on 1 November 2002
Within Temptation are hard to comprehend when you consider that being a band is just a hobby to them, since they spend a lot of time in 'proper jobs'. How then, they've managed to get Mother Earth together is a wonder. This band have been likened to After Forever [and indeed they do collaborate occasionally] and their style is similar, though softer and more dreamy, for want of a less annoying word. All the elements are there - the heavy guitars, the choirs and Sharon del Adel's incredible voice which is one of the purest and most beautiful in the genre. I read one reviewer describe WT as 'orchestral Gothic metal' [whatever that means], but that's the closest I've heard anyone get to what this is.
All of the tracks here are good, but the title track, Ice Queen and Caged could be dubbed as outstanding. There are softer, piano-dominated tracks, such as Our Farewell and Neverending Story [yes, there is something Fantasy-esque about this album, as the cover-art hints at]. The only slightly annoying thing is how the Mother Earth theme permeates much of the album and how they use some kind of flutelike effect in some of the songs, but if you can get over this [which isn't hard to do, admittedly], all the better. If you like your instrumentation heavy and your vocals soaring and harmonic, this is for you.
on 31 January 2004
Within Temptation are a out-standing female-fronted metal band from Holland. Starting off as a doom-metal band with beauty and the beast type vocals in their debut EP, "Enter", they have evolved into something entirely different on this release.
This album was originally was released in 2001 in Europe, but overwhelming demand - the fact that is sold over a hundred thousand copies in tiny Holland alone is quite remarkable - it was released in 2003 for the American and U.K market. And it is very easy to see why this album is so popular as it is very accessible.
While they have lost the "beast" growling vocals, the death metal-esque riffs do remain, but they have been toned down in order to not drown out Sharon Den Ardel's beautiful voice. This is not a stereotypical metal album as it also utilizes keyboards, a choir, string instruments and even on some songs, wind instruments. This is all together put, a simply amazing album.
Starting off with the title track "Mother Earth", it begins with wind and string instruments along with the raising vocals of a choir behind it, until abruptly the guitars and drums kick in, already you know that this song is going to rock, and rock hard. Sharon manages to project her beautiful voice over the music, as she sings about, as the title suggested, Mother Earth. One of the singles off of this album, this is a great introduction to the album.
"Ice Queen" was the song that initially attracted me to WT when I saw it on German MTV. Starting with a gentle piano in the background, sudden bursts of the choirs vocals along with electronically produced sounds, much like before the band jump in all of a sudden as the song really kicks off. This is the perfect WT song and is one of my favorites on the album. Those wondering whether or not to purchase this album should really check this song out before hand.
Slowing things down next is "Our Farewell". Accompanied by only a piano and some string instruments, Sharon really has a chance to shine here, showing off her awesome voice. You can really hear the emotion in her voice as she ponders whether it's the last farewell between her and a loved one. A beautiful song, this knocks spots off of Evanescence's "My Immortal", and only up until the end of the song do the guitars kick in.
"Caged" starts off with wind instruments, a flute perhaps, before the drums introduce the entire band, as Sharon sings with despair, scorned by a deceitful loved one, she bitterly and venomously sings out the chorus. The sense of loneliness and rejection is projected nicely in this song, a song for anyone whom has ever been betrayed. Later in the song she looks back regretfully as she knows that the relationship entailed in this song has had its repercussions on her, and how hard it is to trust someone new.
With a slow intro, "The Promise" is one of the longest song on the album, and takes a time to get going. When it finally does it rocks along nicely, before quietening down to put full focus on Sharon as she sings about a lost loved one. One of the more epic songs on the disc, it tells a tale which is easily followed as Sharon pours out her heart and soul.
"Never-Ending Story" is the first song on the album so far not to use guitars, but it isn't the last. A definite "lighter in the air, arms swaying" sing-along song it uses nothing more than a piano with some gentle drumming in the background and brief involvement of the choir, it is a majestic song.
The choir is used once again to open up next song, "Deceiver Of Fools". Telling a tale of a dark being who rules people ruthlessly. This song uses the orchestra beautifully, and never gets tiring. A emensely enjoyable song, this is the longest song on the album.
