Release Date – October 20th 2023
My exposure to Within Temptation only started recently after I saw a quite stunning performance at a festival. Once I returned home, I basically played them every day, and now I have been given the opportunity to review their new album which I consider an absolute privilege.
Writing for this record began the winter before the lockdown and once the pandemic hit, they decided to release their songs as singles to stay in the moment and say what needed to be said. They’re not afraid to get into some pretty serious subjects and air their views. We get some strong opinions on the war in Ukraine, a woman’s right to choose and the plight of freedom of women in the Middle East.
Bright synths and a bell signal the start of ‘We Go To War’ before the symphony starts in earnest with a huge battery of drums before the understated voice of Sharon den Adel soon becomes the powerful and emotional voice of freedom. The backing is heavy to help put the point across. The title track is heavier and probably one of the heaviest tracks Within Temptation has written and if you can’t feel empathy with the subject of this song then you have no soul. It’s stirring stuff that raises the hairs and gives you goosebumps on top of goosebumps.
‘Wireless’ has a touch of In Flames ‘Liberation’ about the start before it crashes into a stomping raging beast which has den Adel using her whole impressive range before the power metal of ‘Worth Dying For’ shakes your foundations then we get kinky and seductive on ‘Ritual’ which is based on the Tarantino flick ‘From Dusk ‘Til Dawn’ (I’ll have to check that movie out!). ‘Cyanide Love’ is a bit of a departure with den Adel sounding flirty and sensual luring you in with all her feminine wiles but there’s an air danger too! ‘The Purge’ is almost industrial with some heavy synths and a huge bassline then we get the massive ‘Don’t Pray For Me’ which is about a woman’s right to choose.
‘Shed My Skin’ is another huge rocker featuring two fellas from Annisokay then ‘Unbroken’ gets the symphony going again before they save the best until last and that’s saying something – ‘Entertain You’ is a full-on statement of intent and a massive middle finger raised to anyone who wants to control you or take advantage of you.
This is probably the heaviest release from Within Temptation, but it does deal with some heavy topics to deal with, But boy can they write a catchy melody too? For me the star of the show is Sharon, her voice is stunning, perfect and she can show emotion, rage, passion, love and any other emotion at will. The band behind her are incredible but nobody overplays they just make the most wonderful noise behind her – tight and right on the money every time. Every song is a winner there’s nothing on here that is not a world-class tune. The record of the year? Definitely!
Track List –
1 – We Go To War
2 – Bleed Out
3 – Wireless
4 – Worth Dying For
5 – Ritual
6 – Cyanide Love
7 – The Purge
8 – Don’t Pray For Me
9 – Shed My Skin
10 – Unbroken
11 – Entertain You