I first heard about the band known as Within Temptation after checking out “those who purchased this also purchased this” suggestion section of Amazon.com while reading reviews of a Dream Theater album. Then while listening to one of Within Temptation’s more popular singles called “Angels” my sixteen year old daughter told me that she and her friend liked the song and had memorized the lyrics to it. Within Temptation, founded in 1996, is a band from the Netherlands categorized as symphonic metal/gothic metal. Lead vocalist and founding member Sharon den Adel in an interview stated “we consider ourselves more of a symphonic rock/metal band, we are in my opinion not a gothic band.” Most folks compare them to the more popular band Evanescence. There are some similarities, but while the multi-talented singer/song writer Amy Lee of Evanescence also has outstanding vocal pipes, Sharon del Adel can shatter crystal with her vocal chords.
The new album from Within Temptation is called “The Heart of Everything” and is their fourth studio release. The album was released March 12, 2007 and has had five singles released from it. The first track on the album is “The Howling”. The song was written to promote the video game “The Chronicles of Spellborn“. The song begins slowly with piano and symphonic strings, but other instruments build and crash in with loud and overdriven guitars and drums. The second track, “What Have You Done?”, is the first single released from the album and features guest vocals from Life of Agony’s lead singer Keith Caputo. The single was the most popular for the band to date. The track is very heavy and the vocals from Caputo are intense and emotional. The popularity of the song prompted two video versions of the song. The second single release and third song on the album is called “Frozen”. The song and video release both deal with the issue of domestic abuse. The band is donating any funds they receive from the single to Child Helpline International. The fourth track is called “Our Solemn Hour”. It is probably my favorite song on the album. It is about the invasion and bombing of Europe by the Nazis in World War II. The song begins with a recorded radio broadcast of Winston Churchill petitioning the European public to pray for their solemn hour. The song the is the epitome of their style of heavy metal and symphonic blended sounds with Sharon hitting those high notes that could shatter glass. The lyrics solemnly tell:
Sanctus Espiritus! redeem us from our solemn hour
Sanctus Espiritus! insanity is all around us
Sanctus Espiritus! is this what we deserve?
Can we break free from chains of never-ending agony?
The Latin term Santis Espiritus means Holy Spirit. It is the cry for salvation from Nazi devils. The song sports a rare guitar solo that is eeriely played through the symphonic strings and vocals. It fits the darkness of song very well.
The album highlights include “The Howling”, “What Have You Done”, “Our Solemn Hour”, “The Heart of Everything” is the album title and contains a really cool guitar riff that reminds me of something George Lynch, formerly of Dokken, would write, “Stand My Ground” is a nice optimistic ballad about faithfulness and determination, “The Truth Beneath the Rose” is a wonderful piece with orchestra and choir blended with the heavy rock guitars pounding as Sharon’s soprano voice sings verses like:
The veil of my dreams
Deceived all I have seen
Forgive me for what I have been
(Forgive me my sins)
“Forgiven” is a quiet ballad with symphony, piano and the talented voice of Sharon singing as a lover and protector who has been abandoned by her love. She is singing about forgiveness as she deals with the new silence in her life. If anyone has ever felt this way, know this, people will fail you. It is only a matter of time. But knowing this can help you with erroneous expectations. The only one who will never fail you is Jesus Christ. I can tell you this from experience. For those who believe and trust in Jesus, He has promised that He will never leave them, and nothing will separate them. As it is written in Romans 8:38-39:
38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
“The Heart of Everything” is my first album review of Within Temptation. I have always like the blending of symphony and metal guitars. The bonus with this band is the addition of an excellent soprano voice from Sharon del Adel. She has such an incredible range in her voice. I give the album four an a half flying V guitars out of a possible five.
Please check out the video below for “What Have You Done”.