Within Temptation - The UnforgivingA lot has changed since Within Temptation released their debut album Enter in 1997. The band’s gothic style with front woman Sharon Den Adel’s clean, operatic vocals mixed with male growling came right out of Nightwish and in the beginning they were very similar to each other. But throughout the years the band has taken a more melodic approach and they have become more and more melodic, even poppy, for each album. And the growling is now long gone. In my book, that has been for the better, but with this album I raise the question for how far they can go on the melodic route without becoming a pop band. What’s the next step from here? AOR? I believe that they reached their peak with their last album, The Heart Of Everything, where they managed to mix Goth, Metal and Pop perfectly, without any style taking over too much – and it was their best album.

With the release of their new CD I note that their last album is still their best. Not that this album is bad by any means, but it’s clear that they are aiming for radio in a whole different way now. The influence of pop is taking over more and the hard stuff has taken a step back. Wrong move, if you ask me. ”Shot In The Dark” is great though, real commercial and could be hit, first single ”Faster” is a strange choice as it doesn’t get you hooked right away. It does sound a lot like Chris Isaac’s ”Wicked Game”, though –  especially in the verses. ”Iron” is a good song that reminds me a lot of the Nightwish of today and ”Sineád” has a rhythm that is almost disco. It’s very commercial, but the chorus really hits home and this should have been the first single off the album.

This is a good album, but more commercial than ever and the Nightwish connection still remains, because this is the path that their Finnish colleagues has also chose to take. Some of the heaviness is still here, but not prominent enough. It feels to me that they are trying to be more accessible and by that hoping for a broader audience, but I’m not sure it’s the right way to go. Will their old audience dig this and stay? Will they increase their audience by gaining new fans? I don’t think so. This is a step back for the band and I hope they will return to their Gothic Metal with the next album. That is what they does best.

Jon Wilmenius (6/10)

Track list:

01. Why Not Me
02. Shot In The Dark
03. In The Middle Of The Night
04. Faster
05. Fire And Ice
06. Iron
07. Where Is The Edge
08. Sinéad
09. Lost
10. Murder
11. A Demon’s Fate
12. Stairway To The Skies

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