Dutch Symphonic metal band Within Temptation are back with their latest studio album, Hydra. Since the release of their last album (The Unforgiving) in 2011 the band have toured in support of the album and also celebrated their 15th anniversary with a huge show at the Sportspalais in Antwerp. Since then they’ve been busy writing and recording the new album and shortly after it’s release will be embarking on their European tour.
The title of the new album, “Hydra” seems very appropriate. Like the multi-headed hydra of mythology, this album is quite multi-faceted. There’s more variety than we’ve come to expect from a Within Temptation album, with songs that sound like they are influenced by different times during the bands history and there are some radically different new things here.
Most fans will have heard several of the songs on the album already as the song “Paradise (what about us?)” was released as an EP and included three other album tracks in demo form way back in September. Since then the band have released a video for another track – “Dangerous”. So that means fans have heard half the songs on the album already and means there’s plenty of pressure for the rest of the album to be good enough to justify the purchase.
There are some special guests on this album, all singers. The first is former Nightwish singer Tarja who features on the first single, Paradise (what about us?). Then comes Howard Jones. No it’s not the 80s pop star as some people mistakenly thought when his name was first announced, it’s the metalcore singer who used to front Killswitch Engage, and who appears on the track “Dangerous”. The track “Whole world is watching” features Dave Pirner from Soul Asylum, and finally is the most controversial guest – rapper Xzibit, who appears on “And we run”.
Brief comments on a few tracks…
The album kicks off with “Let us burn”. It’s a track that was on the EP in demo form and is heavier than the last album.
“Dangerous” brings us the first of the guests – Howard Jones. Faster and heavier than “Let us burn” it also has less of a symphonic feel. Howard Jones adds his vocals
One track that is sure to divide opinion is “And we run”, thanks to the inclusion of Xzibit. The song starts off with some piano followed by Sharon’s vocals joining in and then the orchestral sounds and the rest of the band. It sounds like a normal Within Temptation song as it moves into the chorus, and I was really enjoying it and then Xzibit takes over the vocals with a rap section. Rap is one of the few musical genres I dislike, so I have to say that I am not fond of the rap section of the song. Having said that I have to give the band credit for being prepared to try new things even if they’re not sure how fans will react. Some fans will love this song, some will hate it, and others will fall somewhere between the two extremes.
The opening to “Paradise (what about us?)” makes the song sound like it belongs on “The Unforgiving”, but then the pace steps up a bit and it’s when Tarja’s background vocals kick in that things start to get really special. The vocals on this song are superb – two of the top female voices in symphonic metal together. Sharon and Tarja have very different voices, with Sharon having more of a warm singing voice and Tarja having the operatic vocal style and singing together here they really work well together. It’s a fantastic song and my favourite on the album.
“Edge of the world” is a beautiful ballad that starts soft and gentle but also includes much heavier parts too.
“Silver moonlight” picks up the pace and power, being a much faster heavier song. It’s got some semi-growling male backing vocals – something that hasn’t been used since the early Within Temptation albums.
The last track on the album is “Whole world is watching” and features guest vocals from Dave Pirner. He’s very prominent on this song – probably even more so than Sharon’s vocals. This is more of a duet than the other songs with guest vocals and is yet another great track.
This album contains a lot of variety and shows the band aren’t afraid to try experimenting with different things, but at the same time it does a good job of appealing to their existing fans. I’m still not convinced by the Xzibit track but apart from that I really can’t fault this album – a superb release from Within Temptation. Highly recommended – go and order it now !!
1. Let Us Burn
3. And We Run
4. Paradise (What About Us?)
5. Edge of the World
6. Silver Moonlight
7. Covered by Roses
8. Dog Days
9. Tell Me Why
10. Whole World is Watching
WITHIN TEMPTATION’s world tour will begin on February 26, 2014 in Helsinki and run through to May 2 in Amsterdam. Further overseas dates will be added during the remainder of 2014. For further information, please visit www.within-temptation.com.
February 26, 2014 | FINLAND | HELSINKI | CABLE FACTORY
February 28, 2014 | RUSSIA | MOSCOW | ARENA
March 01, 2014 | RUSSIA | ST PETERSBURG | A2
March 04, 2014 | LITHUANIA | VILNIUS | TEATRO ARENA
March 06, 2014 | UKRAINE | KIEV | STEREOPLAZA
March 08, 2014 | POLAND | POZNAN | HALA
March 09, 2014 | POLAND | WARSAW | TORWAR
March 11, 2014 | CZECH REPUBLIC | PRAGUE | MALA SPORTS HALA
March 12, 2014 | SLOVAKIA | BRATISLAVA | REFINERY GALLEY
March 14, 2014 | HUNGARY | BUDAPEST | PETOFI HALL
March 15, 2014 | AUSTRIA | VIENNA | GASOMETER
March 16, 2014 | SWITZERLAND | ZURICH | HALLENSTADION
April 06, 2014 | GERMANY | MUNICH | TONHALLE
April 07, 2014 | GERMANY | HAMBURG | SPORTHALLE
April 08, 2014 | GERMANY | COLOGNE | PALADIUM
April 09, 2014 | GERMANY | LUDWIGSBURG | ARENA
April 11, 2014 | UK | MANCHESTER | APOLLO
April 12, 2014 | UK | LONDON | WEMBLEY ARENA
April 14, 2014 | UK | NEWCASTLE | ACADEMY
April 15, 2014 | UK | GLASGOW | ACADEMY
April 16, 2014 | UK | BIRMINGHAM | ACADEMY
April 18, 2014 | GERMANY | FRANKFURT | JARHUNDERTHALLE
April 19, 2014 | GERMANY | ERFURT | THUERINGENHALLE
April 20, 2014 | GERMANY | BERLIN | COLUMBIAHALLE
April 22, 2014 | FRANCE | TOULOUSE | BIKINI
April 24, 2014 | FRANCE | LYON | RADIANT
April 25, 2014 | FRANCE | PARIS | ZENITH
April 27, 2014 | FRANCE | NANTES | ZENITH
April 28, 2014 | FRANCE | LILLE | L’AERONEUF
April 29, 2014 | BELGIUM | ANTWERP | LOTTO ARENA
May 02, 2014 | NL | AMSTERDAM | HEINEKEN MUSIC HALL
May 03, 2014 | NL | AMSTERDAM | HEINEKEN MUSIC HALL