Within Temptation are a Dutch
band founded in 1996 by vocalist Sharon den Adel and her boyfriend, guitarist Robert Westerholt. Their music is usually described using two of the following words: symphonic
, and rock
. Their last two albums debuted at #1 on the Dutch charts.
After the release of their first album Gothic Metal
, the band became prominent in the Dutch underground scene. It was not until 2001 that they became known to the general public, with the single "Ice Queen" from the album Mother Earth
, which reached #2 on the Dutch charts. Since then, the band won the Conamus Exportprijs four years in a row. Their next two albums The Silent Force
and The Heart of Everything
debuted at #1 on the Dutch charts. In 2008, they released a live DVD and CD, Black Symphony
, recorded with the Metropole Orchestra. This collection was followed in 2009 with An Acoustic Night at the Theatre
The band's fifth studio album The Unforgiving
, was released in March 2011, alongside both a Comic Book
series and a series of short films that together encompass a story. The first single, "Faster," was released on January 21, and the first short film, "Mother Maiden", was released on January 31. The band has sold more than 3 million copies worldwide.
They are reminiscent of a variety of bands including but in no way limited to, Nightwish
and Lacuna Coil
- Enter (1997)
- Mother Earth (2000)
- The Silent Force (2004)
- The Heart of Everything (2007)
- The Unforgiving (2011)
- Hydra (2014)
- The Dance (1998)
- Running Up That Hill (2003)
- The Howling (2007)
- Sinéad: The Remixes (2013)
- Paradise (What About Us?) (feat. Tarja Turunen) (2013)
- The Q Music Sessions (2013)
- Mother Earth Tour (2002)
- The Silent Force Tour (2005)
- Black Symphony (2008)
- An Acoustic Night at the Theatre (2009)
- Sharon den Adel – Vocals (1996–present)
- Robert Westerholt – Rhythm guitar, grunts (Studio only, 2011–present) (1996–present)
- Jeroen van Veen – Bass guitar (1996–present)
- Ruud Jolie – Lead guitar (2001–present)
- Martijn Spierenburg – Leopards (2001–present)
- Mike Coolen – Drums (2011–present)
Within Temptation's music includes examples of:
- Abuse Tropes; "Frozen" and the short film for "Triplets" has these sort of tropes in spades:
- Adult Fear: Dementia ("Say My Name,") the loss of a child ("Forgiven.")
- "Forgiven" can also be interpreted as losing a loved one to suicide, which is an equally horrible and terrifying concept.
- The mother in the "Frozen" music video witnessing the abuse of her child at the hands of her husband.
- The loss of a loved one whose fate was never known in "Somewhere."
- After the End: This seems to be the theme for "Forsaken."
- The setting of the video for "Paradise."
- Album Title Drop: '"Enter" and "The Heart of Everything". Averted on "Mother Earth."
- Always with You: "Memories."
- Altum Videtur: "Our Solemn Hour."
- Anti-Christmas Song: "Gothic Christmas," an Easter Egg found on the Mother Earth Tour DVD.
- Audience Participation Song: "Stand My Ground," "What Have You Done," "Ice Queen." On the tour supporting The Unforgiving, Sharon also plays repeat-after-me with the audience during parts of "In the Middle of the Night."
- Back to Front: Played with in "Memories" — the video is mostly done going forwards, but the scene where the young Sharon is in a music room (around the second verse) sees a broken chandelier return to the ceiling as well a table reform with a pot plant and candles sitting on top. The chandelier ends up falling back down as Sharon flees the building in the final chorus.
- Bald of Awesome: Robert and Jeroen.
- Big Rock Ending: "Stairway to the Skies," "The Truth Beneath the Rose," and "Tell Me Why."
- Blatant Lies: "Intro" on Mother Earth is the eighth track on the album, with the Title Track occupying the first spot instead.
- Blood Knight: "Iron."
- Break the Cutie: "Blue Eyes."
- Breakup Song: "What Have You Done" is about two lovers who are also mortal enemies.
- Call Back: The song "The Heart of Everything" has the line: "Stay with me now I'm facing my last solemn hour," a reference to another song "Our Solemn Hour."
- The Chosen One: The subject of "Dark Wings." Also a big part of "Hand of Sorrow."
- Concept Album: The Unforgiving.
- Climactic Music: "Murder" and "A Demon's Fate" from The Unforgiving.
- Continuity Nod: The man who solicits a streetside girl in "Utopia" is the priest from "Angels." Fridge Horror ensues.
- Costume Porn: Sharon wears many elaborate dresses in music videos and live concerts.
- The Cover Changes The Gender: From the Q-Music Sessions: The subject in "Don't You Worry Child" becomes male. Subverted in "Dirty Dancer" where the titular person is still female, but the line: "But she’s a ten when she’s on top of me" becomes "But she's a ten when she's on top of him."
- Cover Version: Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill." Sharon has also done a cover of Tori Amos' "Crucify."
