Nightwish & Olzen through…

 From Nightwish official website http://nightwish.com/en/

Press statement

Another chapter of the Nightwish story has ended today. Nightwish and Anette Olzon have decided to part company, in mutual understanding, for the good of all parties involved.

In recent times it has become increasingly obvious that the direction and the needs of the band were in conflict, and this has led to a division from which we cannot recover.

Nightwish has no intention of cancelling any upcoming shows, and as a result we have decided to bring in a substitute vocalist starting in Seattle 1.10.2012. Her name is Floor Jansen from The Netherlands (ex-After Forever, ReVamp), and she has graciously stepped in to help us complete the Imaginaerum world tour.We are all strongly committed to this journey, this vehicle of spirit, and we are sure that this will lead to a brighter future for everyone.

We forever remain excited about the adventures to come, and we are extremely proud of the two beautiful albums and the wonderful shows we shared together.

– NIGHTWISH & Anette Olzon

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Trans-Siberian Orchestra – The Christmas Trilogy / The Ghosts Of Christmas Eve

     As mentioned in the last Post for Savatage – Dead Winter Dead, the band, under the guidance of producer Paul O’Neill morphed into Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I say morphed because they didn’t change their name, Savatage released other albums later on, and TSO was not only Savatage although they remain the entities key players:
     Paul O’Neill – Producer/Composer/Lyricist
     Jon Oliva – Composer/Vocals
     Al Pitrelli – Composer/Guitar/Musical Director
     Johnny Lee Middleton – Bassist
     Chris Caffery – Guitars
     Jeff Plate – Drums

     Trans-Siberian Orchestra took off before their was even a Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Maybe it was denial by the general public but they just did not want to accept that the cool heavy rock sounding Christmas song was played by a band named Savatage. Regardless of names, the public loved the song: Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24) and mainstream radio added it into their holiday play lists.

 
     Christmas Eve & Other Stories is the debut release from TSO.
     The album was a bestseller soley based on the song Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24) and it received very positive reviews for its innovation and approach to Christmas holiday music.
    Not only were TSO writing new Christmas songs, they were reimagining old ones for instrumental pieces.

     The album begins with a storyline that you have to read (you don’t need to if you don’t want to follow the story the songs are telling and just want to relax and enjoy the music). I don’t want to get into the back story as it is long but you can find all the stories from the Christmas trilogy and the bands other releases here: http://trans-siberian.com/.
     Of course Christmas Eve in the title refers to that song but what is important is “& Other Stories” as many of the songs from beginning bring the listener to the importance of the the last story (the story within the story).
     Lets start.
     An angel is told by God to go down to the Earth on Christmas Eve to find out what good people have done in the name of the day; Christmas.
     yes, the angel discovers alot of music and holiday cheer but he also finds sadness and despair but even within those emotions he feels the dreams and hopes of the human spirit.
     Along his travels, the angel feels a prayer from a father whose child (daughter) is not home this holiday season. The story never says why she is not home, why she is wandering the streets of New York City; only that the father does not know what has driven a divide between he and his daughter.
     Through celestial manipulation, the angel brings the only person nearby the girl to help her. He is also a workaholic who cares about nothing but his business and profits. The girl gets home to her father who rejoices that she is home.
     Realize that this is a condensed retelling of the story of The Pordigal Son without all the sinful details but it also speaks of the human condition and if it seems a bit far-fetched; it really isn’t. I know. 
     The stories end with the angel returning to Heaven and giving what he found to God. Within the last song, after the angel is back, Kyrie plays. A fitting end to an innovative album.

Tacklisting for Christmas Eve & Other Stories:
01: An Angel Came Down
02: O Come All Ye Faithful/O Holy Night (instrumental)
03: A Star To Follow
04: First Snow (instrumental)
05: The Silent Nutcracker (instrumental)
06: A Mad Russians Christmas (instrumental)
07: The Prince Of Peace
08: Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24) (instrumental)
09: Good King Joy
10: Ornament
11: The First Noel (instrumental)
12: Old City Bar
13: Promises To Keep
14: This Christmas Day
15: An Angel Returned
       Post Script
16: O Holy Night
17: God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman
        On Special Releases
18: Whoville Medley (Perfect Christmas Night/Grinch)

      Trans-Siberian Orchestra‘s second release, The Christmas Attic, again tells the story of an angel sent to earth, but this time he is to leave one thing that will benefit mankind.

