Outlanders’ self-titled album is a musical venture that may appear deceptively simple on the surface, but in reality, it presents a vast and intricate soundscape that takes time to fully comprehend. Led by Finnish soprano legend Tarja Turunen and EDM pioneer Torsten Stenzel, with the addition of Walter Giardino, Outlanders has crafted an exquisitely done record that demands attention – even if in truth you aren’t sure exactly why. .

One of the notable aspects of “Outlanders” is the impressive lineup of guest guitarists featured on each song. Al Di Meola, Trevor Rabin, Joe Satriani, Jennifer Batten, Steve Rothery, Mike Oldfield, Walter Giardino, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, Vernon Reid, and Marty Friedman all contribute their unique talents to this musical tapestry.

The album as a whole is expansive, and if it resonates with you, it becomes an immersive experience. “Closer To The Sky” stands out with Tarja’s captivating vocals embracing the challenge of a different style, and Trevor Rabin’s presence adds an extra layer of brilliance. “The Cruellest Goodbye” juxtaposes sparse instrumentation with lush vocals, creating a mesmerising contrast.

“World In My Eyes” exudes an epic aura, thanks to the funky contribution of Vernon Reid from Living Colour, infusing the track with a seductive and irresistibly groovy vibe. “Mystique Voyage” possesses an enchanting quality, and the stunning guitar solo by Steve Rothery (he of the greatest guitar solo of all time – “Sugar Mice”) is worth getting the album for alone.

“The Sleeping Indian” carries the most prog elements among the songs, with a cinematic soundscape that envelops the senses. The unexpected addition of rap intertwines with the music seamlessly, while the unmistakable talent of Joe Satriani further enhances the experience. “Land Of Sea And Sun!” feels like a companion piece to its predecessor, showcasing the restrained (for him) virtuosity of Marty Friedman.

“1971” offers a twist with spoken word narration, seamlessly blending into the album’s overall flow. “We Own This Sky” floats weightlessly, allowing listeners to lose themselves in its ethereal atmosphere. “Never Too Far” introduces an Eastern flavour, adding an extra dimension to the sonic journey. The African-inspired “Echoes” features harmonies by Jennifer Batten, enriching the track with depth and texture.

As the album draws to a close, “A Peaceful Place (Return To The Oasis)” bookends the journey, mirroring the serene and captivating nature that permeates the entire record. It becomes evident that Tarja and Stenzel have invested a decade into creating “Outlanders,”  and you will be able to come back to it in 10 years and hear new things, I will wager,

“Outlanders” is a compelling and incredibly interesting release, inviting listeners to lose themselves in its intricate melodies and richly layered compositions. It is an album to cherish, one that will  reveal its depth over time, ensuring a captivating experience that can be enjoyed for as long as it took to make,

Rating 8/10

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