With "Intro", it serve no real purpose on the disc other than to be a pre-lude to "Dark Wings". The latter song is currently my favorite on the album. Starting off strongly with the choir, drums, and some great catchy hooks and riffs, Sharon really shines in this song, the heaviest on the album. I fell madly in love with this song as it so just easily commercially appealing it's a crime that Within Temptation are not a big band outside of Europe.
"In Perfect Harmony" much like "Never-Ending Story" uses no guitars what so ever. Plodding along almost mischeivously, it is about men living in peace with nature. Definitely not what you'd expect from a band who a few years earlier were doing "doom metal". A nice, gentle and relaxing song it also uses birds tweeting and nature calls.
Included on the album in bonus form are tracks "Restless", "Bittersweet", "Enter" and "The Dance".
"Restless" was included on their debut EP, but this is the "classical version" of the song, it is a great song. A nice touch to the album.
"Bittersweet" is a song that was included on one of the singles from this album as a b-side. It is one of the shortest songs on the disc as Sharon sings over a piano and the orchestra. A lovely song, it fully deserves its place on this album.
"Enter" and the "Dance" are tracks from their earlier EP's - going by the same names - and are performed live. This shows what the band once was in comparison to now.
I strongly recommend this album to fans of Evanescence, as WT are far superior to said band. Also this is for anyone who wants something that can rock hard, but is not stereotypical metal music.
For fans of the two live tracks, may I also recommend another Dutch band called Orphanage who play the same type of music WT used to, and have toured with them.
on 2 September 2005
This album continues to astonish me. The celtic theme drives the album throughout, and makes for a comforting, if tentative, view of the world. The power of Sharon den Adel's voice is incredible. Forget Nightwish comparisons, the emotive power of this band comes from a completely different place (The Netherlands in fact).
However a word of caution; if your looking big metal riffing, this album will disappoint.
on 30 May 2006
With vocals not as operatic as yer one from Nightwish, I find Within Temptation more palatable. All in all a fine album, the bonus DVD is nice. A couple of the album tracks are a bit twee, particularly Never Ending Story. On the other hand Mother Earth, Ice Queen, The Promise, Our Farewell are all cracking tunes. If you don't mind metal with pop sensibilities check them out
Check out the following album The Silent Force, I think it's better.
on 1 December 2004
Well I bought this album after hearing Within Temptation's cover of running up that hill earlier this year. I quickly brought the album and I quickly became addicted to the crystal, unique voice of singer Sharon Den Adel, and the bands passionate permorfamce and soothing yet strong rifts. They have an individual sound, which is fantastic and I'm sure that the album would win anyone over. Maybe listen to a song before ordering though... always helpful. Ice queen(track 2) is perhaps one of the catchiest songs, however my personal favorite has to Deciever of Fools(track 7).
I'd reccomend this album to just about anyone because its brilliant, however it would probably appeal most to those who like lacuna coil/nightwish/Sarah Brightman not to bundle all those bands/performers together, but I think Within temptation shares elements from all of them.
on 18 March 2005
Leaves you in awe! A genuine music lover must check out this CD.
I'm not really a gothic metal fan, and I wonder if any category name does this music justice. I'm generally more interested in a broad range of mainstream music from Aerosmith to Emma Shapplin, but the compositions on this CD are faboulous. I'd expect any musician or composer to be jealous of this work, even Mozart or Tchaikovsky would sit up and listen.
This CD is not really comparable to most of the gothic metal music I've heard (or earlier Within Temptation material for that matter). If you don't know what gothic metal is don't worry, I don't really know either (of the stuff I've listened to after buying this Within Temptation CD only 'Nightwish' came somewhat close to my taste; but Within Tempation is still several times better).
The songs vary from powerful rock to ballads. It combines (hard) rock, opera quality singing, the complexity of classical compositions and instruments, with (here comes the 'metal' part) some 'metal' power and great song texts (definitely gothic style as far as I can tell).
This CD is so impressive you'll need to listen more than once to believe your ears. Personal favourites are the powerful 'Mother Earth' and 'The Promise' and the ballad 'Never-ending Story'.
This CD is in a class of it's own.