     It’s never that simple with TSO. They relish in stories within stories within…

     This one differs in that a young girl is on the brink of losing childhood innocence. Seems that other children at school have instilled doubt in her about whether Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus) is real or not.
     She cannot ask her parents as she has been told they are part of the entire Christmas conspiracy. So, like any child, she decides to wait up for Santa to make his appearance in the one room closest to the roof where he lands his sleigh – the attic.

     While in the attic, the angel gets her to notice an old storage chest and the magic is released.
     It doesn’t really hold magic but it does hold something just as powerful; mementos and memories that with the right amount of childhood innocence and imagination become magical.

     As with the first album, this release too has its sad moments. Although there is not as many instrumental pieces as the first release; it is the sadness in some of the stories that makes this album so poignant.

     Trans-Siberian Orchestra can be accused of Aesopian storytelling. Every album focuses on moralistic points (even their non-Christmas themed releases). Forgiveness, hope, that it is never too late, innocence over jaded viewpoints, and cherishing life no matter what kind of life you have. This release gives homage to the innocence of children. Not very Metal? They’re doing what they want and that is very Metal.

     The Christmas Attic garnered another huge hit for TSOChristmas Canon. It is Pachelbel‘s Canon in Dmajor redone with a children’s choir for vocals. It is also the third bestselling digital Christmas song. Another version done with guitars, sans children’s choir, appears on a late release. I know a lot of people who, having heard TSO‘s version on The Christmas Attic, have used for their wedding song.

     All being said, The Christmas Attic is, like its predecessor, Christmas Eve & Other Stories, a mostly light and airy release. It is a Christmas album.

track listing for The Christmas Attic:
01: The Ghosts Of Christmas Eve
02: Boughs Of Holly (instrumental)
03: The World That She Sees
04: The World That He Sees*
05: Midnight, Christmas Eve (instrumental)
06: The March Of The Kings/Hark, The Herald Angels Sing (instrumental)
07: The Three Kings And I (What Really Happened)
08: Christmas Canon
09: Joy/ Angel’s We Have Heard On High
10: Find Our Way Home
11: Appalachian Snowfall (instrumental)
12: The Music Box
13: The Snow Came Down
14: Christmas In The Air
15: Dream Child (A Christmas Dream)
16: An Angel’s Share
17: Music Box Blues

     I remember reading a review for The Christmas Attic in which the author wrote that there is nothing new on the release, nothing different from Christmas Eve & Other Stories. I wonder how much of the music the writer actually listened to? Yes, the music is along the lines of Christmas Eve & Other Stories, but songs like The Music Box, Dream Child, An Angel’s Share, Christmas Canon, Music Box Blues, The Three Kings And I… There was no songs like them on the first release.

* released only on later versions of the album.

     For all those who pined for a more serious release. A more symphonic release (as if the other two releases were not symphonic enough), this is it.
     I will note that it is, at times, melancholy, but very introspective.

     As the story continues…

     Again the angel is sent to Earth on a quest by God. This trip he has to bring him the name of the person that best continues the work of his son on Earth.
     Aside from the daunting task, the angel can only use his power of flight twice. Once to descend and again to return to Heaven.

     Okay, this album has its light and airy moments but for the most part it is dealing with heavy issues. Emotions permeate many of the songs, and many can be deemed on the Gothic side.
     First off, take the cover. See the guitar in the snow globe? Homage to Criss Oliva, original guitarist for Savatage, brother to Jon Oliva, whose life was ended by a drunk driver? Maybe. It is who I thought of upon first seeing the cover.
     And then there is the music.
     From the start there is a melancholic feel to it. Like the second album, The Christmas Attic, this release, too, deals with ghosts and spirits, though more depth is used, in turn making the songs longer, a bit more progressive, less Rock sounding and more Metal.
     Don’t let the mood stop you from listening to this release. Christmas, and holidays in general, are not only times of happiness. There are many people who suffer through them with memories of once good times but now, because life gives you what it gives you and rarely what you want and plan for, holidays mean remembering what is now lost or gone in their life, or their failures.
     But like TSO does, they take you to those memories and let you know that it is never too late in your life to turn things around.

