Finnish Soprano and erstwhile Nightwish singer Tarja has followed her 2012 album Act 1 with another live recording. Available as a live album and video, Act II was filmed during Tarja’s “The Shadow Shows” world tour. The first chapter, “Metropolis Alive” was filmed in London prior to the release of Tarja's Shadow Self album and a chance for fans to hear her perform the songs for the first time. “Act II’s” second chapter was recorded in November, 2016 at the Teatro della Luna Allago in Milan, Italy and includes numerous hits from all four Tarja albums.

The opening track, No Bitter End, defines the album with an emphasis on the uber theatrical, alongside full-bodied symphonic metal. Expect pounding guitars, explosive keys and keep the glassware safe, unless it's shatterproof, as there are some seriously high notes. Paul McCartney's House of Wax gets a Tarja makeover, and a heady soprano rendition of Goldfinger is well suited to John Barry's arrangement. A cover of Muse's Supremacy reinforces the tracks Bondesque moments and is another cover that's embraced into Tarja's panoply of songs. A medley of Nightwish songs is a welcome addition to the set and sure to please fans who have followed Tarja's career. Eagle Eye, Lucid Dreamer, Victim of Ritual and Love to Hate not only demonstrate her stamina and versatility as a vocalist but sum up her energetic and impassioned performance on the album.

Act II probably won't be the last live album we see from Tarja, but it's a pretty good place for this doyen of symphonic mental to take a well-earned bow.

Groupie Rating: 3/5

#rock #metal

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