The Bottom Line
- Honest songwriting.
- Impressive musicians.
- Turunen's voice is on point as always.
- Doesn't quite have the same Nightwish kick.
- Uneven tone.
- Released September 14, 2010 on The End Records.
- This is Tarja’s third solo LP.
- Features Joe Satriani as a special guest.
Guide Review - Tarja - 'What Lies Beneath'
I’m actually a yea on this one, fully admitting to guilty pleasuring the HECK of out Ms. Turunen’s solo debut My Winter Storm back in 2007. Maybe it’s those fuzzy Wishmaster and Century Child memories flooding back, (or the fact that I find Tarja to be impossibly attractive, but that’s a whole other line of defense) but I legitimately feel that Tarja’s solo career has, at least thus far, eclipsed the flop which was Nightwish’s first post-Turunen outing, Dark Passion Play.
What Lies Beneath takes a bit less poofy direction for about half of the album, driving home some fairly traditional, Finnish-styled hard rock/metal with tons of melody to spare, and Tarja’s soaring soprano all over the place. Elsewhere, the album experiments in cheesy neo-classical (opener “Anteroom of Death”) and soothing ballads (the genuinely pretty “Underneath”), all the while embellishing with a number of surprising guest stars, not the least of which is All That Remains’ Phil Labonte on “Dark Star.”
Sure, one could argue that—although Dark Passion Play was undeniably underwhelming—Nightwish’s triumphant “Amaranth” eclipses anything Tarja has done after her acrimonious split with the Finns, and it would be difficult to argue. However, Turunen has as of yet—apart from her disastrous choices of cover songs, yikes—failed to fall flat on her creative face in as disastrous a manner as her former band.
No, Turunen knows exactly who she’s playing for, and What Lies Beneath caters to the exact sort of fan who will enjoy this sort of frilly, frou-frou sort of metal-lite. Moreover, the singer delivers the goods every time she opens her (ahem) lips, proving that her talent does indeed lie well beyond the scope of bombastic power metal.
Featuring an impressive list of musicians—including Living Colour’s Doug Wimbish, ex-Apocalyptica cellist Max Lilja and Joe freakin’ Satriani—What Lies Beneath is nothing if not honest. It perfectly embodies, for better or worse, Tarja Turunen as an artist, and should please, at the very least, her legions of fans.