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On disc: Within Temptation



The Heart Of Everything - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars
An Acoustic Night At The Theatre - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars
An Acoustic Night At The Theatre - Philip Thelen - 10 stars


www.within-temptation.com







An Acoustic Night At The Theatre

An Acoustic Night At The Theatre
(Sony Music - 2009)


Within Temptation present another live album and you might think 'again?'. Well, it's a live album, but it shows the band differently! In fall 2008 Within Temptation did a theater tour, an acoustic set presented in the intimidating atmosphere of a theater. And this album was recorded during that tour. The songs sound less bombastic now, but vivid and emotional. The songs are stripped down and the unplugged version of the symphonic rockers shows the quality of the songs. In a big production the bombastic sounds might cover some flaws, but unplugged they really show their class. With Black Symphony they already showed a different facet of Within Temptation and somehow this is the logical way to continue. An Acoustic Night At The Theatre the songs still carry the symphonic elements, the keyboard got replaced by a piano and additionally a violin and a cello supported the band on stage. Sharon del Adel and her mates didn't choose just slow, more balladesque tunes, they also chose rockers which had to be overdone completely. Perhaps it was a bit risky to move into theaters and do this unplugged shows, but they managed! One of my favorites is Frozen which is just enchanting - goosebumps guaranteed! Sharon del Adel's vocals are expressive and touching. A highlight is Somewhere which feat. Anneke van Giersbergen, even if Anneke's vocals as Keith Caputo's vocal part at What Have You Done weren't live, here the band was forced to use tapes. Anyway, Somewhere is an outstanding song, a great duet of the two Dutch singers! But the duet of Sharon del Adel and Keith Caputo is another highlight! Here the focus on the vocals adds depth, the song becomes more dramatic. Actually this version is more intense then the original recording. After 11 live tracks they offer Utopia as a bonus. Utopia is a new tune which was recorded in the studio, and another duet. This time Sharon del Adel is joined by Chris Jones. Jones' voice is the perfect counterpart for Sharon and the symphonic rocker with acoustic guitars, but also brings back the symphonic elements.
Within Temptation unplugged is quite an experience and I hope they will do some unplugged shows in future! Or at least include an unplugged part at their regular concerts... Fans of Within Temptation shouldn't miss this one and everybody who likes acoustic / unplugged music will dig it! With this album the Dutch sextet should be able to make some friends among those who aren't into symphonic metal!


9 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt
 

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An Acoustic Night At The Theatre

An Acoustic Night At The Theatre
(Sony Music - 2009)


This is awesome! Within Temptation did a brilliant work with An Acoustic Night At The Theatre. I am working as a sound engineer at the local university of music and sometimes I have to work with similar ensembles. And recently I did an acoustic project with my own band and because of this I can tell you that this is an masterpiece in arrangement! It is very nice to relax while listening to this album, even if you get a goose bumps more than one time! Songs like Stand My Ground, Caged or Frozen are fantastic! You can hear it in the reactions of the crowd (it is a live cut). Sharon Den Adels voice is brilliant... I can't find the words to describe this... sorry for that! ;)
And the power from the 'norma' versions didn't get lost. I wish I have been there to see it live. The line-up was filled up with violins and a piano. The violins are adding the necessary soundscapes. Well done. Everyone who knows the band should try it out. And everyone who is into melodic metal or acoustic versions, too.
Check out: Stand My Ground, Caged, All I Need, Frozen, Pale, Memories or just try the whole album!


10 stars

Philip Thelen
 

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The Heart Of Everything

The Heart Of Everything
(G.U.N. Records - 2007)


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.


9 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt
 

           2008-2010 by Claudia Ehrhardt • E-Mail: contact@ice-vajal.com


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