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4.8 out of 5 stars81
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 23 September 2008
Holland's best kept secret Within Temptation! Sitting in the shade of Nightwish and Evanescence respectively this DVD should change that!

Perfroming to a huge sell out crowd alongside Black Symphony orchestra,on a spectacular stage set!Video screens,pyro and the orchestra bathed in swathes of light.Entering in long red cape and matching corset the beautiful Sharon Den Adel commands the stage,like a fairytale Princess:angelic of voice and mesmerizing beauty.
The orchestra adds a suitable air of majesty to an already sublime sound,strings,stirring the heart. Sharon's vocals are crystal clear,every note perfect(I saw them live so I know its not overdubbed).Her stage presence is all smiles and bounding enthusiasm-coming across as extremely likeable.She gyrates and gestures like a water nymph,the music turning her one way then the other.Backed by a solid band led by her partner Robert Westerholt,Within Temptations music is best suited to indoor halls in the dark.Powerful storytelling,catchy and engaging.Atmospheric and emotional filled.
The DVD itself is one of the best productions I've seen,picture and sound are perfect,every nuance of sound is there.Over 2 hours of rock!!
The camera edits are just long enough,not frantic MTV style jumps,allowing the performance to breathe.
Accompanied by the guest vocalists, who sang on the group's 3 duets, to sing their respective songs is a nice touch.Highlight being on "Somewhere" with Anneke Van Giersbergen.Tow angelic voices meet with emotional results.
ALl their best songs are here,from latest single "Forgiven" (a heartbreaking beautiful song which should be a No.1)which shows Sharon's vocal beauty alone with a piano,filmed in black & white,back to an early song "Mother Earth".
The band looked genuinely happy to be there and welcomed the fans input,which they duly gave singing along and throwing gifts onstage!
With 4 discs(2CDS)this is a very good value package.
Slight grumble,the band interviews on DVD extras are in Dutch!
You can see in the eyes of those on the front row it was a fantastic concert,probably fairer to call it an experience of a lifetime.
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VINE VOICEon 29 September 2008
I do not know where to start, I was counting the seconds to get my hands on this DVD, being a huge fan of Within Temptation. Right, so, this is beyond anything I have ever seen. It is magical, stunning, and every second of it counts. The songs, audio, visual effects, the band, Orchestra, and Sharon are all amazing. I have enjoyed every moment of it, and hands down, this is by miles the best live performance I have ever seen. Nothing comes close to it. From the opening of the performance, to the final song, it is just captivating, and you can tell how much time,effort, and massive production have gone into the making of this DVD. I love Within Temptation, and seeing this performance, I can only say that they are on the Top of their act. No reviews or words will be enough to describe the feelings you get seeing this piece of art, you have to see it to believe it. If you are a fan of Within Temptation then be prepared to be captivated, and if you are not, then you are missing a lot. My favorite part of all, was the three acoustic songs played in the middle, and in addition, and what makes this Black Symphony so special, is that there is some new musical arrangements in the songs, to make them work together well with the Orchestra, and this adds to how excellent they are. Get this DVD now, no need to wait more, this will be the best treat you give yourself.
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Within Temptation are a Dutch symphonic metal group - their music combines the sweep of orchestral music with the energy and power of heavy metal, topped by the superb vocals of Sharon den Adel. On their albums, the orchestral parts tend to be keyboard patches, but for this one-off concert, they joined forces with the Dutch Metropole Orchestra and a choir, and played a 2 hour set to a sold-out Rotterdam Ahoy.

And it's superb - in general, when a rock band gets together with an orchestra, the result is at best incongruous and at worst embarassing, but Within Temptation's music is designed to sound like this - the addition of a real orchestra and choir just fills out the sound to the way it is quite clear the band always wanted to sound. I was never 100% convinced by Within Temptation before watching this - they seemed to be slightly copying other bands in the genre, like Nightwish - but this CD and DVD has made a believer out of me. This is the definitive symphonic metal band, giving the definitive symphonic metal performance.

The show looks and sounds superb, with both band and orchestra on top form and clearly having the time of their lives. The video captures what it must have been like to be there, with only a slight overuse of unnecessary effects from time to time to spoil things. The 5.1 sound mix is stunning, with excellent use of the surround channels for the haunting Gregorian chants of the choir. If you buy the deluxe package, you get the full show on DVD and CD,plus a bonus disc of a second (orchestra-less) concert and a bunch of documentaries (generally in Dutch, but with English subtitles).

