The debut album of WITHIN TEMPTATION, released in 1997 and containing all the songs of their two demo recordings, is nothing like “Mother Earth”. Although it’s almost as brilliant, this album is far more metal in comparison to their well-known second offering. First off all: the riffing is more heavy, but the most striking difference between “Enter” and “Mother Earth” is the use of male death growls (performed by George Oosthoek from ORPHANAGE).
So, grunting and angelic female vocals? Is this another mediocre beauty-and-the-beast Gothic Metal record? Definitely not, because the band’s strong song-writing lifts the album far above the average Gothic Metal offering. And off-course there is also Sharon den Adel’s stunning voice, which alone would make for a more than pleasant listen.
Although the “heavy” and faster tracks like (for example) “Deep Within” and the instrumental track “Blooded” are quality tracks that absolutely rock, the band reaches its peaks on the calmer tracks. Take for example the brilliant opening track Restless, which starts out with Sharon singing over a piano (with the band kicking in after the two-minute mark) or the beautiful closing-track “Candles”.
Highlight of the album is in my opinion the doomy second track, Enter, which starts out with a cool sample “welcoming us in someone’s home”. And welcome us they do, with Sharon enchanting us with her voice.
In conclusion: this album may not be as good as “Mother Earth”, but the ability to create great composition is already apparent on this release, making it a must-have for all fans of female-fronted Metal, fans of WITHIN TEMPTATION (like me) and music lovers in general. (Online August 18, 2004)
Guest reviewer Roel de Vrind