Review | Within Temptation – Bleed Out
Often considered the pinnacle of modern symphonic metal, Within Temptation is one of a handful of bands that managed to gradually build their tier position by experimenting with variant musical styles and structures. Ever since `Mother Earth’ the band expanded horizons finding a high on the `Hydra’ and `Resist’. Their new offering `Bleed Out’ sees the same experimental form, yet it also has the band building back to their classic legacy, while equally widening the lyrical dimensions.
“Sunflowers will soon be growing over your grave”, Sharon calls out on ,,Cyanide Love” referring to the video of the Ukrainian woman that offered sunflowers to a Russian soldier, for him to take to the grave after his dying. It is the statement which emphasizes the lyrical content of the album predominantly.
HEAVY METAL RIFFING
,,Bleed Out” is the title track marking the band’s tremendous exploration, mining from various genres. It is chockful of heavy metal riffing, with high-tech laurels and keyboards often crafted to the stance of the riffs. Pasting the gaps solid between the insane dynamics of drum and bass, the keyboards sometimes dominate the environment, but never become the focal point, as that spotlight is handled by the gifted Sharon den Adel who maintains the apex in the genre. Just check out ,,Unbroken” to hear her delve deep and hit the highest constantly. It is colorful and musically perfectly executed, matching their front woman’s insane skills.
Sharon is powerful as she is enchanting, while displaying serious provoking content in the lyrics, making `Bleed Out’ a standout album in the discography of Within Temptation. Touching the subject of Mahsa Amini’s tragic death and following protests about women’s rights in Iran, it is on social critical and voicing the band’s standings and growing strength commenting on social issues and facts.
THE CURRENT STATE OF THE WORLD
Addressing the current state of the world, human rights, the Ukraine war and its government propaganda on the urging electronic metal track ,,Wireless”, while ,,Ritual” is about women having the seductive power to take initiative in a male-dominated world. The latter with Den Adel shining bright with modern vocal execution, rooted in the Kate Bush registers, she meanders in high-tech optima forma, touching pop and modern rock atop of the droning riff and drum interaction. Even heavier is the low brawling ,,Cyanide Love”, with its piercing vocals and ominous low end of keys and guitars crawling onwards. It scatters a gothic doom dread. The dynamic prog drums add a 3rd dimension levitating towards 4th. Once the chorus hits, the song is smacked out of the ball park.
This melodic deep journey takes shape from the tolling bells in intro of the staccato djent-driven ,,We Go to War”, and pays forward with insane dynamics and brisk heaviness rarely displayed in the genre. Blasting double bass make for great metal, does it? Power is in the silent sections and lighter verses, like on the ultra-tech-laden ,,The Purge”, with its wall of guitars and keys. Ruud Jolie and Stefan Helleblad’s daunting guitar sound atop, the song rolls into a classic old school WT track; ,,Don’t Pray for Me”.
The song is a return to form with modern sound effects and fragments to color the scope. Its symphonic discharge is as classic as `Enter’, with Sharon gripping deep into her widest range at hand. Frail at times, belting out towering pitches over the intense symphonic-laden structures. It is dense and powerful.
CLASSIC SYMPHONIC ELEMENTS
The massive ,,Shed My Skin” is fusing the classic symphonic elements with modern high-tech soundscapes that are constructed onto Mike Coolen’s great dynamic groove supplemented by Jeroen van Veen’s rolling bass lines. The dynamics get all pumped up towards the end, with cataclysmic pretentions unleashed and the music touching with symphonic black metal as grunts take the front. Building on this classic symphonic metal bliss, not dismissing the modernity, ,,Worth Dying For” leans on an offset of rhythm changes and progressive prowess, with Sharon belting out her most dominant melodic vocals to date.
Opened with narrative call out, ,,Entertain You” displays the multitude of characters Within Temptation brings to the front. Sudden breaking root to switch to pop, the song reveals the band’s qualities composing vivid symphonic metal song like multiverses on their own. Throbbing parts with modern bass slaps and droning kays atop, the synths take position with the guitars shooting into gear with djent-reminiscent riffs depleting a heavy-as-hell groove. Den Adel constantly morphing vocals, adds to the insane diversity of the song.
WITHIN TEMPTATION – THE CONCLUSION
Within Temptation doesn’t shy away from new directions and creates memorable moments by the dozens on every release, with this current album as the new benchmark for bands in the genre. Their trendsetting abilities maintained, the band around Den Adel and her husband (studio musician and composer) Robert Westerholt puts another musical mark on history with `Bleed Out’. This time, the lyrical content screams anger, perfectly adding to the wonderous musical arrangements that are full of anger and agony, voicing reason.
Release date: 20 October 2023
Within Temptation is a Dutch symphonic metal band founded in April 1996 by vocalist Sharon den Adel and guitarist Robert Westerholt.
Symphonic, rock, metal, modern metal