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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Lies Beneath
Who Is Tarja?

Tarja Turunen is one of Finland's sweethearts. She won the heart of many metal and classical fans around the globe for her soprano vocal ranges as the lead singer of Symphonic/Melodic metal band Nightwish, which is one of the most successful bands in their genre. Nightwish was founded in 1996 by herself, Tuomas Holpainen and Emppu Vuorinen...
Published on 17 Nov 2010 by Chlobo Shoka

versus
5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a step ahead, not a step behind
I thought that "What Lies Beneath" will be a step further towards the Storm.
It is not, but anyway is level to the Storm.
The appearance of Satriani was a surprise but nothing extraordinary.
What Lies Beneath and Dark Star are probably the best songs in the album.
I never liked the cover of Poison. Its the same with Still of the Night (except the...
Published on 12 Oct 2010 by Julian Zhelyazkov


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Lies Beneath, 17 Nov 2010
This review is from: What Lies Beneath (Audio CD)
Who Is Tarja?

Tarja Turunen is one of Finland's sweethearts. She won the heart of many metal and classical fans around the globe for her soprano vocal ranges as the lead singer of Symphonic/Melodic metal band Nightwish, which is one of the most successful bands in their genre. Nightwish was founded in 1996 by herself, Tuomas Holpainen and Emppu Vuorinen.

Tarja and Nightwish stood out by mixing metal, rock, opera and classical elements together.
She was kicked out by the band through an open letter which is still available to read on the official Nightwish website. She was replaced by Anette Olzen and recorded their best selling album to date: Dark Passion Play without Tarja. Despite criticism, controversy and fans rage over Tarja's dismissal, Nightwish still remains as one of the best selling bands to originate in Finland.

Since being expelled on the band in late October in 2005, Tarja has made three studio albums: A Christmas album in 2006 (Henkays Ikuisuudesta), My Winter Storm in the following year and this year, What lies Beneath.
I will primarily be reviewing the standard version of What Lies Beneath but I will also mention the bonus tracks.
Cover/Inlay

The cover and inlay design content are simple and effective. It uses a lot of black so the white swirls and patterns stand out. Some of the images remind me of musical promo pictures.

Lyrics are also included.
The Album

Release dates for the album
Finland: September 1st
Germany, Switzerland and Austria: September 3rd
Worldwide: September 6th
Brazil and North America: September 14th

The album was released in September in 2010. She spent until April this year recording the tracks and keeping up to date with her blogs. The standard version includes 11 tracks and the deluxe includes 3 bonus tracks and a clip with Tarja talking about her album.

Tarja was involved with a lot of the songs compared to Nightwish where it was Tuomas' main duty and in My Winter Storm some were written for her and she didn't put much song writing into it. So What Lies Beneath is one of her most personal albums to date. She has also produced and composed some herself.
The standard album lasts almost 55 minutes.
Track list

1. Anteroom Of Death (Feat. van Canto)
4/5
The opening track for the album. The musical introduction gives me a medieval vibe and the lyrics add to it. The things that stand out about about the song are the chorus and the lyrics: Are you joker, king or queen?
2. Until My Last Breath
4/5
A very good single choice here I think. It does take me back to the old Nightwish days. I think old Nightwish songs would get a lot of kick out of this song. Not much stands out here apart from it being a good and solid song.

Two music videos were released for it. The first one involves Tarja around in a deserted land with clips of a scuba diver. The second paints a scene were Tarja has passed away and she's a ghost.
3. I Feel Immortal
5/5
The song is very relaxing and is another good single choice. I like the usage of the scenery in the music video.
Standout lyrics: Slowly time forgets me, I'm only... only dreaming.

4. In For A Kill
5/5
Tarja does overdo a few notes but it still maintains a five-star. It's a harsh wave, especially the last line of the chorus.
5. Underneath
5/5
This is a pretty nice ballad. Great flow and very simple lyrics. The chorus really stands out. If it was sung by a pop star it would song a bit bland but Tarja makes it work.

6. Little Lies
4/5
This is the closest to a filler track. Nothing wrong with it, I just prefer the other tracks.
7. Rivers Of Lust
5/5
This song is one of the most enchanting songs on the album. It's about a girl who is abused by a man who is well respected by the public but they don't know the terror they give to the poor girl. It's a beautiful song but can be painful to listen to.

8. Dark Star (Phil Labonte)
5/5
This song has a dark vibe but it does remind me a little bit of nightwish as well.
9. Falling Awake
3/5
A very heavy and mysterious song. A very Tarja song. It does have some deja vu though.

