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Tarja: Act I

Album Review

Excess all arias with operatic Scando-metal diva.

Heavy metal and Norse folklore make natural bedfellows, especially if the bed in question is full of busty Wagnerian maidens in horned helmets. The former singer with Finnish symphonic rockers Nightwish, Tarja Soile Susanna Turunen Cabuli now enjoys a solo career as a kind of goth-metal soprano diva.

This double live disc, recorded in Argentina in March, features both solo and Nightwish songs alongside a smattering of Whitesnake and Gary Moore covers. It’s preposterous, bombastic and overblown – but no more so than most Judas Priest, Queen or Muse albums. 

Trilling through her full, triple-octave range, Cabuli hits sublime levels of high-camp melodrama in sprawling orchestral riff-crunchers like Lost Northern Star and Dark Star. But her graceless duet on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom Of The Opera is plain hideous, as are interminably blustery power ballads like Tired Of Being Alone

An enjoyable novelty at first, this shrill and soulless cabaret-rock cacophony very soon grates like nails on a blackboard.

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