     The instumentals on this album are ridiculously excellent. Unlike the first two releases, the instrumental faire here is based on classic music from the Classical and Baroque periods.
     The story inside the story is extremely sad and at times can make you angry at how selfish human beings can be. But again, it is a retelling of another story,  A Christmas Carol, a story of a stained and tarnished life and the redemption of the spirit. Does it happen? Can a selfish, egotistical, holier-than-thou- SOB change? I don’t know, but TSO makes you believe that with the right amount of magic and timing, because timing is everything, a person can change who and how they are in a night.

     This album clocks in at over 66 minutes of music. Some songs are short and can lead the listener to wonder why they even included them at all, but in the end they have their place. They are not intro’s. Nor are they interlude’s. Imagine what New York City may be like at Christmas and you can imagine hearing a brass band or bells chiming a tune in the distance. Ambience.

Track Listing for The Lost Christmas Eve:
01: Faith Noel (instrumental)
02: The Lost Christmas Eve
03: Christmas Dreams
04: Wizards In Winter (instrumental)
05: Remember
06: Anno Domine
07: Christams Concerto (instrumental)
08: Queen Of The Winter Night (instrumental)
09: Christmas Nights In Blue
10: Christmas Jazz (instrumental)
11: Christmas Jam
12: Siberian Sleigh Ride (instrumental)
13: What Is Christmas?
14: For The Sake Of Our Brother
15: The Wisdom Of Snow (instrumental)
16: Wish Liszt (Toy Shop Madness) (instrumental)
17: Back To Reason, Part 2
18: Christmas Bells, Carousels, & Time (instrumental)
19: What Child Is This?
20: O’ Come All Ye Faithful (instrumental)
21: Christmas Canon Rock
22: Different Wings
23: Midnight Clear

 
 

 
     This is not a live performance DVD. Neither does it tell the stories from either of the first two albums, Christmas Eve & Other Stories and The Christmas Attic. It is a stand alone story written especially for this DVD release that uses songs from both the first two CD releases.

     The story is about a young girl who runs away from home, to get out of the cold she breaks into an old theater. As is Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s way, the theater is filled with mementos and memories, ghosts and spirits who, with the help of an elderly caretaker, work to turn the girl’s life around.

     The DVD is short and may leave you wondering why they made it other than that they could, but it also shows the timelessness of the songs and that they can inspire in many different scenerios.
     Of note, the elderly caretaker is played by the late Ossie Davis, who, for some odd reason, you can imagine him hanging out in an old run down theater…Creepy.
     Jewel and Michael Crawford make guest appearances.

Track Listing For The Ghosts Of Christmas Eve:
01: O’ Come All Ye Faithful/O’ Holy Night
02: Good King Joy
03: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
04: Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)
05: Christmas Canon
06: O’ Holy Night
07: Music Box Blues
08: Promises To Keep
09: This Christmas Day
10: First Snow

     I don’t believe that at the time of this release TSO had even toured yet. Yeah, I think they had only played one live show by this time.
     Having seen Trans-Siberian Orchestra perform live a few times, I can say that they put on one hell of a show. If you get the chance to see them, please remember this, it is a Christmas holiday event geared toward families. I went with my young son, Blade, and the guy sitting nearby us was inhebriated, stank like a brewery, kept spilling his alcohol, and cursed as if he was at a local dive-bar. What an ass!

     Well, that’s it.  

METAL!
\m/

Savatage – Dead Winter Dead

     Yeah, yeah, yeah, I have heard it all, theory after misinformed theory about what band started SymphonicMetal. Wikipedia, whoever uploaded that information, you’re full of shit! Facebook, ditto! I just love how people are eager to espouse misinformation because they have heard Nightwish or Therion.