If you are a WT fan, you need this in your collection. If not, but the idea of symphonic metal sounds appealing, this is a very good way to try it out. Thoroughly recommended.
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on 25 September 2008
I've developed a taste for many different musical formats over the years (I'm 53). I can listen to Beethoven's 9th , followed by Black Sabbath, or the sound of bagpipes. Undoubtedly Within Temptation are absolute masters of this particular musical genre; Goth rock, Symphonic rock, pop metal; whatever you want to call it! WT don't do wailing guitars solos or drum solos, not that there's anything wrong with such, best part of a RUSH show is the Neil Peart drum solo; they simply provide the best of their chosen style of music fronted by someone of stunning beauty and an equally beautiful voice.
This show accentuates their particular style, with Frozen, Deceiver of Fools and All I Need specifically benefitting from the Symphonia. While WT are an outstanding 'rock' band, I actually think they are better at the softer ballad type songs. There's an awesome 'sit down accoustic' section in the middle of the show; Forgiven, Somewhere; The Swan Song and Memories. 'All I Need' could easily have been tagged onto the end of this section to bring the show back to the 'rock' level though they do this admirably with the Solemn Hour and The Other Half of Me, one of the few songs I can handle containing grunting (one musical style I can't get into).
As with previous WT DVD releases this is phenomenal value for money. The 'Mother Earth' DVD had around three hours worth, excluding audio CDs; 'The Silent Force' DVD came in with five hours, 'Black Symphony' has nearly six hours!
I can accept a previous reviewer's comment that the documentary on the extras is in Dutch but with respect, they are a Dutch band, why would they not speak their native tongue, given a lot of WT DVD extras are of a home video camcorder style.
My only dissappointment, and this purely personal, is they didn't include 'Our Farewell' a song I want played at my funeral (I digress!).
If you are into WT or have the slightest inclination towards goth pop rock (whatever), this is superb.
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on 29 October 2008
Awesome (adjective)
1. inspiring or displaying awe
2. excellent or outstanding
3. Within Temptation's Black Symphony concert at the Ahoy, Rotterdam.

I wrote that the Silent Force tour DVD at Java Island concert was the most incredible live performance on DVD I've ever seen. I've changed my mind. This one is better and redefines the dictionary definition of awesome. Black symphony is an outstandingly spectacular show which lasts just under two hours. It commences in black and white with a specially written overture which sets the tone of the whole performance - grand and majestic. Jillian (I'd give my heart) is the opening song in a faultless set which flows perfectly, balancing rock with ballads, full accompaniment with simple acoustic. The stage becomes bathed in those particular shades of blue, green and red so evocative of gothic rock. A full stage video screen displaying some very impressive images compliments and enhances the performance whilst never distracting from the band. Having seen Within Temptation live in Wolverhampton for the Heart of Everything tour, I know that Sharon's live performance is mesmerising and she commands total attention wherever she is on stage. Her voice is so hauntingly ethereal, with a timbre that conveys both melancholy vulnerability and inspired confidence wherever appropriate, so evidently on display in the rendition of Forgiven.

The guest appearances, like the crowd participation, were kept in proportion. The audience reaction to Keith Caputo was genuinely warm and welcome, enhancing the experience of the special interaction between band and audience for What Have You Done. This song brought the crowd alive in the performance I was at where he was on a pre-recorded video screen, taking the concert to top gear so I can only imagine what it did for a capacity crowd of 12 000 fans at Ahoy. The camerawork is spot on conveying the sense of live performance up close and from afar.

The Metropole Orchestra were a perfect accompaniment to Within Temptation's sound and the arrangements created a depth to the songs that would have overwhelmed other groups or styles of music. Their compositions have stood up to the test and passed with flying colours.

There is also an additional bonus concert of approximately 1 hour's duration at a venue in Beursgebouw. This is a more intimate event filmed on video. It captures perfectly the supreme live performance that Within Temptation win awards for. The majesty of the Ahoy performance is scaled down to just one cellist but it is no less of a crowd pleasing performance. Within Temptation know how to deliver a show and once more effectively use green, red and blue light to bath the stage which is decorated with an array of flaming bowls and three large video screens which enhance and not detract or distract from the band. Once more Sharon mesmerises with a blend of both confident and fragile vocals. I was delighted to see that the song that made me fall in love with Within Temptation, Restless from Mother Earth, was in the song list. This acoustic arrangement is phenomenal and recreates an already incredible song into an even better one. I don't have many regrets in life but not being at both of these concerts are on the list.

Once more this band and this DVD redefine the dictionary.

Perfect (adjective)
1. Lacking nothing essential to the whole; complete of its nature or kind.
2. Being without defect or blemish: a perfect specimen.
3. Thoroughly skilled or talented in a certain field or area.
4. Completely suited for a particular purpose or situation.
5. Black Symphony concert DVD by Within Temptation.

