The mighty force of Within Temptation gets angry – and heavy.
Release Date: 20th October 2023
Label: Music on CD/Vinyl
Format: CD / digital / vinyl / deluxe box set
Just under a year ago Within Temptation put on a stunningly spectacular show with Evanescenc at Leeds Arena. It was an honour to witness and also a reminder that Within Temptation are not only a leading force but possibly the, leading force in the Symphonic Rock and Metal world.
The new album Bleed Out heralds a new dawn for the band, not in so much as it sees their symphonic roots merge with a diversity of styles, but in the bold stance they take on world issues. Issues that they feel particularly passionate about. A clue may have come from the Ukranian flag that Sharon den Adel flew at those last gigs, showing solidarity with the oppressed and downtrodden. She’s gone on record as saying how“the war in Ukraine has influenced us a lot. As artists we are inspired by the world, and we have this platform. We are storytellers, and I think as human beings, these are things we should be talking about.”
Hence the shift to a lyrical focus on global injustice and the state of the world. It’s a bold step for Within Temptation as the epic nature of their music and some of their anthemic battle cries match the messages carried on the swathes of symphonic majesty. Both the bold opening gambit of We Go To War and Wireless reference the aggression in Ukranian and other war zones the title track addresses the plight of women fighting for their rights in Iran after the murder of Mahsa Amini. It’s a passionate and committed move to reveal the cards so openly at the start of the record, but an indication of the depth of what they feel.
Musically, the bar is set with a challenging intensity and heaviness; possibly the weight of their feelings giving birth to an untethered musical force. Powerful Prog Metal punctuates We Go To War along with the army of massed voices adding a dominant force. Bleed Out see Sharon’s angelic breath of a vocal and melodic chorus balanced with a brutal heaviness – typical of the dynamics that flow through the album. The musical adventure is hard to call; one moment graceful and pleading, the next, a fearless and powerful onslaught, often the two combining as they do in the pulsing Wireless and Cyanide Love. The latter’s whispering crron is countered with industrial atmosphere, a pattering percussion and a growling bass that gives a real depth to the heftier parts.
The album also grapples with the complex issues around a woman’s right to choose in the recent single Don’t Pray For Me and Ritual comes bearing the tag of something more light hearted, it offers little respite musically as the sequence is relentless; a bubble of synths accompanying a strong rhythm maintains the breathless pace.
Always ready to invite fellow musicians to the table, Post Hardcore friends Annisokay combine on Shed My Skin, adding clout to the move towards something more aggressive. However, despite the ‘new direction’ the general tendency towards a more Metal tinged musical template, the underlying attraction of Within Temptation melody sees the DNA remain dutifully intact.
Bleed Out finds Within Temptation with the bit between their teeth. As ever powerful and passionate, the added edge makes them an even more exciting prospect.