Within Temptation - The Unforgiving (Roadrunner)

Return to form? NO. This is the album of their career to date...
Release Date: 
24 Mar 2011 - 11:30pm

Within Temptation. For years the name has been synonymous with classy, if slightly samey, symphonic metal. Indeed WT were one of the first bands to make a name for themselves in this now-saturated subgenre, but as the years have passed the band has gradually slipped down it's pecking order, coming to rest in a place where it has seemingly been happy to accept that others will get more plaudits than they, and just to get on with the job in hand.

That water-treading stops here, for in The Unforgiving, Within Temptation has produced one hell of an album, and in doing so they've thrown down a marker for every other band peddling this Eurovision-meets-top 40-meets-metal schtick (and in particular I'm looking at you, Nightwish) - this is how it's going to be done from now on.

Whereas before the 'Temptations seemed happy to lurk about the fringes of the hit parade, they've aimed straight for it's breezy, pop infested heart with TU, and christ on a bike if they haven't hit the bullseye. With the likes of it's insistent opener Shot in the Dark and the frankly immense Sinead, The Unforgiving is going to be in peoples stereos - and on their radios - for most of the rest of this year. The whole damn album is so likeable - so much so you'll find it impossible to prize out of the CD tray once it's in- you'll find yourself wondering why WT haven't been your favourite band for years. The answer to that, of course, is that they've never made an album as perfect as this before; Were that the case then I'm afraid even your mother would be listening to them, such is the broad appeal of the likes of the achingly beautiful ballad Lost, a song that proves, if proof were needed, just what an absolutely sumptuous vocalist Sharon den Adel is. The rest of the band are no slouches, but our Shazza has always been the star of this particular show - and on ...Unforgiving she proves that fact on every single track. Whatever style the band employs, Sharons all over it, but Lost is an utterly, utterly staggering exposition of that talent.

The Unforgiving is notionally a concept album written around its own purpose-created comic book but - like all the best concept albums - the songs are so good it matters not one whit whether you're keeping up with what's going on in the storyline - so I'll not bother boring you with what's going on there. Suffice to say that, despite the melodic nature of what's on offer here (I can already hear the keyboard thunder of a thousand 'this ain't metal as fuck!' missives being typed in the distance)- and it is very, very poppy in places- every single one of your lives will be enriched by giving this a spin. Go to it. You can thank me later.