Across the pond in Europe, a vast array of musical treasures have been hidden from most U.S. listeners. Unless one knows where to look they may be forever undiscovered. One such jewel is the Dutch band, Within Temptation.
The band, which hails from The Netherlands, was formed by guitarist Robert Westerholt, and vocalist Sharon den Adel in 1996. Over the last few years, Within Temptation have grown exponentially more popular in their home country as well as globally with the release of each new album.
Fans of gothic-metal and symphonic rock are steadfastly loyal and devoted to the band’s music, and for good reason. Their 2007 release, The Heart of Everything, was a stunning masterpiece of melodic symphonic rock, and track for track, not only their best studio album, but one of the best CDs that year. Within Temptation followed the album’s release with what would become a two-year tour, from which they filmed and recorded their 2008 CD/DVD, ‘Black Symphony’, which truly showcases the band’s live talent and appeal.
The DVD allows fans to hear just how moving and powerful Sharon den Adel can be. Her voice is voluminous, with an incredible quality of creating atmosphere that envelops the ear, if not your musical soul. One can almost breathe in the emotion of the songs through her intonation and inspired renderings. That is the impact that listeners will be struck with upon hearing the band’s latest release, An Acoustic Night at the Theatre.
Last year the band embarked on a set of acoustic dates to culminate their Heart of Everything tour. The shows were a huge hit with fans, and the band has chosen to keep their loyal fan’s ears fed with this delightful treat as they patiently wait for Within Temptation’s next studio album.
An Acoustic Night at the Theatre is for music lovers who can also truly appreciate, and are looking for simple beauty and a purity of sound; specifically, the sound heard in den Adel’s natural vocal elegance, accompanied by piano and a symphony of strings. Don’t let this mislead you though; while den Adel’s vocals can lull you into a trance-like state, the band does not lose the essence of their hard rock roots.
An Acoustic Night at the Theatre brings the nuances of the band’s songs to life, reflected primarily through the richly evocative and emotive strength of den Adel’s incredibly aggressive voice.
The set list includes fan favorites, such as ‘Stand My Ground’, ‘Frozen’, ‘All I Need’, and ‘Memories’. More obscure tracks like the ethereal, ‘Caged’, from their 2000 album, Mother Earth, and ‘Pale’, from their 2004 CD, Silent Force; are also represented.
The CD also offers fans special guest performances such as vocalist, Anneke van Giersbergen (The Gathering/Agua de Annique) on ‘Somewhere’, and Life of Agony frontman, Keith Caputo, who reprises his male vocal role on their hit, ‘What Have You Done Now’.
Within Temptation also include an exceptional rendition of ‘The Cross’ on this album, highlighting den Adel’s vocal subtleties which are quite inspired and inspiring.
The overall sound of the CD, the music and vocals, are extremely well performed and produced. Between An Acoustic Night at the Theatre, and last year’s elegant yet bombastic, Black Symphony CD, the band has covered all the bases for fans who cannot cross the oceans to see them live.
As all good things must come to an end, Within Temptation leave us with a new studio track, ‘Utopia’. ‘Utopia’ shows listeners a lighter side of the band’s music, while philosophically treading through the darkness that surrounds society.’Utopia’ is a song that lyrically encompasses a cry for the world to open its collective heart and eyes, and see how we are destroying ourselves, our world, our children, our Utopia, while still offering hope and a chance for redemption. The song also feature’s co-vocals from U.K. singer, Chris Jones.
The band’s new studio CD will not be in listeners hands and iPods until spring 2011, so until then, die-hard fans and new listeners alike will find An Acoustic Night at the Theatre to be a perfect appetizer for the ears.
This is a close five of five stars. A solid ‘A’ performance!
If you’ve never heard Within Temptation, think Evanescence with more melody and depth.
Find out more at Within Temptation Online and check out their other music videos at YouTube.com.