Saturday, April 20, 2024

Tarja finally arrives in Manchester after years of delays

Despite supporting a record that came out several years ago, Finnish symphonic metal icon, Tarja Turunen, makes her triumphant return after an almost three-year delay. UK Metalcore outfit Beneath the Embers and Italian power metal crew Temperance would also join as support. 

British Metalcore outfit Beneath the Embers opened the show and they easily had the best sound of the night as they launched into ‘Contact’. It was unfortunate that the last song of their set featured some technical difficulties as the lead guitar would repeatedly cut out which is a shame because there were some great melodies and lead work on display. 

Beneath the Embers

Next up was Temperance from Italy, a band that featured three vocalists and just one guitar player which is certainly a unique lineup that added a lot of variety as well the ability to deliver brilliant vocal harmonies. Temperance are somewhat similar to Amaranthe in tone as they both have this distinctly European sound that at times gives Eurovision vibes in a way that represents their home country as well as being easy to consume across distant countries.

Temperance

‘Last Hope in a World of Hopes’ is a particular standout of their set with its massive symphonic introduction and harmonised staccato vocal stylings before launching into guitar-accompanied blast beats. It makes for a great show and a great introduction to a potentially huge up-and-comer in the power metal world

Temperance

Tarja‘s band took to the stage to the giant orchestral backing of ‘Serene’ as she made her way to the front of the stage to thunderous applause and the first notes she sang show her off as a gargantuan talent as a vocalist and the fact that she looked ethereally beautiful only added to this otherworldly image she has established over the years.

Tarja | Photos by Chris James Ryan

It’s also worth noting that Tarja has this ability to allow herself to be silly and goofy with her mum dancing and smiling demeanour which was rather infectious and made her seem more relatable which may turn some people who have always looked at her as this larger than life ethereal siren type deity that she perhaps established herself as with Nightwish.

 

Tarja | Photos by Chris James Ryan

Tarja’s set was also plagued with technical difficulties as there were certain parts of the venue where all you could hear was bass and everything else was drowned out but luckily Tarja’s vocals were distinct enough to make out her unique operatic vocal stylings.

Tarja only played one Nightwish song, ‘Wishmaster’, which was a fantastic choice with its intense drumming and deceptively technical guitar work all coming together with Tarja’s soaring vocals to make it a formidable crowd pleaser. It’s certainly disappointing that more Nightwish songs haven’t made it to her sets over the years but it’s understandable considering how much of an effort Tarja has made to establish herself as a solo artist over the years. 

Tarja | Photos by Chris James Ryan

The highlight of the show was the slow piano ballad section that just featured Tarja and her keyboard; she performed ‘The Golden Chamber’ and ‘You and I’ in a medley which allowed her to give a more subtle and emotional performance while also showcasing her talents as a rather talented pianist. 

Tarja | Photos by Chris James Ryan

Tarja’s best tracks are the shorter and more succinct anthemic tracks like ‘Tears in Rain’ which utilise over-the-top symphonic metal sensibilities while also blending massive arena rock choruses and these moments truly showcase her talents as a songwriter as well as a performer. Tarja ended the show with some absolutely colossal tracks that have since become symphonic metal classics like ‘I Walk Alone’ and ‘Until My Last Breath’ which truly are glorious to hear live. 

Tarja | Photos by Chris James Ryan

Tarja is a heavy metal legend and truly one of the most iconic front women in the genre and her stage show does a lot of the lifting to prove that. With any luck, her future shows won’t have these technical difficulties and perhaps Tarja will find a better freestyle dance instructor in the meantime. 

Lamestream Lydia
Lamestream Lydia
Self-proclaimed journalist, Progressive rock enthusiast and the most American sounding person you're ever likely to meet in the North of England

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