Showing posts with label within temptation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label within temptation. Show all posts

Monday, February 4, 2019

video review: 'resist' by within temptation

Damn, this one hurt. But hey, they tried something that didn't work, it happens. Let's hope the turnaround isn't another five years, let's just say that.

Next up... ooh, this'll take the bad taste out of your mouths quick, this is something unexpected and special, so stay tuned!

Sunday, February 3, 2019

album review: 'resist' by within temptation

Well, this has been long-overdue.

And I do get the feeling that I'm not the only one who thinks this - it has been about five years since we last heard from Within Temptation, and coming off of a somewhat controversial release, that did strike me as surprising. And yes, I do consider Hydra a little polarizing, especially in comparison with the massive but relatively straightforward symphonic metal Within Temptation released beforehand. Maybe some of it was incidental and linked to the album of covers they released close to it, but it was also their cleanest, most electronic, and most accessible project to date coming from arguably symphonic metal's most accessible act still working - hell, they had a song with Xzibit on it that was later released as a single, and I don't think anyone was expecting that! And while I did like Hydra a great deal back in 2014, I will admit the more streamlined and uniform tone didn't always match their more experimental work in the 2000s, or hit with the huge punch of 2011's The Unforgiving.

So after several extended tours, the band opted to take some time off - frontwoman Sharon den Adel cited exhaustion and writer's block, and the material she did compose translated into an indie pop solo project released last year - which didn't surprise me, I expected that solo project to come a decade ago. The band also switched labels from Nuclear Blast to Vertigo and Spinefarm, which didn't prompt much concern until I heard the band was opting not only for even more electronic elements, but also were taking more of a political angle in their writing. And look, I've been a Within Temptation fan for comfortably over a decade, and yet I can say this was the sort of direction that raised some concern - this is a band that's never been all that deep, and while they've been more willing to play to a mainstream audience, there is a part of me that wishes Within Temptation had taken the Nightwish route with more creative, off-beat experimentation. But since we're not getting another Nightwish album until at least 2020, what did we get off of Resist?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

video review: 'hydra' by within temptation

Well, this was fun. Next up will probably be Against Me!, but it'll take a little more time for me to completely cut through their discography, so stay tuned!

album review: 'hydra' by within temptation

I've mentioned in the past that when I leaped from pop music into symphonic metal in my teens, I primarily listened to acts like Blind Guardian and Nightwish, at least initially. But it wasn't long before I discovered the act that was often considered Nightwish's primary competitor in the realm of symphonic metal, as they both started in the same year and had uncannily similar album release schedules. 

That band was Within Temptation, a band I've consistently liked for the past decade and one that I've always held up as the necessary rational counterpart to Nightwish's turbulent insanity. Where Nightwish dove into wildly imaginative yet bloated excess, Within Temptation toed the line a little closer to the mainstream with tighter lyrics and riffs, Sharon den Adel's beautiful vocals, and a sound that would be more easily accessible from the crowd that took the wary step away from Evanescence into something heavier (and eons better).

And yet, as much as I like Within Temptation's consistent high quality, they aren't a band that has ever surprised me, and they've only had moments of pure transcendent awesomeness. Don't get me wrong, all of their albums are definitely worth your time, but as a band I wouldn't quite say they've stepped out of their comfort zone - heavy enough to be considered metal, but not too heavy or weird enough to be inaccessible to a casual fan. In fact, if you're looking for a great entry point for symphonic metal, Within Temptation would be a fine start, but on the other hand, while lead singer Sharon den Adel might have begun her career collaborating with Arjen Lucassen (of Ayreon), her most recent release prior to this was an album of metal covers of pop and rock songs that included David Guetta, Bruno Mars, and Enrique Iglesias.

And thus, I was skeptical going into their most recent album Hydra. I did like their previous major release The Unforgiving, an attempt at a pulpy urban fantasy tale than worked more often than it didn't, but the delays and bizarre list of collaborators on this album gave me a fair bit of pause. And while some were saying Within Temptation was returning to their 'heavier' roots and showing 'the many different sides of their music', I had to wonder that at what point would Within Temptation lose all their unique personality altogether. I prayed for the best, but I expected the worst - what did I get?