Tarja – The Brightest Void (earMUSIC)

Genre: Symphonic Metal

Can’t bear the wait before Tarja releases new album The Shadow Self? How about easing the pain with the official ‘prequel’ to Finnish singer’s August long player?

According to the former Nightwish frontwoman it simply didn’t make sense (artistically or commercially?) to shelve the wealth of material left over from The Shadow Self sessions and The Brightest Void is a ‘thank-you’ to fans. But is this a stopgap release trading on cheap sentiment or a meaningful addition to the Turunen back catalogue?

In truth it’s a bit of both. Tarja simply isn’t in tune on opener No Bitter End and her bold duet with fellow Finn Michael Monroe – Heaven And Hell – falls surprisingly flat. But stick with The Brightest Void and it begins to live up to its name.

The haunting Witch Hunt might lack any semblance of ‘metal’ but its eery blend of symphonic bombast and a spine-tingling Turonen vocal makes for a truly special song. House Of Wax – stripped down and soul-searching – has an equally unnerving effect.

Tarja’s triumphant cover of bond theme Goldfinger and a vibrant new mix of Within Temptation’s Paradise (What About Us) wrap up a record that requires patience. And with The Shadow Self still several weeks away that’s all Turonen’s asking for right now.

RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Filling The Void