Former NIGHTWISH singer Tarja Turunen will release her new studio album, "In The Raw", on August 30 via earMUSIC.
As the saying goes, not all that glitters is gold. But then again, not all that is gold necessarily glitters. It was this idea that struck Tarja as she began work on "In The Raw".
Three years on from her last album, 2016's "The Shadow Self", "In The Raw" finds Tarja and her beautiful voice sounding as stunning as ever. Working with many of the same musicians and production team as before, the intention was to bring out the idea of rawness to match the feelings Tarja was having from the very beginning of the process.
"In The Raw" sees Tarja tapping into raw emotion and going to personal places in her lyrics. Opening herself up more than ever before, she says she was left feeling naked by her honesty, but also pleased at where she had gone with her words.
"Gold, we think, is something polished and perfect, sophisticated, a luxury. But in its natural state, it's a raw element," explains the singer. That sentiment encompasses the music on her upcoming album: a combination of sophisticated and refined orchestration, choir, and her classically trained voice with a raw, dark heavy musical core. Simply put, "In The Raw" is a gold-plated work of wonder.
The concept of gold and its raw state extends to the album's artwork. It finds Tarja in St Michael's Cave, Gibraltar, framed in vivid color and golden sheen.
The first look at the album, the brand-new song "Dead Promises", is all this and more. Matching the stunning power of Tarja's voice with a thunderous guitar, the aggression she speaks of is brought to the front, not threatening to shatter something fragile, but reinforcing its power.
"I really like how the guitar sounds: in your face," she says. "If I'm singing powerfully, I need something powerful behind me so that I don't feel like I am left alone."
Fans will find that the album includes an amazing duet version of the song with guest vocals by Björn "Speed" Strid of SOILWORK.
"In The Raw" track listing:
01. Dead Promises (with Björn "Speed" Strid)
02. Goodbye Stranger (with Cristina Scabbia)
03. Tears In Rain
05. You And I
06. The Golden Chamber: Awaken / Loputon Yö / Alchemy
07. Spirits Of The Sea
08. Silent Masquerade (with Tommy Karevik)
10. Shadow Play
Last year, Tarja told Bloodlines that her new album would be "darker" and "a bit heavier" than 2016's "The Shadow Self". But she added that she would never forget "the symphonic side of mine, as my first love of music was classical music, so I will never get away from that."
Turunen was fired from NIGHTWISH at the end of the band's 2005 tour by being presented with an open letter which was published on the NIGHTWISH web site at the same time. In the letter, the other members of NIGHTWISH wrote: "To you, unfortunately, business, money, and things that have nothing to do with emotions have become much more important."
NIGHTWISH mainman Tuomas Holopainen later called the decision to split with Turunen "the most difficult thing I ever had to do." For her part, Tarja said the way she was kicked out of the group proved that her former bandmates were not her friends. "Maybe one day I'll forgive, but I will never forget," she said.