     Back in 1987, Savatage, a band from Tampa, Florida, along with a visionary producer named Paul O’Neill recorded an album titled: Hall Of The Mountain King and SymphonicMetal was birthed, another bastard child of Metal. It was not entirely an original idea as SymphonicRock had been done (not Tommy by The Who either). But Savatage wasn’t just adding symphonic elements for texture, the elements were an integral part of the songs.

     Dead Winter Dead is the second album by Savatage after the death of Chris Oliva in a car collision with a drunk driver and the first to feature Al Pitrelli on guitars. Zach Stephens is still on vocals but there are appearances by original vocalist and founder Jon Oliva.
    
Is this an Opera? Mmm…Maybe, in a way. Not like Avantasia: The Metal Opera I & II are.
     Dead Winter Dead tells the story of war torn Sarajevo from various viewpoints; a gargoyle, an elderly cellist, an arms dealer, regular everyday neighbors, and a male and female soldier from opposing sides.
     The story begins at the collapse of the Soviet Union, when many countries found themselves no longer under ruling by Russia. 
    
AND A WIND CAME ACROSS EUROPE
THAT WOULD TWIST AND TURN OUR FATE
FOR AS WELL AS BRINGING FREEDOM
IT HAD LET LOOSE MEN OF HATE

NOW THESE MEN WERE FEW IN NUMBER
AND THE PEOPLE THREW THEM OUT
BUT IN THE MIND OF EACH MAN’S NEIGHBOR
THEY HAD PLANTED SEEDS OF DOUBT”

     Speculation it may be but there is truth to it as well.
     Though the above are not lyrics; it is the story from Dead Winter Dead written in verse form much like the SymphonicMetal band that Savatage would morph into after this album.

     What makes Dead Winter Dead stand out from many of the bands previous releases is the emotion conveyed throughout the entire album. All parts come together beautifully and you can find yourself lost in Bosnia’s turmoil; feeling the emotions conveyed through the music. Yes, it really is that damn good.

     If you have never heard or heard of Savatage, give Dead Winter Dead the chance it deserves. After all, the album contains the one song that started Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
     The musicianship and storyline/lyrics are above caliber and if you follow Savatage throughout their entire career – from a Metal band to PowerMetal, to ProgMetal, to SymphonicMetal until TSO you can understand how they could become Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Track listing for Dead Winter Dead:
01: Overture
02: Sarajevo
03: This Is The Time (1990)
04: I Am
05: Starlight
06: Doesn’t Matter Anyway
07: This Isn’t What We Meant
08: Mozart And Madness
09: Memory
10: Dead Winter Dead
11: One Child
12: Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)
13: Not What You See

     I say little about this album because it one of my favorite SymphonicMetal albums and because it is damn near 3:00AM and I just got off work and did a two hour workout at the gym.

     I have not been online for a bit (see above about work) plus my connection blows major ass. And, I have been walking and daydreaming. Such is what I do when left to my own device.

ReVamp

     When After Forever called it quits in 2009, after not having released any recordings since 2007, I knew that the members would resurface in other bands, it was eventual.

     ReVamp is comprised of vocalist, Floor Jansen (After Forever), keyboardist, Joost van den Broek (After Forever, Expedition Delta, Sphere Of Souls, Star One, and Sun Caged), guitarist, bassist, and notable  music producer Waldemar Sorychta (Grip, Inc., Voodoo Cult, Eyes Of Eden), and drummer, Koen Herfst.

     Having followed After Forever I also followed what the ex-band members were doing since closing the door on After Forever and moving on. I have Kiske/Somerville which Sander Gommans plays guitar on and I heard of ReVamp since Floor Jansen released the bands existance on her MySpace site. And Like Kiske/Somerville, my frequent music store, Budget CD’s, here in Missoula, ordered the CD for me without my having to ask them to because they knew I would interested in the band simply because I revel in all the old After Forever releases.
     I have had the CD since August of 2010 but have not reviewed it thus far because I wanted to get through After Forever releases before moving on to individual member releases. In the same way I did Nightwish and then started on Tarja‘s solo releases.
     Alas, a message on Poetry, Melodies, & Metal; left by a reader of the blog; that he hopes I review this album. And, that some of my posts are turning up ver-batim on other blogs around the world (thankfully giving the name of the blog and my internet call, zhadowlord, as the author), and, well, I really admire Floor Jansen‘s vocal ability, which, on this album shines.