10. The Archive Of Lost Dreams
4/5
This is a song that Tarja wrote and that she has all the writing credits for. It's a very raw ballad. It has the sad flow that gives you a feeling the end is nigh.
11. Crimson Deep (Feat. Will Calhoun)
4/5
I like the lyrics to this song the line in the first verse really stands out:
"Blood on my lips I taste the heavy lead."
The song gives the album a great closure.

Bonus Tracks/Material:
Naiad - 4/5
Still Of The Night - 5/5
We Are - 5/5
Tarja Speak About What Lies Beneath video
Montañas de Silencio - This is an exclusive track for North America and it replaces the single I feel Immortal. 4-5
Overall rating

Tarja's talents are undeniable. Her work can appeal in the Metal, Rock and classical scene. The lyrics are thought provoking and the music shines just as much as her vocals shine. It's a very beautiful album that flow like a river. It's much different to Nightwish, past and present. It's very consistent and I think it's a great improvement from My Winter Storm and listening to this album makes me want to keep an eye out for her next solo works.

Standout tracks: Underneath, Rivers Of Lust, In For A Kill, Until My Last Breath, I feel Immortal, Crimson Deep, Naiad and The Still Of The Night.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tarja is back, 9 Sep 2010
This review is from: What Lies Beneath (Audio CD)
If you have any prior Knowledge of what Tarja's music is like and liked it then you will love this.

Her voice is tested on a lot of the tracks but the way Tarja pulls them off you can hardly tell.

Some of the songs on what lies beneath are heavier then the songs on my winter storm with argubly 'dark star' being the heaviest and 'Underneath' being the softest.

This album has a good mix of heavy and soft songs and I would recomend this album to any one who liked any of her previous work or just like's to listen to nice music.

There are maybe 1 or 2 songs that are not as good as the rest of the album but that's only a matter of opinion you may not feel the same way when you listen to it.

Im happy with this album It will have you head banging in some parts and have you relaxed in others. Give it a try you might like it
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 1 Nov 2010
By 
E. J. Stevens "Diocletian" (Southampton - UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: What Lies Beneath (Audio CD)
This cd seems to get better with each playing. I think that Tarja has taken a big step away from the Nightwich model. This has allowed her more freedom to use her vocal abilities in new ways. The mix and variety of tracks is spot on. This lady certainly knows what she is doing. I bought the cd with the added bonus material and would recommoned it as the video of Tarja in the studio just adds to the overall appreciation on her craftsmanship (or should that be classwomenship). The Whitesnake cover 'Still of the Night' is impressive. I really like her version. The original by Whitesnake is a rock classic. I think this is suprior to her cover of Poison, the old Alice Cooper song, on her previous cd (although I have to say I was never into Alice Cooper and never liked the song anyway).

I would love for her to now release a live dvd. I've seen the 'warm up' concert footage that was/is on YouTube and that was superb. It would be nice for that materail, or and updated verion to be released on dvd.

I can recommend this cd. It had moved the goalposts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tarja outside the box, 23 Oct 2010
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This review is from: What Lies Beneath (Audio CD)
This album is an impressive tour-de-force. Tarja wanted to dazzle us and she did! The opener "The Anteroom of Death" has such an imaginative orchestration and vocals, it will soon start conjuring up pictures in your mind. "Until my last breath" is so catchy you will be singing it in your sleep and "Falling Awake" has the most beautiful melody! I won't go into every track as this album is better heard as a whole. It rewards repeated listenings as I am always finding out new details in the songs that I hadn't noticed before.
Tarja's voice is constantly improving and the songs showcase her voice perfectly. For all of us Tarja fans it is a joy to have a whole new album of new material with her voice but this album is so much more. If you like Tarja, you can't be without this. If not, then this will not make you a fan. Better though it is, Tarja does not vary her singing style that much. If you found that irritating in the past, there is not much chance that this will convert you. That's why I am only giving her four stars. I was surprised but I am expecting more surprises in the next album.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tarja - A Symphonic Metal Diva, 1 Nov 2011
By 
J.P.Gomes (Lisbon, Portugal) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: What Lies Beneath (Audio CD)
Tarja's third solo album is, as I see it, a very personal one. Her dramatic dismissal from "Nightwish" back in 2005 was surely a test. In "What Lies Beneath" I believe the issue is finally put to rest. In "I Feel Immortal" the solace she initially seeks and finds; in " Underneath" the resilience with which one may bend but not break and last but not least, in "Falling Awake", a new beginning!
Musically, "What Lies Beneath" simply enhances what has always been a beautiful soprano-like voice, her solo career revealing a much more creative and free Tarja than before. A great album! Go girl, keep up the good work!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Evolving Sound, 25 Oct 2010
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This review is from: What Lies Beneath (Audio CD)
As an old Nightwish fan, I was disappointed when Tarja was fired. I was further disappointed by the band's choice to change their sound. But Tarja's solo albums have gone from strength to strength. Whilst I personally preferred the more "fantasy fairy tale" aspect of My Winter Storm, especially the concept of the Queen of Ice, the Phoenix, the Dead Boy and the Doll, What Lies Beneath is still a very solid album with a charm of its own. It is darker than MWS, and the heavier songs go far beyond MWS; you can hear links to MWS within WLB, and appreciate how her music has developed from one to the other.

