Placebo with ’No Bitter End’. Guess we won’t see her at ’The Bitter End’.”
To be honest, “No Bitter End” is one of the not-so-impressive songs on this album, but on the hand I don’t know if there’s another track I would choose for the first single instead.

Love To Hate” follows and… Is this “Innocence vol. 2”? Well, almost. “Love To Hate” maintains a more melancholic mood and turns quite interesting together with the string arrangements. There’s a lot more happening than in the already mentioned “Innocence”.
And then it happens… You really didn’t see that coming, did you?
Tarja covered “Supremacy” originally by Muse and her cover didn’t exactly bring anything new to the song. What’s the point of putting a cover song on an album anyway?

Another end follows afterwards. Yeah, name’s “The Living End” and trust me, there’s nothing much happening throughout these almost five minutes.
The next track is called “Diva” and… Can I roll my eyes now, please? Guess we’ve found the most biased song of 2016.
By the way… During the intermission you could also hear someone saying “Where is my vodka?”. Right… Where is it?
With “Eagle Eye” (feat. Toni Turunen) a spark of hope finally lights up. Yeah, finally a strong chorus gets thrown to our faces and this strong chorus is the only worthwhile thing about this track anyway.

Undertaker” is the next big thing we will hear on “The Shadow Self”, but the next big thing failed to impress me though. What else do you want to know? Do you wanna know that I made a typo and “The Shadow Self” turned into “The Shadow Shelf”? No, I don’t think that’s a relevant information. At least it doesn’t bring anything to the review.
And look, here we are at the next song already! “Calling From The Wild” sounds like taken from some previous album by Tarja. Other than that… Well… I guess this one could use some more diversity – just like the rest of this record.

How many ends does the ex-Nightwish singer still offer? “Too Many” is the answer!
Unbelievable, but I managed to include a second pun into this review. But puns aside, “Too Many” is the last track of “The Shadow Self” and I think it was pretty much worth the wait, because this track definitely kills it in a good way. Except one could’ve already cut it at the fifth minute instead of pulling it to seven.

SPOILER: There’s a hidden track at the end of “Too Many”! Take a listen to it. These three minutes are almost better than those 11 tracks combined.

 

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The Shadow Self” will be definitely a grower for some even though there’s nothing that would make you stand up from your seat. There wasn’t much diversity either, but the record still brought a couple of nice melodies and moments which were forgotten by the end of the album though. Nothing memorable here. Unfortunately.
Especially die-hard Tarja fans will enjoy this record to the very most. For me, “The Shadow Self” was nothing more than close to semi-okay.

Personal favorites:

  • Innocence
  • Love To Hate
  • Eagle Eye

Take a Listen:

 

Rating:
★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆

Written by M. Nyman-Sramkova. August 2016.

About Misha Nyman-Sramkova

Twenty-something art and design student from Prague, living in Salzburg. A cool cat and a wannabe trendsetter. She knows where the hype is and let's say she's responsible for the creative direction of this webzine.