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WITHIN TEMPTATION - The Unforgiving cover
4.06 | 37 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 2011


1. Why Not Me (0:34)
2. Shot In The Dark (5:02)
3. In The Middle Of The Night (5:11)
4. Faster (4:23)
5. Fire And Ice (3:57)
6. Iron (5:41)
7. Where Is The Edge (3:59)
8. Sinéad (4:23)
9. Lost (5:14)
10. Murder (4:16)
11. A Demon’s Fate (5:30)
12. Stairway To The Skies (5:32)

Total Time 53:42


- Sharon Den Adel / vocals
- Robert Westerholt / guitars
- Ruud Jolie / guitars
- Martijn Spierenburg / keyboards
- Jeroen Van Veen / bass guitar

Guest musicians:

- Nicka Hellenberg / drums
- Stefan Helleblad / guitars
- Dawn Mastin / spoken words
- Franck van der Heijden / choir and orchestra arrangments

About this release

Release date: March 25, 2011
Label: Roadrunner Records

Thanks to adg211288 for the addition and Unitron, diamondblack for the updates


More places to buy metal & WITHIN TEMPTATION music

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Specialists/collaborators reviews

So, I listen to Within Temptation's 'Enter' to condition myself before listening to their newest offering, 'The Unforgiving'. A lot must have happened between '97 and now, because the sound has changed a little drastically.

Now, there are times when that can be a good thing; but in this case, it isn't.

Straight from "Shot in the Dark", the impression is "This is Evanescence with Rihanna's vocals mixed with Amy Lee's. Wtf?" The music in "Faster" and "Iron" sounds like is was taken (stolen?) from an Amorphis song. In fact, there are times on this album where I wonder if Within Temptation actually did rip off Amorphis or Evanescence on this album.

The reason why I have brought up Evanescence is 1): The female vocalists, and 2): the popish appeal of the music. How Within Temptation went from a pretty interesting gothic metal band in '97 to this symphonic pop/rock now is beyond me. They've got epic sounding music in a vein NEAR Amorphis, but at least Amorphis has the progressive elements to make their music more interesting. All the guitar riffs are really simple and uninteresting. All the lyrics are pretty lame and forgettable.

Another album that won't make it on my 2011 list.
Within Temptation returns again to the scene after being silence for 4 years since their highly acclaimed 'The Heart of Everything' by bringing something new, a conceptual-driven album which is their first attempt and simultaneously released with the comic book under the same title, "The Unforgiving".

As we all know, Within Temptation had started to move away from their symphonic/gothic roots to incorporate more commercial approach and in "The Unforgiving", they pushed this even more, and this album turns out to be an accessible melodic metal record still with the symphonic and gothic trace in their very own style, which might not a good news for earlier fans but definitely the best move in my opinion.

After the enigmatic intro of 'Why Not Me', WT kicks in with the dreamy atmospheric synth to combine the powerful Verse with Sharon's enchanting voice. The chorus is spectacular and the guitar solo part is a blast. I conclude that this is simply the greatest tune of the album after more than 5 spins. "In The Middle of The Night" is a cracking uptempo tune with a flawless arrangement and Sharon's vocal is the center of the show. "Faster" is the first single but funny I don't think it's as great as the previous two.

"Fire And Ice" is a haunting metallic ballad, along with "Lost" and "Stairway To The Skies", both are just great pieces of WT's mellow side. "Iron", "Sinead", and "A Demon's Fate" are another personal favorites and the rest tracks are around good level and slightly inferior than the other. The production is excellent, suits the music very well, and the best thing of this album is that it just keeps getting better after repetitive spins. A superb release and undoubtedly deserved the high rank to be one of the highlights of 2011 !
The Unforgiving is the fifth album from Dutch Symphonic Metal band Within Temptation, and dare I say it’s something of a long-awaited album since the band’s previous effort The Heart of Everything came out back in 2007. That said, I think Within Temptation fans (like myself) are used to large gaps between their albums, as The Unforgiving is actually only the fifth album in a career that started as far back as 1996. Though the lack out regular output may be seen as a disappointment from one point of view, it does at least come with the bonus that every time Within Temptation does drop a new album, it doesn’t sound like the last one made over again, something that is perhaps especially true of The Unforgiving which features some of their biggest changes in sound since the band dropped use the use of death growls from the Mother Earth album onwards. To close off this opening I’m a self-confessed WT fanboy, and this will very likely be the longest review I write in 2011, so I advise grabbing yourself a cup a tea before progressing.

