CD review TARJA ‘In the Raw’

(9/10) I don’t think that I need to introduce Tarja to you. The former Nightwish singer, celebrating big success with the Finnish metallers, is well-known. After having parted way with Nightwish, Tarja started to put a focus on her solo career, being at least as successful as the days with the Finnish Symphonic Metal masters.

What makes the soprano to one of the best singers in Symphonic Metal is the fact that she always delivers high quality that’s reflected in approachable songs, opening her music for a wider fanbase. What started in 2007 with ‘My Winter Storm’ found its continuation with many records of which ‘In the Raw’ is the latest one.

‘Raw’ isn’t always be seen as something precious, although the opposite is reality quite often. Thinking about an unpolished diamond or gold nugget shows that beauty is sometimes hidden under a ‘raw’ surface’. Tarja’s newest album is built on a similar thinking. It’s the beautiful and well-done orchestration and her excellent voice, both being combined with a rough and dark musical core.

It’s the opener, also unveiled as a single earlier, which is a good example for such a fusion. Melodic elements are combined with heavy modern riffing by Alex Scholpp and some rough vocals by no less than Soilwork frontman Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid. The songs is a stretch of Tarja’s musical framework and a terrific start into the album. There are with ‘Serene’ and ‘Spirits of the Sea’ some songs with a similar approach, but no worries, the more soulful moments are present too … and more than only once.

‘Railroads’ is one of these anthemic tracks that include a touching vibe and it is ‘Silent Masquerade’ that reflects the entire musical creativity of Tarja and band. The singer, in a duet with Seventh Wonder frontman Tommy Karevik, add so much feel to this 7 minutes long epos, that it gives you the shivers. Mentioning guests, there is another well known singer supporting the Finnish soprano on ‘In the Raw’. Lacuna Coil’s Cristina Scabbia joins on ‘Goodbye Stranger’. The very rhythmic track shines by the two voices and a melodic approach that makes the song to a highlight, a diamond on ‘In the Raw’.

‘In the Raw’ is Tarja’s best album up to date, It reflects musical savvy, passion, creativity and a wide range of sounds, all being hold together by Tarja’s excellent vocals and Scholpp’s powerful guitar play.



  1. Dead Promises (with Björn “Speed” Strid)
  2. Goodbye Stranger (with Cristina Scabbia)
  3. Tears In Rain
  4. Railroads
  5. You And I
  6. The Golden Chamber
    • Awaken
    • Loputon yö
    • Alchemy
  7. Spirits Of The Sea
  8. Silent Masquerade (with Tommy Karevik)
  9. Serene
  10. Shadow Play

Label: earMusic

Genre: Symphonic Metal

Release Date EU: August 30th, 2019



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