     If you do not own this album then I will say that without listening to the music, by just opening the inlay card and looking through it, you can easily tell from the pictures alone that this is one eclectic album. Don’t worry about that though; After Forever changed their style with each release yet you loved them all. In ReVamp, Floor kind of does the same thing with each song.
     The album openers intro starts off sounding heavily influnced by Slayer (not as brutal) before toning down to a more SymphonicMetal sound and the singing starts – Floor sounds really close to Tarja Turunen in the beginning. You know, Floor has such excellent control of her voice that listening to this album, I could imagine her doing many different styles of music with no problem; be they classical or 1960’s hippie-folk music. You could not say that about many vocalists.

     The music, like Midnattsol‘s album Nordly‘s, reminds me of something I have heard but can’t quite put a finger on where I heard it before. Influences abound everywhere on this album. From Classical to Industrial without being kitch, ReVamp takes their influences and defines their own sound from the cacophony – it’s nice when musicians are confident and rounded enough to dare this; it has backfired on some who sound too close to another band.

Tracklisting for ReVamp:
01: Here’s My Hell*
02: Head Up High
03: Sweet Curse**
04: Million
05: In Sickness ‘Till Death Do Us Part 1: All Goodbyes Are Said
06: Break
07: In Sickness ‘Till Death Do Us Part 2: Disdain***
08: In Sickness ‘Till Death Do Us Part 3: Disgraced
09: Kill Me With Silence
10: Fast Forward
11: The Trial Of Monsters
12: Under My Skin
13: I Lost Myself
14: No Honey For The Damned

* George Oosthoek (ex-Orphanage) lends vocals and growls to this song.
** Russell Allen (Symphony X) sings with Floor here.
***Bjorn Strid (Soilwork) growls here.

     Overall, this is a good album with many different musical and vocal naunces. Assuming Floor is leading ReVamp; this band will only get tighter and explore different forms of music by incorporating into their own style, much like Floor‘s own sense of style and appearance.  

     Here is another review, but only of Sweet Silence, Russell Allen‘s duet with Floorhttp://songdynamics.wordpress.com/2011/05/30/sweet-curse-revamp/]Revamp–Sweet Curse

Avantasia – The Metal Opera Pt. II

     Out of the two Metal Opera releases by Avantasia, Part II starts off strong and continues throughout. I can understand the shakiness of the first album; you’re trying to get a story started and ideas are racing around your head, the excitement of the moment. Whereas Part I was built around story, Part II finds Avantasia more relaxed and knowing which direction they are trying to take this thing musically. In other words, the music becomes a central part to the vocals and lyrics.
     The inlay card of Part I had the story entire (well, almost). It reads like a first draft but again, the lyrics might be what a character is thinking or a part left out in the written story. Part II has no story written out for you. Instead it is just music and lyrics.

     Part II begins with the nearly fifteen minute long epic, The Seven Angels. If one needed to be introduced to Avantasia and/or Tobias Sammat, this is the song to do it with in my opinion. It has a bit of everything in it. Choir vocals, majestic symphonic sounds, booming drums, shredding guitar leads, melodic guitar leads (Timmo Tolki is off the fuckin’ chain), ambiant whispers, a piano solo (a bridge actually), eight seperate lead vocalists, and one hell of a catchy chorus.
     Like The Seven Angel’s, the music continues in a more PowerMetal vein with only three slower songs (Tobias seems to like to temper the PowerMetal with PowerBallads. He does this in Edguy‘s releases too).
     Tobias is joined on a couple songs by fellow Edguydian (I think I just made up a word!) Jens Ludwig, whose guitar lead on The Final Sacrifice is dirty and powerful and fits nicely with David Defeis‘ very Metal vocal delivery.