For starters, although The Unforgiving can still be considered as such, it is much less focused on the symphonic metal elements that were very prominent in past albums, particularly the period between Mother Earth and The Heart of Everything (which, admittedly, is most of their albums). They’re still there in the sound but the leading direction here seems to be to make songs with more of a rock or metal edge, featuring some of their heaviest riffs since their early Gothic/Doom work and with the most focus on lead guitar than ever before the overall sound at times doesn’t sound too far off from that found in traditional heavy metal bands, albeit with that distinctive layer of keyboards courtesy of Martijn Spierenburg. Despite this the album has quite a prominent commercial direction, but I don’t think anyone familiar with Within Temptation really expected anything otherwise, and with The Unforgiving Within Temptation prove that when it comes to rock and metal music, and especially with metal music, that commercial need not be a bad word.

The Unforgiving is also the first concept album Within Temptation has made. To represent this, the first track on the album, Why Not Me, is an introduction featuring a voice over. After this track is over however you can expect the band to deliver song after song and the only time a voice-over is featured again is during the song Iron, and fortunately in that track it actually really adds to the mood of the song – in my opinion it’s a rarity for such a thing to be pulled off.

The Unforgiving’s songs can be broken up into small groups. Although they all have that commercial edge there are some that can be considered more mainstream than others. Unsurprisingly I’m referring to the two songs that band used to promote the album prior to its release, those being in order of appearance, Faster and Where is the Edge. Faster is easily the most commercial track on the album, with a very much of a pop-rock feel to it, but it manages to really work in context of the whole album and I don’t know how they did it, but they managed to make some really commercial sounds into something quite atmospheric. Where is the Edge is more symphonic than some of the other tracks on offer, and is probably the album’s weakest moment overall, but I did still enjoy the track to some degree based on initial impressions, but I came to like it more so after several listens, particularly in context of the whole album. Neither of these tracks is a really good introduce to The Unforgiving though, making them poor early promotional choices from a metal standpoint, as neither really hints at what the album really offers as a whole package. Not my favourites in terms of stand-alone tracks but as a part of the bigger picture, both songs work very well. Sinéad also sounds more commercial lyrically, but the music and deliver makes it a very epic piece that it is pretty much in a class of its own, and overall it’s one of the more unique songs that the band have made.

Another category would be for those heavier tracks. The most obvious of these is Iron. There’s been a bit of hype about this one sounding like Iron Maiden and to be fair the intro riff does to a degree sound like something Iron Maiden could have come up with but as a whole the song is far from Within Temptation trying to be copycats, because it very much has their own stamp on it, but it definitely is one of their most metal orientated songs on the album, and features a solo unlike anything they ever played before, fast and brief, it brings the song up into epic proportions. Another such track is an earlier one, In the Middle of the Night. Not so heavy overall as Iron but the riffs are very much there and the track is very powerful on all counts, from the vocal delivery of singer Sharon den Adel to the song’s very structure, it is certainly one of the finest moments on offer with the album. Later track A Demon’s Fate is also pretty heavy, not as heavy as Iron either, which is about as heavy as the album gets, but the song has a very much metal feel to it, parts even push towards Euro flavoured power metal. In general though although it may sometimes feel as if the riffs are given a background role within a song those riffs are more often than not very metal orientated, particularly in tone if not always in the delivery, even on tracks such as Faster.

Then there are also the ballads. The main ballads here are Fire and Ice, a track which sits nicely between Faster and Iron, and the closing track Stairway to the Skies. Previous albums has tracks such as Somewhere (from The Silent Force) and Forgiven (From The Heart of Everything) but these ballads are a very different affair. While Fire and Ice in particular has many similarities to the aforementioned songs the tracks feel more atmospheric than symphonic, which really works in terms of the story the album is telling. Both ballads feature some excellent piano work and Stairway to the Skies is a great haunting closer for the album. Unlike many of their others ballads this one features some heavier sections.

Finally there are songs that just sound so different to anything the band has delivered before. Iron could also fit in this category but the main song I want to mention here is Murder, which features some quite unusual vocals from Sharon den Adel which coupled with some haunting symphony, make for a quite unique track. Lead guitar is also used to great effect. Also there is Shot in the Dark and Lost, which feature powerful vocals, and in the case of Lost use of acoustic guitars aplenty, even for a solo. There is a general epic feel throughout all these songs as well.

