Cultivating great musical taste

Paradise (What About Us?) – New EP from Within Temptation

My love for this Dutch band has been so strong ever since I discovered them in school, and it has not wavered over the years. As with most bands, their sound has inevitably changed but still stayed with what makes Within Temptation a fantastic band. But this new EP, Paradise (What About Us?) sees a return to their original sound, all the while keeping some of the things they’ve picked up since the pre-Silent Force era.

For anyone who has yet to be introduced to Within Temptation, they’re a melodic, gothic band that can be hard to pigeonhole. Some say they belong to the metal family tree, others believe they’re more gothic rock. Personally I like to refer to them as ‘fantasy’ metal, simply because of the worlds and stories created in their songs.

Anyway, on the Friday just gone they unveiled their new single from their upcoming album (to be released next year) entitled Paradise (What About Us?) featuring the operatic force that is the former lead vocalist of Nightwish (a Finnish band easier to identify as metal), Tarja Turunen. And today they released the EP of the same name.

While the title track might be a bit tamer than I expected (with the vocal ranges and excellence of Sharon den Adel and Turunen it was easy to expect a battle of vocals that would lay waste to any other Within Temptation or Tarja song that has come before) it does grow on you. Fortunately the rest of the EP doesn’t require more time and second chances. It’s a four-track piece of nostalgia that merges the old Within Temptation with the new and is the perfect appitiser for the new album. It makes me even more excited for the already delayed gig next year (please don’t delay it again otherwise I think I might explode from a toxic mixture of excitement and impatience).

Paradise (What About Us?) is the perfect opener to this EP, it eases you in with its subtle charm and sends you off on your way into the musical wonderland of Within Temptation goodness. One of the best things about the EP is the fact that three of the four tracks are demos, so there’s this really great raw quality to them. Den Adel’s voice is perhaps even more amazing than usual when there are still  rough edges around the tracks, and this is particularly noticeable in the second track Let Us Burn. It’s already a pretty catchy track, but that rawness adds something extra. As usual the band have merged together her wonderful vocals with their mastery over the instruments, cementing the fact that they’re one of the best female fronted ‘metal’ bands around today (after all Amy Lee and her band of rubbish is just a cheap knockoff).

Next on the list is Silver Moonlight. It starts rather gently, with den Adel singing softly, and barely an instrument to be heard, until the guitars pick up the pace and den Adel injects a harsher edge to her voice. It’s a fast paced track and is one of those that reaches back to a past sound. It reminds me a little of Aquarius from the Silent Force Album. But the male vocals remind me of Enter and The Dance EP. I love it when den Adel pitches her vocals against the gruffness of the male vocals, it brings a real beauty and the beast quality to the track.

Then lastly is Dog Days (not a cover of the Florence and the Machine song). Can I just say I love this track. The way she sings in the chorus reminds me of their cover version of Running up that Hill. There’s a sinister feeling to the track and it fits in so well with all their other work. I also particularly love the control she has over her voice, how she can convey anything through it. And again, I must commend the entire band because of the relentless support of the instruments. Den Adel may have a great voice, but the band would just not be the same without the amazingly talented guys providing the rest of the music. All of them together create a great atmosphere on all of their tracks, it’s an atmosphere that makes their music a true joy to listen to.

I cannot wait for more of their new stuff and it’s going to be a long wait until their gig in London. But meanwhile, I hope you enjoy the EP!

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