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Single Review: Tarja – Never Enough

Photo: Paul Harries

I don’t think many people saw Tarja Turunen taking this musical path when she left Nightwish. The operatic starlet of metal has always had one eye on the classical realm, even during her time in one of the world’s biggest metal bands, but even when her debut ‘My Winter Storm’ was released, it didn’t really answer any questions as to where  things were going thanks to it’s pleasing, but Nightwish-lite material. Tarja came into her own one album later with the defining ‘What Lies Beneath’ – it had more flaws than her debut but took more risks and succeeded in creating a sound that belonged to Tarja – a style of AOR with considerably heavier riffs. ‘Colours In The Dark’ is preceded by this, it’s first single – ‘Never Enough’.

Compared to her previous lead singles, ‘Never Enough’ is the most convincing and finely tuned effort thus far. Entering with one of her heaviest underlining riffs to date, the melodic pre-chorus is the first notable port of call. Dominated by the beautiful interplay between piano and a soaring guitar line, it’s all topped off with an instantly memorable vocal hook – it’s so magnificent, in fact, that it vastly overshadows the titular refrain that follows. Thankfully, the track’s standout moment is welcomed back a further two times and is just as magical, particularly during the stripped back middle eight in which Tarja delivers it over rich, atmospheric keys.

Things do veer off a little when a fantastically heavy riff commands the outro and, just when you are ready for things to draw to a stunning, dramatic close – it just keeps going. On and on. Even Tarja’s signature operatics sound a little messy when almost two-minutes later, the riff crescendo is still building. If we’d cut straight to the final crashes and wails, or at least got there considerably quicker, it would surely have elevated the song to an even more breath-taking standard. The true test, however, is whether it pulls you back for more listens and, thanks to it’s many glistening moments, it passes. It also does a stellar job of working up anticipation for the upcoming album, the high standard of ‘Never Enough’ hints at a promising, beautifully curated selection for Turunen’s third solo effort.

Tarja’s solo material isn’t perfect, it’s safe to say. She is still finding her way and her music is not only an enchanting journey, it’s one that evidences the way she has opened herself up as a more endearing artist. Listen to ‘My Winter Storm’ and then listen to ‘Never Enough’ and see the massive growth within her writing and arrangement skills – she is taking the risks, enveloping herself in the discovery and experimentation that metal provides and coming out of each album as an artist that is one step closer to fulfilling the massive shoes her previous band left her to fill.  ‘Colours In The Dark’ looks to have finished what ‘What Lies Beneath’ began – the proof and evidence that Tarja is not just doing metal to pay the bills, it truly has become something she enjoys and has a massive talent in.

Photo: Paul Harries
Words: Simon McMurdo

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