Within Temptation

Gig Review: Within Temptation, Barrowlands, Glasgow, 10th November 2011

As a rock fan, it’s comforting to me that a symphonic metal band from mainland Europe can perform in a venue of this size on the British Isles (and this isn’t the biggest venue of the tour). Clearly not a mainstream genre, the ascent of bands such as Within Temptation is something we should look upon with pride, having never compromised the sound they believe in to an ever-growing fanbase.

Support act Agua De Annique (5) is perhaps more of an acquired taste. Known for being the ex-lead singer of The Gathering, she doesn’t actually introduce herself or her band at any point during her performance. Her brand of rock is straight-forward, melodic and unexciting-yet-endearing, and clearly she has plenty of fans from her Gathering days in the room tonight. Pleasant, but not anything that can match up to the grandiose headliners.

Symphonic metal bands only manage to create successful new albums by finding more elements to add into them. Nightwish have gone with a larger orchestra and an accompanying movie, while Within Temptation (8) have created a sort of comic-book style narrative, almost comparable to Coheed and Cambria’s The Amory Wars. Appropriately, the show opens with a short movie introducing the story before launching into “The Unforgiving” opener “Shot in the Dark.”

It makes sense to give a lot of the new songs space to breathe in the set (the first four tracks are all from “The Unforgiving”) since they herald in a bit of a change for Within Temptation. The symphonic elements are still there, but these new songs rock a lot harder, and some, such as “Sínead”, even have a disco-beat chorus that could be played in rock clubs. “In The Middle of the Night” has to be one of the band’s heaviest songs, while “Iron” has one of their catchiest hooks.

They haven’t abandoned their routes though – “Mother Earth” and “Ice Queen” are still here. The Winston Churchill inspired “Our Solemn Hour” is still fantastic, and “What Have You Done” still provides a massive singalong.

Much has to be said about the stage itself. A massive movie screen combined with a light show is captivating. Nothing is overdone, but every light and movie scene is so tasteful that it adds to your enjoyment of the show. Whether it’s the reserved strobe lighting during heavy moments or the club colours for “Sínead”, it’s a rare event where the visuals actually feel in perfect harmony with the band on stage.

Things seem to be going well for Within Temptation. Their new album has been critically acclaimed, the shows they play keep getting bigger, and, given the theme for their latest album, they still seem inspired. As rock fans, we should be happy that a sub-genre of rock is alive and thriving so well.


About Scott Wilson

Having spent the last twenty years of his life telling his friends his opinion of the latest release by every band he has ever heard of, Scott is an enthusiastic journalist and keen writer. A fan of every genre of music, though his heart firmly belongs to rock, he has been spending far too much money on gigs and not enough on digs. Reachable by either email or Twitter where copious amounts of commentating and general excitement can also be found.

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