The Dutch sextet is back - and again they changed... A bit more guitar-driven, a bit less bombastic sounds. The Howling kicks off the new album and some might know it from the game The Chronicles Of Spellborn, but just one of the 2 songs they wrote for this game ended up on their new disc. The first track shows very well, how they sound these days. Slow and atmospheric they start into the song, but then the heavy guitar riffs show the way. But in combination with the orchestra it takes off a bit of the edge and the orchestra adds some bombastic sounds. The refrain is very catchy and Sharon's voice is strong, enchanting and ingratiating. Its dark... partly the wind gush makes it even a bit threatening, but then they slow down and Sharon's angel-like voice enthralls the listener. A great start into this album!
What Have You Done was chosen as their first single and its a special song, coz here the Dutch could win Keith Caputo to sing a duet with Sharon. Due to the heavy riffs and the combination of female and male vocals there is a similarity to Lacuna Coil, but it's only the ingredients. Actually I was surprise that the male part is done by Keith Caputo, 'cause it doesn't sound like what we know of him as the singer of Life Of Agony. A great song which will keep spinning in your mind for days! The following Frozen is a mid-tempo tune where Sharon sounds more fragile.... hurt. A very emotional song which is dominated by her voice, but strings add some enchanting notes to this tune. The Latin words of the chorus and the choir gives Our Solemn Hour a sacred touch and it's more bombastic then the previous songs. But here it fits very well to the song and the use of distorted vocals as well as sound fragments let it sound very modern at the same time. Perhaps this song is the perfect combination of Within Temptations sound trademarks... The title track The Heart Of Everything is another modern sounding track, but this one needs more time to grow! Balladesque starts off Hand Of Sorrow... Orchestral parts then build the counterpart to the heavy riffs. In general it can be stated that Sharon's vocals are more emotional and that she shows a larger variety these days. A dark track is Final Destination - and a very modern one. To be honest if I would have heard the song somewhere at a club or record store, I wouldn't have thought of Within Temptation. Even if it has elements of their sound, the song reminds me more of Lacuna Coil, but on the other hands the vocals are too different from Cristina Scabbia's... Very interesting. They use sequences, electronic elements and create an atmosphere where you feel threatened... and Sharon sounds pleading. With All I Need they return to their more orchestral and bombastic sound. I know that some fans of their early days will love this one, but for me this is one of the weakest songs on The Heart Of Everything. The last track is a piano ballad called Forgiven and Sharon's angel-like vocals carry you away.
The digi-pack edition also offers a different mix of the single What Have You Done. This is the rock mix. And eveyrone who thought that they can't sound heavier then on the album version, well they show you they can! This is a real heavy modern rock tune!
My favorite tracks are The Howling, What Have You Done, The Cross and Final Destination - these tracks I can recommend to check out the new album of the Dutch sextet.
A nice treat for fans is the OpenDisc feature which gets you to some exclusive bonus stuff when you put the CD in your computer and surf the bands website.