earMUSIC [Release date 17.11.17]
Former Nightwish vocalist Tarja Turunen has been successfully building a solo career where she makes the music she wants to and that suits her vocal style/musical visions.
It comes as no surprise then she has decided to record a Christmas album, but not for her the tinsel ‘n’ tat of many Christmas albums, instead she wanted to make an album that ‘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.’ To be fair the album title gives a clue to Tarja’s take on Christmas songs/carols as each one is given a suitably grandiose strings/musical arrangement topped off by Tarja’s enchanting vocals.
‘Amazing Grace’ is gloriously OTT in sound and could easily slip into daytime radio being easy on the ear. The darker elements come through on ‘Deck The Halls’ and ‘We Three Kings’ (out doing Dead Can Dance for atmosphere on this one), both you could imagine appearing in a Tim Burton film soundtrack. Deliciously gothic and just a little bit creepy at the same time… ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’ mixes the happy message of the original song along with weird bells and vocal effects. If children are annoying you during the festive season, turn this one up as it will scare the little ones away.
Like the Kate Rusby seasonal album reviewed elsewhere, Tarja’s seasonal release is one to be enjoyed at any time of the year, although on a cold winter’s night it does admittedly work best. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
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