Finnish soprano Tarja Turunen returns to the music scene with her third studio album What Lies Beneath. Most well-known as the former frontwoman of Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish, after breaking with the band in 2005, Tarja has gone on to build a strong solo career that spans continents. After dipping her toe into the solo career waters with a Finnish Christmas album, Tarja released her first original studio album My Winter Storm (in English, of course) in 2007 followed by the sold-out Storm World Tour. Though the album brought mixed reactions from fans ranging from skepticism to an outpouring of support, Tarja has continued on with What Lies Beneath.
Continuing the tradition of symphonic metal mixed with soprano vocals, What Lies Beneath delivers an enjoyable collection of symphonic metal and lovely piano ballads, all driven by Tarja's mature opera vocals. The album's first single was "Falling Awake" released July 19. Though a strong show of the type of music Tarja has become known for, something about the basic beat of it, the pulse, reminded me far too much of "I Walk Alone" from My Winter Storm, so I would have liked to see something a little more unique.
Stand-out tracks include the exotic and haunting "Dark Star," the vocally powerful "Until My Last Breath," the catchy "Little Lies," and the haunting "Underneath." Unfortunately, some of the other tracks here don't quite live up to the rest. Some, such as "Archive of Lost Dreams" and "Rivers of Lust," blend into the other songs and feel repetitive on the album.
The most unexpected song on the album is North American exclusive "Montanas de Silencio," a beautiful song entirely in Spanish. With an unforgettable orchestral sound and effectless lyrics that flow perfectly into one another, "Montanas de Silencio" is the most poetic song on the album.