It’s easy to forget just how big a deal Within Temptation are. Their latest UK tour has seen them playing Wembley Arena and their 2011 studio album The Unforgiving sold over 300,000 copies on ITunes alone. Therefore, the release of Hydra earlier this year has to be seen as a big deal and with it hitting number 6 in the UK charts it may be a case that this is a band that are able to make the leap into the mainstream on their sixth studio album.
Opening with “Let Us Burn” you are quickly reminded of just how bonkers this band can be. This is as over the top as you will get and it brings to mind images of Sharon den Adel standing on a mountain with her fist in the air and the wind blowing through her hair as she belts it out. In saying all that there is no denying that the bombastic orchestral feel is good fun and damn that women can sing. Next up is “Dangerous” which features ex Killswitch man Howard Jones joining Adel on vocals. His inclusion leads to a bit of a metal edge coming through and while the track is still a bit ridiculous, Jones’s ability to stand his ground with Adel makes it worth a listen.
The next track is the one that has got most people talking as it features Xzibit, a man that is hardly associated with the world that Within Temptation are lumped in with. Unsurprisingly “And We Run” is one of the least metal tracks on the album, but there is no denying that Xzibit’s rapping does actually work. It sounds a bit like a mash-up at times, but it is a damn good mash-up. This is a great example that strange collaborations can work when done with a bit of intelligence.
Following closely behind that in the ‘track everyone wants to hear’ stakes is “Paradise (What About Us)” which features ex Nightwish vocalist Tarja. These two ladies have always been compared and there is no denying that their vocal performances are fantastic, while the Rammstein esque riff that introduces the song is sure to keep you nodding your head. On the other hand though this just feels a bit safe. We know these ladies can sing so when you get them in a room together why not do something a bit different? Let them really stretch their wings.
In saying that this is an album that gives off that vibe the whole way through. Within Temptation have found their place in the world and they know what they are good and what their fans want, so they are giving it to them. In many ways it makes this an enjoyable listen. The band are obviously enjoying themselves and they are all on top form. But for someone like myself, who doesn’t really rate this genre of music that highly, it just leaves it all feeling a bit stale. I can enjoy this album but there is nothing to make me want to come back for more.
For Fans of: Nightwish
Choice Cuts: “Dangerous”, “Silver Moonlight”