The Unforgiving is, overall, very much a change of pace for Within Temptation. Despite some early concerns on my part when all I had to go by were songs such as Where is the Edge and Faster, the end result is actually nothing short of amazing. The album did need more time to grow on me than most albums take before I felt able to write this review, but in contrast to Within Temptation’s previous album The Heart of Everything my initial impressions of it were much higher, but where The Heart of Everything grew on me pretty quick The Unforgiving has taken more time but the wait has been worth it and I now find myself able to play the album right through consecutively without getting the slightest bit bored (I’ve actually just given it three consecutive spins as I finalise this review!). Because of the commercial aspect of the music I’m not exactly confident that the more elite of a metal crowd will enjoy the album but anyone who enjoyed the band’s previous output or is open-minded to music in general is recommended to check out The Unforgiving. I for one cannot find fault in it. It also sounds fresh, like the work of a band rejuvenated – even though as far as I’m concerned they didn’t need it, Within Temptation has never disappointed me in the past with their albums, always consistently producing some of the best albums their genre has to offer and The Unforgiving is no exception, in fact it is easily their best and most exciting work to date.

There is also a special edition of the album that comes with a DVD. Currently I haven’t delved into this part of the package yet so watch this space for an update on the bonus content. As always though, the score given is representative of the standard package.

(Review originally written for Heavy Metal Haven)

Members reviews

Review written by Nathan Scott, freelance journalist.

Originally published at http://bit.ly/eHs4uv

So, I received a pleasant surprise in the mail yesterday – sitting in my letterbox was the upcoming album from Dutch Rock legends Within Temptation. Thus, without further ado…

The new Within Temptation album opens with an eerie 34 second voice clip entitled “Why Not Me?” – coincidentally also used in the short movie bundled with the “Faster” single – which really helps set the mood and focus the mind for the story which follows.

“Shot In The Dark” begins on misleadingly quiet territory, lulling you into calm and gently leading you on. “I’ve been left out alone like a damn criminal” starts Sharon, before quickly leading into a chorus which packs one hell of a punch, bleating out “your soul is on fire, a shot in the dark – where did they aim for when they missed your heart?” which you’ll be singing long after the song is over.

“In The Middle Of The Night” comes up next, beginning with guitars blazing and Sharon’s haunting voice echoing ‘I don’t care if I’m playing with fire, I’m aware that I’m frozen inside’. This is definitely one of the strongest songs on the album, both musically and from a production perspective.

“Faster” is the first nominated single from the album, and offers a good example of the new direction that Within Temptation have gone in for their first concept album. Powerful vocals and a catchy chorus make for an impressive rock anthem, a wise choice!

“Fire And Ice” slows down the pace, and is the first ballad on the album. The highlight of this song definitely lies in the power and capacity of Sharon’s voice – ‘where’s the love we once had, is it all a lie?’ haunts the first verse, before the tempo picks up for the second with strong orchestral elements and a steady bass line.

If “Fire and Ice” slowed down the pace a bit too much for your liking, “Iron” brutally forces it right back up again! A symphonic introduction with heavy, fast paced guitars precedes Sharon belting out ‘you cant live without the fire, it’s the heat that makes you strong’ in yet another catchy chorus.

In what is a good choice for just past the halfway mark, “Where Is The Edge” is a medium paced showcase of talent in a specific Within Temptation style – albeit in a slightly predictable manner.

“Sinead” will be the 2nd single released from the album, and is as far away from “Faster” as it’s possible to get. ‘Now I’m crossing the border, sealing my fate, I’m not afraid’ – definitely an accurate description of what Within Temptation demonstrates with this track. Lyrically mainstream but musically epic, this is the defining song to showcase their breakaway from albums of old.

The slow tempo of ‘Lost’ perhaps contrasts with the rest of the album. Acoustic guitars compliment Sharon’s vocals at the start, with striking range and lyrics which will leave you pondering – right before you’re brutally overwhelmed with the sudden kick of a full blown orchestra directly after the chorus.

“A Demon’s Fate” has the most interesting start of any of the songs on the album, and would sound more in place on a pop-rock record from the 80s. With less orchestra breaks than usual, it could be considered an easygoing song that is guaranteed to appeal to a wide range of musical taste.

As you’d expect from a song with such a title, “Murder” uses dark and theatrical structures in order to transport the listener into a world, which could resemble an Edgar Allan Poe-esque scenario. Certainly unique, this is one song which is hard not to listen to again, simply to see if you missed anything the first time.

The album concludes with a ballad called “Stairway To The Skies”, led by a piano based start accompanied by the combined efforts of a few violinists, joined one last time by the haunting vocal talents of Sharon. Making use of such lines as ‘My Angel is coming down from heaven to take me’, we can only hope that these particular Angels will grace us with their music for many years to come.

9.5/10 – Whilst its certainly a change in pace and direction for a well established band, its nonetheless one of the best albums I’ve had the pleasure of listening to in a long time. Less emphasis on choirs, more emphasis on rock’n'roll, this marks a turning point in the long standing career of Within Temptation – for the good.

- Nathan Scott ([email protected]) - http://metalmarketing.wordpress.com

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