Album Review: The Unforgiving by Within Temptation
Great, Based on 5 Critics
Rock Sound - 90 Based on rating 9/10
Comic book capers from the Danes on their fifth album... A concept album? Based on a comic book? Why not paint a massive target on the back of an anorak whilst you’re at it? Euro-metal may have always been a denim jacket’s hem away from populist cultural obsolescence, but those that know better can join the Danes as they embellish their usual symphonic proclivities with various, less austere moments. The dark-hued, hard rocking glory of ‘Sinéad’ and the Evanescence-bothering theatrics of ‘A Demon’s Fate’ should draw Within Temptation a wider audience, but it’s the ferocious guitar / keyboard attack of the blazing ‘In The Middle Of The Night’ that might coax most bullet belts out of retirement.
Dutch symphonic metal group Within Temptation never fails to make their music interesting. Their 15-year career has been a continuous experiment to stretch their limits and explore every aspect of their sound to its fullest. Each album they have released to this point has focused on a different musical element, allowing that element to grow and evolve, and then carrying that growth over to future releases.
Review Summary: What would happen if Within Temptation ever stopped focusing on overblown pomp and started creating songs that showcased the entire band? The answer is the best album of their career, The Unforgiving.When "Shot in the Dark" opened The Unforgiving with a computerized dance beat and it didn't sound campy or overdone, it was obvious that this was going to be a departure for the band. You see, Within Temptation are known for being a bit over-the-top with their music and for not always knowing when enough is enough. When they decided to add a folk element to Mother Earth back in 2000, they went with the most cheese-tastic fairy/fantasy style of folk that they possibly could.
In the mostly male-dominated world of heavy metal, it's always refreshing to see more women getting involved in the genre. Such is the case with Dutch melodic metallists Within Temptation. Led by singer Sharon den Adel, the group issued their fifth studio album overall in 2011, The Unforgiving. As with their previous efforts, Within Temptation specialize in what is known as symphonic metal, but to their credit, it doesn't come off bombastic or overwrought (like many other similarly styled bands who tend to lean more toward the prog metal side of things).
Back in 2003, a waxen beauty clawed her way up the side of a building, nightdress billowing, belting “Bring me to life!” And no matter how contrived, how tawdry its faux-goth-meets-nu-metal trappings, the mainstream success the song brought to Evanescence directed a flurry of attention on a myriad female-fronted bands, already well-known on mainland Europe, who had been around for longer and who, let's be honest, were always much better than Amy Lee and her grunting male counterparts. Of these, Within Temptation have always been less power-metal orientated than Nightwish and Edenbridge and less gothic than Lacuna Coil and Epica, fitting neatly into the box labelled 'symphonic'. They’ve always also been the more commercially minded of the lot, unabashedly courting a metal-lite sound, and it’s clear that the massively hubristic concept surrounding the band’s fifth album The Unforgiving will only propel them further towards a mainstream eventuality.