     The lineup is close to the same as on The Metal Opera Pt. I with a few exceptions:
Eric Singer – (Kiss, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper) drums on Into The Unknown
Tobias Sammat – (Edguy) Bass on Into The Unknown
Jens Ludwig (Edguy) Guitars on The Final Sacrifice and Memory
Timo Tolkki (ex-Stratovarius, ex-Revolution Renaissance, Symfonia) lead guitar on The seven Angels (2nd lead break) and Into The Unknown 
Michael Kiske – (ex-Helloween, ex-Place Vendome, Unisonic
) is no longer known only as “Ernie” but uses his real name.

Track listing for The Metal Opera Pt. II:
01: The Seven Angels
02: No Return
03: The Looking Glass
04: In Quest For
05: The Final Sacrifice
06: Neverland
07: Anywhere
08: Chalice Of Agony
09: Memory
10: Into The Unknown

     Together the albums make up an epic, fantastical story that mixes fantasy with reality. Avantasia has released three albums since The Metal Opera‘s and all are great, but, vision-wise, the original releases are nothing short of musical magic.
     There have been two small tours by the band The Scarecrow World Tour (The Scarecrow trilogy) in 2008 and The Metal Opera Comes To Town Tour 2010, however, none of the releases have been done in their entirety.

     Right after this release, Edguy released Hellfire Club. The opening song on Hellfire Club, titled Mysteria, has lyrics that are reminiscent of Avantasia‘s Metal Opera storyline. The song has always seemed to me to have been written for Avantasia but some of the lyrics got in the way.

Leaves’ Eyes – Meredead

     A band made up of members from Norway and Germany playing music inspired by Celtic/Gaelic sounds and instruments while still remaining true to their own sound?
     For those of you who do not know the band Leaves’ Eyes, the vocalist is ex-Theatre Of Tragedy singer, Liv Kristine Espenæs Krull (get it? Leaves’ Eyes?) and the band itself is made up of members of AtrocityAlexander Krull – keyboards and vocals. He is also Liv‘s husband. Roland Navratil – Drums, Thorsten Bauer – bass and guitar. And not in Atrocity,  Sander van der Meer – guitar). 
     Leaves’ Eyes loves to tell stories from the past and incorporate olden-style instruments so that the music itself is speaking the story too. That could easily place them in the FolkMetal genre, but, they also use a lot of symphony, death metal growls, choirs… You never know what to expect from song to song and album to album. That not many in the U.S. have heard of them is not their fault. Many tours have been planned and then scrapped at the last minute and the cause is never that of Leaves’ Eyes. Had all the planned tours actually happened, I think word of mouth would have brought this band the popularity they deserve.

     I, of course, like to get the version with as many extras on one release as I can. Therefore, I had to wait a bit while the limited edition digipack with a bonus DVD included was ordered and delivered but the wait was worth the product as the DVD is a live recording of Leaves’ Eyes performance at Metal Female Voices Festival 2010 in Oktberhallen Wieze, Belgium.

     Meredead is a great album through and through. The way the songs come across, the instrumentation and the choosing between vocal styles by the singers, is nothing short of performing each song for the sake of the song. There are no hits or fillers here. Meredead is an album of songs that are well thought out in theory and composition. I would be amazed if the band does not get recognition for this album the world over.
     While I mentioned vocal styles, I am not only speaking of the male voice, which cycles between smooth and death growls, but those too of Liv‘s. Her styles flux between classic style, regular delivery, and almost pop sounding at times.
     The voices, along with the music, make the album eclectic but never infringe upon the listening experience as the band pulls off the change with grace and style. Upon first listen I was surprised at what a great album Meredead is because the band talked it up in the press quite a bit and the hype was big which can spell letdown quickly. But no, the band’s talk was not hype.

     This is a great year for EuroMetal. With new releases from Within temptation, Midnattsol, Nightwish, Rhapsody Of Fire, HammerFall, Edguy, DragonForce, Opeth, Lacuna Coil, Virgin Black, Delain, Demons And Wizards, Stratovarius, Sirenia, Battlelore, Power Quest, Visions Of Atlantis, Children Of Bodom, Amon Amarth, Symfonia, Cruachan, Omega Lithium, Alestorm, Arch Enemy… way too many more to get to!
      Leave’s Eyes Meredead is one album you should get. You will not be disappointed.

