My research tells me that Gothic Metal A.D. 2004 hasn’t thrived in the successful fashion it has done in recent years. There have been some good albums from established acts such as BESEECH, ENTWINE, LACRIMAS PROFUNDERE, AFTER FOREVER and one modern masterpiece from FLOWING TEARS. Young students like THE WOUNDED and SCREAM SILENCE have proved their talents this year as well but now that we’re reaching the end of the year, happily looking forward to greater things, just when you everything seemed over and out, the Dutch gothic sextet known as WITHIN TEMPTATION descends into the scene with an astonishing entrée.
“The Silent Force”, their third full-length, all I can say is WOW!!! I honestly don’t care for the countless EVANESCENCE comparisons (even if their true to some extent, which they are by the way, in a non blatant way), nor do I have a problem with the band’s commercial course that has been in the works over the years, I like this album very much, it’s the only challenger worthy of claiming the throne currently occupied by FLOWING TEARS.
I’ll start with the deluxe packaging and, believe it or not, original art concept, which is very alive and breathing, l-o-o-k-i-n-g fabulous oh yeah! The multimedia part is interesting to view, would loved to see a lengthier behind the scene feature cause this is a huge production.
The music then is over the top film score flavoured Gothic Metal bonded with modern electronica, there’s hardly a trace of laziness here, they’ve worked long and hard on this baby. The band’s point of focus are the gothic keyboards, Hollywood movie scores courtesy of professional orchestras and choirs and of course the divine vocal presence of seductively dressed up empress Sharon Den Adel creating the strong foundation of each track included on “The Silent Force”. Robert Westerholt and Ruud Jolie´s riffing is simplistic and supportive to the conquering atmosphere. What the guitars lack in technicality they make up for in fatal impact, there’s more depth to the guitar tone, “See Who I Am”, “Stand My Ground” and “Aquarius” chop out some pretty low tuned power chord riffing, without sounding like an expert on down tuning hehe.
These ingredients make the songs memorable (even the two bonus tracks are great), “Forsaken”, “Angels”, “Aquarius”, “It’s The Fear” or the mega hit single “Stand My Ground” (you have to admit this song is very close to a Daredevil deja-vu), it doesn’t matter, the hooks are multiple in each track, the atmosphere never runs out of ammo, the riffs back up the fountain of catchy melodies and Sharon’s performance nails me down to my knees in eternal worship.
To balance the tense ride, we have “Pale”, “Memories” and “Somewhere” caressing our hearts with New Age influences and modern programming together with the omnipresent choirs and orchestras creating new epic heights in this genre, I have to give in to these particular tracks, spellbinding tracks!
“The Silent Force” will take more time to accept but once the grandeur of this professionally supervised and perfectly produced Film score Goth Metal album has the listener enthralled it should be a rewarding experience for the sceptic (and fan of course). One of this year’s finest albums and a future blueprint for modern Gothic beauty, dear readers, this album is fucking revolutionary!!! (Online January 7, 2005)