• 8/10
    Within Temptation - Black Symphony - 8/10


Roadrunner Records
Release date: September 23, 2008

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

7th of February 2008; the venue at Ahoy in Rotterdam, Netherlands is sold out and the crowd is waiting. What are they waiting for? The forward storming Dutch Symphonic Metal band Within Temptation who performs with the Metropole Orchestra. And if that was not enough; the gig is recorded for both CD and DVD release.

Through a 2 hour long show the band gives everything they’ve got and put the crowd under a spell. What was the aftermath of this spectacular show? The audience was pleased indeed but what about the media? Many artists consider the press their enemy, and in many ways the media can affect someone’s career negatively. However, everything worked in the favour of Within Temptation. The critics went nuts, giving them top show scores all over. Even the legendary Metal Magazine Kerrang said “this really is the greatest show on Earth”.

Metal Express Radio is also among those that did enjoy this album. It features musical pearls from their entire career and it’s easy to hear that Within Temptation are in for something huge, even after such great success like their last two albums The Silent Force and The Heart Of Everything.

The show opens quite epical with an orchestral overture which lasts for about eight minutes. It starts out very peaceful with a choral harmony which puts the right mood to the listener. When the orchestra enters it is quite tender and mysterious before it builds up to a fantastic climax. Then it is taken down a couple of levels again before it builds up again in a Lord Of The Rings-like style. Then the choir enters again along with the orchestra in the very climax of the overture. Towards the end they take it a bit down again ending it with a male choir and various drums and percussion. It is indeed a nice piece of music but was “Overture” the right word to chose? In most cases an overture quotes the musical themes from songs that will follow. It is meant to give the audience a little taste of what will come. In this case the overture does not quote anything of the music that follows. However, the overture succeeds in putting you in the mood for majestic, hard and yet tender Symphonic Metal. “Jillian (I’d Give My Heart)” is the first number to feature the band. It’s a real joy hearing the grandiose choir along with the band and orchestra. The audience applauds when Sharon Den Adel starts singing. Maybe it is in this moment she enters the stage? Check out the DVD to be sure.

Writing about every song would take too much time so let’s just concentrate on the very best moments from this record. Among the old songs are also a lot of new ones from the latest release The Heart Of Everything. “The Howling” which opens the mentioned album is the third song on this record. It sounds just as good as it did on the record. Not much to say actually, it has to be heard. This is also the song where the orchestra is presented. Following is a devoted sing-along; “Stand My Ground”. This was one of the leading singles from their 2004 release entitled The Silent Force.

As the opener of CD 2 “Our Solemn Hour” wakes you up again after the ballad-overdose which appears at the end of disc 1. It’s a grandiose song featuring massive choir-lines and dramatic melodies. The following song “The Other Heart Of Me” starts literally with an explosion. A great amount of pyrotechnics kicks starts the song which also features the outstanding growl vocals from George Oosthoek. However, he makes you look like a question mark halfway out in the song when he tries to get the audience yelling along with him. It sounds completely idiotic and he never stops. “Frozen” is yet another song from their 2007 release The Heart Of Everything. It slows up a bit from the two previous more heavy songs. This one is a melodic masterpiece and features a melody that might as well stick to your mind for a while.

Black Symphony is absolutely among the greatest live albums of 2008. It has a natural sound to it that many live recordings don’t have. You can hear the audience in a way that doesn’t get too loud during the songs. As well as sounding natural, it’s very polished in a way that you could mistake it for being a studio recording if the audience were not added. However, there are certain things that work negatively as well. They speak Dutch all the way through. At the end they speak both Dutch and English which is quite confusing. Being an international band they should have stuck to English so it would be possible for those other than Dutch fans to understand what’s going on. What is boring about Within Temptation’s music is that they seem to have found their tempo and they keep it on almost every song. Not slow and not fast but somewhere in between. Many chord progressions seem to come back over and over again. But it works for the fans and after all they write some terrific songs!

All in all Black Symphony is a strong choice of purchasing for everyone that finds the likes of Symphonic/Melodic Metal interesting. Check it out!

CD 1
1. Overture

2. Jillian (I’d Give My Heart)

3. The Howling

4. Stand My Ground

5. The Cross

6. What Have You Done (featuring Keith Caputo)

7. Hand Of Sorrow

8. The Heart Of Everything

9. Forgiven

10. Somewhere (featuring Anneke Van Giersbergen)

11. The Swan Song

12. Memories

CD 2
1. Our Solemn Hour

2. The Other Half (Of Me) (featuring George Oosthoek)

3. Frozen

4. The Promise

5. Angels

6. Mother Earth

7. The Truth Beneath The Rose

8. Deceiver Of Fools

9. All I Need

10. Ice Queen


Sharon Den Adel – Vocals
Robert Westerholt – Electric Guitars
Martijn Spierenburg – Keyboards

Ruud Jolie – Electric & Acoustic Guitars

Stephen Van Halestregt – Drums
Jeroen Van Heel – Bass guitar


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