By John Bedard
In the interest of full disclosure, there are a couple of things you should be aware of. First, as a rule, I don’t like Christmas music. I find that there are too few songs and everyone that sings them tends to not get very creative and makes it sound too much like everyone else who has sung it before. Second, I absolutely love Tarja. My love for metal started with her while she was still singing with Nightwish. So, I will admit that I have two very strong biases that come into play here. While I know this is a reissue this is my first time hearing it as, like I said, before I don’t like Christmas music. So that all being said what did I think? I LOVED IT!
Like I said above my biggest complaint with Christmas music is that it tends to be very derivative. That is not a problem here at all. Yes, you will recognize the songs but every single one is prerformed in a unique way unlike I have ever heard these songs before. Musically, we have everything you could want from huge hard-hitting swells that take your breath away to soft measures that open up to let the vocals really shine through. Some tracks have a movie epic kind of feel while others take on an almost creepy feeling that, while being something unexpected for a Christmas album it feels right.
Vocally, I have very similar comments. Tarja has always had a powerful voice but here something about it here just seems so much bigger. She cuts right through the music with so much power and grace. She drives the whole experience like an absolute professional. When you get to the big musical swells, there she is guiding the whole thing. There is a perfect harmony between the vocals and the instrumentation. Neither going where the other cannot, neither leaving the other behind. Whether things are soft and soothing or huge driving movements she is right there showing such incredible range.
I never thought I would be recommending a Christmas album in my life, but I whole heartedly recommend this one. This is a must-have and won’t scare the family like most of my music tastes do. You owe it to yourself to have this as a part of your Christmas this year. You won’t regret it. It is nice to hear Christmas music that feels unique! Even if you already know the song I’m sure you have not heard it like this.
- ‘From Spirits And Ghosts (Score For A Dark Christmas’ is released on 6 November. You can get your copy HERE.
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