If you loved My Winter Storm, you will love this too; Tarja is definitly developing her own style.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark Spring Follows Winter Storm, 2 Jun 2011
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This review is from: What Lies Beneath (Audio CD)
A worthy follow -up to solo debut "Winter Storm", "What Lies Beneath" is a tighter more coherent work-more "normal length" (where the earlier album sprawled over 21 tracks and 75 minutes)but every bit as listenable

Previous reviews already do it full justice, so really just one point to add:

The 4th track "In for a Kill" includes "sampling" of the opening bars of Stravinsky's "Rites of Spring" -the Rite being all about a woman sacrificially dancing herself to death . Once that penny drops the opening tracks "Anteroom of Death" and "Until my last breath" begin to suggest there is something of a "concept album " going on here , though not in the more usual obvious way....but I'll leave you to listen, enjoy, figure the rest for yourself

For anyone h who might not have already heard much of Tarja,this is what I'd call "Operatic Metal", hers is the sort of sound/technique classic opera singers had to develop to make themselves before humankind discovered electricity then how to make mikes and amps. As such its a colder more metallic sound than the more often emulated and more self-taught "Rock-Operatic" styles evolved by Sharion den Adel and Liv Kristine ...so, "vive la difference "!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars it deserves a 6th star!, 11 April 2011
This review is from: What Lies Beneath (Audio CD)
Totally different from her "first" album after Nightwish. It's mature and strong, and it shows the other side of Tarja. Her voice will enchant and take you to dreams, middle age battles and torture rooms. At least this was how I felt...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent, 3 April 2011
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This review is from: What Lies Beneath (Audio CD)
"What Lies Beneath" is as magnificent as Tarja is herself.

Tarja just keeps getting better. "My Winter Storm" revealed the talent she was hiding during her Nighwish days. "What Lies Beneath" builds on that. The compositions are superb both musically and lyrically. She has collected a group of musicians around her who put in a performance to match her own, including a guest appearance by Joe Satriani .

The album has a balanced mix of light and heavy, and Tarja excels in both departments. Tarja has never had difficulty turning on the power but, in her Nightwish days, I could sometimes sense the power tugging at the reins during softer passages. She now has more control over that unique voice of hers and can be as delicate, where called for, as she can be passionate.

If you liked "My Winter Storm", you will love this. If you are a Nightwish fan new to Tarja's solo recordings, this should not disappoint and you may well be in for a very pleasant surprise.

About the various editions. The bonus tracks on the Deluxe Edition are worth having but the difference in price is excessive. They include a worthy cover of Whitesnake's "Still Of The Night" and a 14 minute video "Tarja Speaks About What Lies Beneath". The video is well worth watching and reveals as much about Tarja as it does about the making of the album. The bonus tracks are included in the download edition at a much more reasonable price. The video is not included in the download edition that Amazon are selling, but is included in the edition you can get elsewhere.

A year later

It's still magnificent. It's one of my most played albums and it's still growing on me. I wish I could give it an extra star.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars tarja what lies beneath - surely album of the year!, 7 Dec 2010
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This review is from: What Lies Beneath (Audio CD)
I cannot recommend this cd enough! Although I loved My Winter Storm (her first solo album) WLB is a return to her old Nightwish form and is full of great rockers, thoughtful midtempo songs and wonderful ballads! Her voice sounds fantastic and the backing players are excellent! The production is glossy and each song feels as if the utmost care has been taken with it. The additional material on the deluxe edition is great too! Her cover of In the Still of the Night is superb and is a good tribute to the excitement of the original by adding Tarja's trademark operatic and choral arrangements.
The lyrics are clever and thought provoking all through the cd and the vocal arrangements are stunning.
If you loved Nightwish with Tarja you will adore this!
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