Within Temptation slowly going back to their roots and slightly getting away from the mainstream
The long awaited album from Within Temptation is now out, after a three year stop to complete the tour and work on the new album.
This is the band’s sixth album, and it is featured in three versions: regular edition, the limited deluxe box set, that has several bonus, and then we have the digital premium version available only on iTunes.
We have the special participation of famous names in this album, such as Howard Jones, former vocalist of Killswitch Engage and Blood Has Been Shed and present vocalist in the band called Devil You Know. Hip hop singer Xzibit is also a part of this album’s special guests; Tarja Turunen, former Nightwish’s vocalist and also Dave Pirner, the lead vocalist of Soul Asylum.
Album: Hydra Label: Universal Music, Sony BMG Release date: 31/01/2014 Genre: Atmospheric rock/ Gothic rock/ Industrial rock
1- Let Us Burn
This is the song that introduces us the album and it’s the perfect one to do so. Great vocal work from Sharon and the amazing guitar solo by Ruud make this song one of the best in the album. Clear usage of Nordic rock elements such as the melodic piano, the strings quartet and the mid tempo drums in the pre-chorus. Maybe it’s because of all this that this song clearly shines amongst all the others featured on the album. That appeal that only Nordic rock has, they’ve got it well exposed on this one. 5/5
2- Dangerous (ft. Howard Jones)
Starting with a little of electronic elements and with the speedy and aggressive drums, the pace of the song is determined. Howard Jones’s voice was a good combination with Sharon’s, the rough and raw vocals with the angelic one just blend together perfectly. This is the best song in the album without a doubt. 5/5
3- And We Run (ft. Xzibit)
The electronic and classical mixture is just great in this song. The piano and violins alongside with Sharon’s voice start the song. The strings are responsible for the buildup of the song. Xzibit’s hip-hop gives the song a new insight. It’s a surprisingly good mix between the genres creating a harmony which is a little unexpected, especially because these two genres normally don´t mix together simply because they’re just way too different from each other. 4/5
4- Paradise (ft. Tarja)
The violins are responsible for starting this song and the choir builds up their momentum. The piano, drums and guitar are all mesmerizing in this song. Tarja’s vocals are a bit shadowed by Sharon’s until the chorus, but the two voices create a good harmony and contrast between them. At some point we’re listening to a battle between a mezzo-soprano voice (Sharon’s voice) and a lyric-spinto soprano (Tarja’s) giving you chills. 5/5
[For those who aren’t familiar at all with music theory:
Mezzo-soprano – it’s an extremely rare type of vocal trait that is mostly common in men, known for the user being able to reach hit pitched notes without a fail. Probably the users are more prone to sing opera and other styles that demand a cleaner and more precise vocal approach.
Lyric-spinto soprano – a more usual vocal trait but still a hard one to mimic. It’s known to be a vocal trait that is more suited to sing dramatic songs also able to approach opera songs as a mezzo-soprano.]
5- Edge of the World
The first ballad featured on the album. Starting with an acapella provided by Sharon’s astonishing vocals. The soothing synth pads in addition to the sweet voice and the strings just make you want to relax while listening to it. In this song, instead of the traditional guitar solo we have a cello solo. This song has a huge focus on Sharon’s voice. 5/5
6- Silver Moonlight
Yet another quiet song with a piano that gives us a majestic overview of the song and the macabre raw voice as the back vocals, is a little unexpected but nevertheless it’s not a bad addition. When looking to the guitar track as a whole we have great guitar parts and solo provided by Ruud (the lead guitarist) and, on another note, the drum track is impressive as well. The vocal work resembles a little with the song “Memories” from their album “The Silent Force”. 5/5
This song has the typical rock intro with the guitar and drums that dictate the song’s rhythm. Great instrumental piece, just a little different from Within‘s usual structure in their songs. The choir adds grandiosity to the song. Surprising addition is the children that talks almost like she telling us a philosophical testimony. Stupendous guitar solo. 5/5
8- Dog Days
Great intro led by the piano and the drums. Terrific vocal work from Sharon. The heavy dramatic instrumental piece will make your feelings flutter. One of the best ballads in this album. 5/5
9- Tell Me Why
A fast paced song “Tell Me Why” is led by the drums and the guitar. The guitar piece is splendid and adding the vocals and back vocals, leaves us with the impression of a mysterious yet macabre and dark feel to it. Once again we have another magnificent guitar solo by Ruud. 5/5
10- The Whole World Is Watching (ft. Dave Pirner)
“The Whole World is watching” is a ballad through and through that resembles very much with the song “Mother Earth” from their second album. Both voices are like polar opposites but in the end they mix incredibly well. The piano in this song somehow resembles a bit of the usual Nordic rock. Another awesome song. 5/5
Final rating: 5/5
This album shows a band ever growing and how their sound and the vocals have changed along the way. Sharon’s voice doesn’t resort to the use of high pitched notes that much as they did in the past but the band seems to have adapted well to that change. This album makes the band look fresh and innovative with their new sound. After listening to the entire album some would say it resembles a little of the work on “The Silent Force”, but it is more macabre and more electronic and innovative that it.
The genre that this album is inserted on is ranged between industrial rock, atmospheric rock and gothic rock (in some songs).
The special guests were interesting choices, starting from Howard Jones that has a vocal range completely different from Sharon’s, to Xzibit that sings a genre of music also different, or Tarja that has an amazing and magnificent voice but together it even sounds better.
This album is an unexpected revelation, showing us once again that Within Temptation can mix genres and sound amazingly fresh and new, not dismissing their original genre.
A clear improvement in comparison to “The Unforgiving”.
Within Temptation already has booked dates for their world tour. Here are some of the scheduled dates for the European tour.