It was like five years ago, I don’t remember exactly. One of my first times on a big festival and I wasn’t that into different kinds of music as I am now. I had my personal favorites like Silverchair, Guano Apes and The Offspring. So for me it was a perfect time to discover some new kinds of music, young, unknown and interested. It was then, when I first got in contact with the music of Within Temptation, and I remember that I was passing by very quickly, failing to see the fairytale that some were already into. For life?
The CD begins with an introduction, simply called ‘intro’. A choir sings, fallowed by a soprano. I imagine a forest in the morning, with the dew still on the grass. The sun is shining through leafs of a tree and then suddenly the earth awakes as the first song starts, ‘See who I am’. Very powerful guitar chords, like we know from Within Temptation, combined with keyboards to create the sphere that characterizes the band. Then the vocals are setting in, verses and chorus are following. As I listen to the first songs of the album, it seems that Within Temptation has continued writing songs in the way of ‘Ice Queen’ and ‘Mother Earth’. I notice the catchy choruses and imagine a huge crowd throwing their fists in the air towards the band. The verses are mostly signs of relief, like it’s waiting for the storm of the (pre)choruses, and that’s a brilliant combination, because Sharon den Adel is able to use here voice in either a powerful and a softly, kind of friendly way. The keyboards are producing the kind of effects that……you know, it just fit. Maybe I should describe it as some kind of meditation. I’m listening to a kind of metal, yet I feel like I could be relaxing. The effects in which you can hear a choir are a very important factor.
As the CD continues I here a few songs that bother me a little, like ‘Pale’ and ‘Memories’. These are slow songs that seem to be trying to bring a kind of relief, but they dón’t fit. They’re maybe a bit too slow, but could also bring a kind of variation that one could like. For me, the songs are a bit disappointing.
I would really like to mention the song called ‘Angels’. Do you remember the big hit ‘Ice Queen’ like mentioned above? I’m pretty sure you do, because it made this band big. Well, with a little bit of luck, this song could make the band immortal. It has got just about everything. The vocals are lovely, tiny and pure like…indeed. The guitars are strong, and simple. Everything about this song is actually as the rest of the album. All musicians are working together, not just to show how good they are, but to create songs in the best way they can, for us, the ones to listen to the album.
Finally I’d like to notice one thing more, and that’s for the fans. I don’t think I know of a fan base more loyal to their band as the one of Within Temptation. I can imagine that some of them would describe this album as ‘trying to sell as many copy’s as possible’. The grunts are totally gone and the music is more friendly and accessible than before. To me, as someone who is interested in new material, I see a band that’s developing more and more. Something I did not expect.
Sharon den Adel: vocals
Robert Westerholt: guitar
Jeroen van Veen: bass guitar
Stephen van Haestregt: drums
Martijn Spierenburg: keyboards
Ruud Jolie: guitar
1. See Who I Am
3. Stand My Ground
9. It's the Fear