A MySpace Find
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Sometimes, while I'm on MySpace, I look for new and interesting music to listen to. The goth metal band called Within Temptation may not exactly be new, but I had never heard their music before until I clicked on one of their songs on their MySpace page. Since then, I've been systematically checking out songs on their page and that makes Within Temptation a perfect addition to our Myspace Find feature articles.
Formed in 1996 by partners on stage on off Robert Westerhold (guitars) and Sharon den Adel (vocals), the Netherlands band caught the attention of Dutch label DSFA in 1997, leading to their debut album, Enter. Taking their act on the road, Within Temptation found a successful niche in the concert scene and toured in Germany, Austria, Belgium and the Czech Republic. After this tour, they took a hiatus, coming back in 2000 with Mother Earth. In 2004, after spending years on successful touring, the band hit the studio again, coming up with the full orchestra and choir laden project The Silent Force, an album that was so successful, it landed Within Temptation an American label in the form of Roadrunner. Since then, the band has produced three more albums, including The Heart of Everything, Black Symphony and Hydra.
When I first heard Within Temptation, I remember thinking how striking the vocals were. Lead singer Sharon den Adel sounds very similar to Amy Lee of Evanescence and the goth metal sound provides a perfect background for those vocals, bringing them to the forefront. But not all of Within Temptation's songs can be classified as simply goth or rock or metal. The band experiments with different styles and genres, adding symphonic or choral elements to change things up and make their music more unique.
I sampled quite a few of the songs available on Within Temptation's MySpace page and there were a number that stood out for me. Stand My Ground starts off with such a quiet and innocent sound. Then the percussion and heavy metal guitar riffs come in with the choir and you know this is not going to be just another love ballad. I love the message of this song - "If I don't make it / Someone else will / Stand my ground" - don't give in, don't give up, face your fears and you can achieve your goals; turn away and someone else will be there to take your place. Memories begins with a soft violin solo. Then the piano joins in with electronic sounds, low percussion and guitars. Enter the high pitch vocals by den Adel and you have a haunting tale of a love separated by distance or something more.
What Have You Done, featuring Keith Caputo, is a hard hitting angry rock song that speaks bitterly lost love. Both sides of the romance regret the loss of their love, but each blames the other for that loss: "What have you done now?!" This is a powerful heavy-hitting rock ballad that deserves major play time on American mainstream radio. The other side of the coin is Forgiven, another love lost ballad, this time featuring acoustic guitar, piano and strings. A much lighter sound, but no less powerful in its expression of pain.
The last song I listened to on Within Temptation's page is And We Run, featuring rapper Xzibit. The song starts with a vocal and orchestral sound reminiscent of Heart, but once we get to the chorus, the rock sound is much heavier than anything Heart ever produced. Now add in Xzibit's explicit rap with the memorable hook: "Don't blink, you'll miss it / Lift up your head / Too late, we gone / Yeah, we outta here." The gritty, fast-paced rap is a perfect addition to the goth rock orchestral sound of the music and den Adel's striking vocals.
Within Temptation is one of those bands that have a striking sound that captivates the listener. You can't put your finger on one thing that the band is doing right - it's a combination of things...it's the vocals, the lyrics, the music, the way the band varies it sound to produce unique and new styles so they are not pinned to just one genre. Right now, Within Temptation is on tour, promoting their latest album, Hydra. I can't wait for their return to see what other incredible music they can come up with for their next album.
Within Temptation is a terrific band that deserves some mainstream American music station play time, without a doubt! 'Til then, I'll continue to enjoy their work on the internet. Thanks to Myspace, I can now add Within Temptation to the list of bands I want to hear more from.