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Stef of Van Canto about The Shadow Self

Stef of Van Canto about The Shadow Self

Stef from Van Canto stepped out of his role as a musician and turned into a Tarja fan writing down his thoughts about Tarja's new album "The Shadow Self".

Tarja – The Shadow Self

Some thoughts by Stefan Schmidt (Van Canto)

Being an artist, songwriter and producer myself, I am always happy and also feel kind of relieved when I can listen to an album putting the focus on an artist’s vision more than fitting into a certain stylistic label. If then – on top – the album is produced well and features a musical style that I like, I am totally happy and can be quite sure I found an album which will rotate in my player quite often during the next upcoming weeks.

This feeling just hits me 100% when listening to Tarja’s “The Shadow Self”.  If I had to describe it in two words, I’d pick “self-confident” and “mature”: While featuring a wide range from modern hard rock (“Innocence”) over acoustic, totally uncheesy ballads (“The living end”) and atmospheric, soundtrack-esque musical paintings (“Love to Hate”) to classic symphonic heavy arrangements (“Eagle Eye”, Undertaker”) “The shadow self” is a totally authentic, coherent album.

The center of the production is, of course, Tarja’s outstanding vocal talent and ability which is perfectly balanced between amazingly controlled worldclass-performance (“Diva”) to emotionally overwhelming, intimate moments like in “Supremacy”, which would make a perfect opener to a James Bond movie.

It is refreshing that the creative vision of an artist and her well concerted band is so well-grounded and solid that the wide stylistic range (we even have some funk elements on “Demons in you”) never takes you away from the center of attraction. This center – again – is Tarja’s outstanding voice, surrounded by dark, intense instrumentation with both classical and electrified parts. The profound production, well balanced between voices, atmospheric parts and the steamrolling Drum-Bass-Guitar parts is the best production of Tarja so far. It is sounding stable and natural and still is giving her voice a super-natural aura, rather than sounding too spiky, which I did not like so much on  “Colours in the Dark”.

I wouldn’t know which label to pick for “The Shadow Self”, wouldn’t know if I should call it “Dark Heavy Rock” or “Symphonic Metal” or whatever. And not being able to pick such a replaceable genre-name and still having a complete album attracting me for the entire time I am listening to it, really shows how far Tarja evolved during her career.

She has an outstanding voice within the complete metal, rock and pop world, she is hard-working and focused relating to her career and still is gifted by inspiration and the will to evolve rather than recording the same album twice. This is truly admirable and inspiring. "The Shadow Self" is a really self-confident and mature album!

DATE: 16.08.2016