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on 26 April 2011
Firstly,I think I should clarify what you get for the asking price.A gatefold package containing 4 discs,2 DVD and 2 CD,along with a booklet! There's the main concert,a second bonus concert and extras galore,including music videos and behind the scenes footage,all on the DVDs.The two CDs contain the audio for the main Black symphony concert,such is the length of the concert.Amazing value for an amazing audio/visual extravaganza!
If you are aware of WT then you know that no amount of words can describe what an event it is to actually see what Sharon and the boys can do live and not on a studio album.If you're new to WT,then just go to YouTube for a few minutes,then come back here and buy this!
There are singers,there are vocalists,then there's Sharon! Effortless power with an unbelievable range and subtlety that gives your ears a treat every time.I came late to the WT experience but thanks to my love of Armin Van Buuren I discovered Sharon as a guest vocalist on my favourite track of his and have been a fan ever since.
I own too many live concerts on DVD to mention,from all genres of music.Most of them have a compromise in them somewhere which is counteracted by the visual experience.This DVD has no compromise at all and actually improves on many of the studio tracks,which makes the inclusion of the live CDs even more essential.
A benchmark in live concert performance,production and recording.
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on 10 February 2009
The Black Symphony may well turn out to be the high point of live Symphonic rock, and is mightily impressive. The spectacular performance is bound to confirm the bands status and broaden their appeal away from the cult Goth Rock following who have been their main fan base.

All the group's best tracks appear here with the bulk of them coming from their 2 latest (and best) albums "The Silent Force" and "The Heart of Everything", and some have been slightly rearranged and orchestrated. Sharon den Adel is mesmerising and steals the show. The Metropole Orchestra and choir is magnificent and contributes greatly to the overall power of the performance. Best numbers are the orchestral and choral "Overture"(without the Withins!), "The Howling", "Stand My Ground" and the magnificent duet "Somewhere". The concert is so entertaining that anything less than 5 stars would be unfair.

I do have a number of reservations about the total package and indeed the group itself that few other reviewers have articulated. The musicians are very average - take away the orchestra and their limitations would soon become obvious. There are about 2 minutes of very ordinary guitar instrumental work in a 2 hour performance, none of the group can even sing harmony, and the set-piece acoustic set smacks of posing to be taken as "serious musicians". In other words take Sharon away and these guys are nothing.

The bonus disc has the most banal interviewer ever let loose, shows the band accepting a "Best Live Act" while playing along to a backing tape (surely a contradiction) and while they sing all their songs in English (and their fans go along with this) they conduct their interview in Dutch. Annoyingly their promo videos are much lower in volume than the rest of the music - sloppy !

That said I still love the concert and the bonus concert (with taped backing orchestral parts) is also of very good quality but fear that they will be unable to deliver a credible follow-up. Sharon looks so well that I've never played the double cds and am not likely to, and consider them an unnecessary extra. Overall this is really an essential buy as this genre (basically ignored by British and US acts) is well worth exploring. Album of the Year !
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on 1 October 2008
I first saw Within Temptation supporting Iron Maiden at Twickenham Stadium last July and have been hooked ever since.

This DVD proves just how brilliant this band are, led from the front with Sharon den Adels angelic vocals that are equally clear and beautiful live as the are on studio recordings. From the opening piece all the way through to `Ice Queen' this Production is absolutely captivating, which is justified through all of the hard work put in to the show; Including Special guests, circus performers and 60 piece orchestra which works magnificently with Within Temptations music. The orchestra adds another dimension to all of the songs on the set list, I feel `Angels' and `Frozen' particularly benefitting.

If it were possible I would give 6 stars due to its sheer brilliance, there for it is an absolute must have for ALL Within Temptation Fans and anyone who has an interest in rock/metal music. Words cannot really describe just how magical this performance is.
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on 28 September 2008
This is THE BEST package of music DVD/CD money can buy. I only stumbled upon this band a couple of years ago, a great pleasure that was and still is. They must be the most underrated band in the world - especially in the UK.

This concert recording must prove to anyone who has the joy of seeing/listening to it that this band are due more respect and a greater following in the UK. Europe has taken them on board and it's about time we did! The amalgam of band and orchestra has obviously happened many times but rarely has it happened so magnificently. The music of Within Temptation works so well this way and this concert gives the uplift to the Within Temptation back catalogue that it deserves. The sound, the picture quality, the...well EVERYTHING is done so well. If you have friends who don't know this band start getting copies for each one for Christmas and they will thank you for many years to come.
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on 9 November 2012
I've seen many live shows and many more on video/DVD but none are as complete as this.
For fans of Within Temptation and symphonic rock this is simply the benchmark upon which everything else can be judged. For everyone else, see it anyway.
The power of the music is stunning. The songs are exceptional and performed to perfection. The orchestra does somewhat drown out the guitars but the songs are so good that this is overlooked.
Forget any other performances of rock bands with orchestras. This music was written for this show and I still get goosebumps during parts of it.
There is a sticker on the front of my copy saying, "This really is the greatest show on earth - Kerrang" It really is.
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