Track listing for Meredead:
01: Spirits’ Masquerade
02: Étaín
03: Velvet Heart
04: Kråkevisa
05: To France
06: Meredead
07: Sigrlinn
08: Mine Tåror er ei Grimme
09: Empty Horizon
10: Veritas
11: Nystev
12: Tell-Tale Eyes
13: Sorhleod

Track listing for bonus DVD:
01: Njord
02: My Destiny
03: Ragnarock
04: Elegy
05: Froya’s Theme

Tarja – Henkäys Ikuisuudesta (Breath From Eternity)

Walking In The Air

     This is not a metal album in any way. It is Tarja‘s first solo album after her tenure in Nightwish was revoked (she was unceremoniously and publicly dumped). The version I own is the original 2006 release. It was re-released in at the end of 2010 with a different track-listing.

    With the background Tarja has in classical singing, it is no surprise that she made an album geared more toward vocals and words than music. But then, let’s face the truth; without Nightwish, when you go to hear Tarja perform live, the music playing in the background is incidental. It is all about that beautiful voice.
     With the exception of the first song, “Kuin Henkäys Ikuisuutta“, this is a CD full of holiday/Christmas songs written and previously recorded by other musicians.
     I cannot say, but for one song, whether or not they have some personal meaning in Tarja‘s life. The song “You Would Have Loved This“, originally written and performed by American folk-singer, Cori Conners, is performed here as a reflection and tribute to Tarja‘s mother, who passed away in 2003. It is a very good, and moving version of the song.

     For anyone who is a fan of Tarja‘s, or a fan of excellent vocal abilities, both the original and new release of this album are must haves.

     My own mother was half Italian, half Ojibway (Chippewa) and I grew up listening to Opera like Enrico Caruso singing Ave Maria. Tarja performs the song on this album and upon first hearing it I stopped doing anything and listened and remembered my own mother.
     What I am getting at is Tarja‘s singing on this album is very beautiful. So beautiful I believe even angel’s stop and listen when it is being played. It is not metal but that is okay; it is still music sung by the true First Lady of Metal.

track listing for Henkäys Ikuisuudesta:
01:  Kuin Henkäys Ikuisuutta (The Breath of Eternity)
02: You Would Have Loved This (Cori Conners)
03: Happy New Year (ABBA cover)
04: En Etsi Valtaa, Loistoa (I Seek No Power, Glory)
05: Happy Christmas (War Is Over) (John Lennon)
06: Varpunen Jouluaamuna (A Sparrow On Christmas Morning)
07: Ave Maria (Hail Mary)
08: The Eyes Of A Child (Air Supply)
09: Mökit Nukkuu Lumiset (Cottages Sleep Under Snow)
10: Jo Joutuu Ilta (not sure about translation: It’s Already Evening)
11: Marian Poika (Mary’s Boy Child)
12: Magnificat: Quia Respexit (literal translation: Magnificent: He Regards Humility)*
13: Walking In The Air (Howard Blake)
14: Track listing for 2010 re-release
01: Kuin Henkäys Ikuisuutta
02: You Would Have Loved This
03:  Heinillä Härkien
04: En Etsi Valtaa, Loistoa
05: Varpunen Jouluaamuna
06: Ave Maria
07: Maa On Niin Kaunis
08:  Mökit Nukkuu Lumiset
09: Jo Joutuu Ilta
10: Magnificat: Quia respexit
11: Kun Joulu On
12: Arkihuolesi Kaikki Heitä
13: Walking In The Air
14: Jouluyö, Juhlayö (Silent Night)

     Again, it is a Christmas album. Tarja has stated she is Lutheran, as are many from Finland (Soumi). In December, Tarja does Christmas performances of these songs at churches in Finland. The shows are always sold out.

* Magnificat was written by Johann Sebastian Bach for orchestra, choir, and vocal soloists. The words are The Canticle of Mary from The Gospel of Luke.
The song is the second Aria from Magnificat entitled: Quia respexit humilitatem.