- To celebrate their Elements concert, the band took to releasing covers of different songs in different genres weekly in the lead up. They can be found here.
- Crapsack World: The subject of "Deceiver of Fools" lives in one.
- Why does it rain, rain, rain down on "Utopia"?
- Epic Rocking: "Enter," "Candles," "The Promise," "Deceiver of Fools," and "The Truth Beneath the Rose" are all in the seven-minute range.
- Epic Instrumental Opener: The "Stand My Ground" album version takes about 40 seconds to set the scene.
- "Iron," "The Truth Beneath the Rose," and "Tell Me Why" are also this, as are a number of songs from Enter.
- Subverted with Mother Earth's "Intro" — which is more paranoia-inducing than epic.
- Fake-Out Fade-Out: "Deceiver of Fools" — the fade-out occurs two minutes in the song but since the song is seven and a half minutes long, the listener is easily aware that the song will return.
- The Fair Folk: Mother Maiden and her underlings from the short films.
- Fallen Angel: In "Angels."
- Fate Worse Than Death: "It's the Fear."
- Follow Your Heart: "Faster," "Stand My Ground," "Shot in the Dark," "Whole World is Watching".
- Freudian Excuse: A line in "Angels" rejects the idea of the trope, telling the subject of the song that he's responsible for his own choices.
"The world may have failed you, it doesn't give you reason why. / You could have chosen a different path in life."
- Friend to All Living Things: "In Perfect Harmony" is a textbook example, aside from the subject being male.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Averted twice and played straight once in "Sinéad." Also employed in "Frozen" to protect the viewer from seeing the abuse the man is inflicting on his wife and daughter.
- Harsh Vocals: Robert when he sings in the songs from Enter, The Heart of Everything and Hydra.
- Sharon's singing in "The Heart of Everything," "Final Destination," "In the Middle of the Night," and "Murder" may fall into this category as well.
- Surprisingly averted in "Dangerous," which features Howard Jones. When you find out that the guest singer is the ex-frontman of Killswitch Engage, you expect to hear some guttural vocals.
- Heavy Meta; "Gothic Christmas," which parodies many of the tropes used in Gothic Metal:
Santa's going to wear a black dress
Just for me and you
Santa's going to grunt in Latin
And slay a dragon or two.
- Heel Realisation: "The Truth Beneath the Rose" is from the point of view of a Knight Templar who's realised how wrong their actions were, and wishes to become The Atoner.
- Hide Your Pregnancy: The video for "Sinéad," where Sharon wears a heavy coat and is only shown from the chest up.
- Hologram: Used in the "Ice Queen" and "Memories" videos.
- Hope Spot: Discussed and subverted in "Deceiver of Fools" — the subject recognises that in their heart there's an ever-present light at the end of the tunnel, but knows it won't actually lead anywhere because of the extent of the darkness.
- As well as "Lost," particularly the bridge, where Sharon notes that "hope plays a wicked game with the mind" and ends with "She won't come around" referring to whoever it is the protagonist was trying to save. And since the next song on the list is "Murder," whoever was responsible for this is in for one hell of a reckoning.
- Iconic Outfit: "My name is Sharon den Adel. I fought the Daleks, and I am human" —A Tumblr user describing Sharon's golden dress during the Elements Concert (Link◊).
- I Will Find You: "Somewhere" and "Pale." And from The Unforgiving: "Stairway to the Skies" and to some extent, "Lost."
- Ice Queen: Used a metaphor for winter in "Ice Queen."
- In Da Club: "Sinéad" starts out like this. But is immediately subverted once we see the titular character walk in with two guns and shoot two middle-aged men in the chest while another man tries to flee the scene.
- Instrumentals: "Blooded."
- Intertwined Fingers: Between Tarja and Sharon in "Paradise."
- Karmic Death: The priest in the Angels video. He gets torn apart by the souls of his victims from beyond the grave.
- The victims of Sinéad and Mother Maiden's servants in The Unforgiving may count as this.
- Knight in Sour Armor: The narrator of "Paradise," who argues that even if the world is flawed, it's still worth fighting for.
No, we're not in paradise
This is who we are
This is what we've got
No, it's not a paradise
But it's all we want
And it's all that we're fighting for
Thought it's not paradise.
- Lighter and Softer: Their second album Mother Earth is considerably softer than Enter. Subsequent releases have been progressively Darker and Edgier however.
- Loved I Not Honor More: "Hand of Sorrow" is about the fact that the titular Hand's duty prevents him from being with his True Love.
- Melismatic Vocals: Common in the first two albums (such as "Restless" and "Mother Earth,") rarer afterwards.
- Mohs Scale of Lyrical Hardness: Normally about a 6-7. "In Perfect Harmony" is a textbook level 1 while songs such as "The Howling," "Murder," and "Our Solemn Hour" move into 7-8.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Usually 6 but ranges from 1 ("In Perfect Harmony," "Bittersweet," and "Forgiven,") to 7 ("The Dance," "In the Middle of the Night," and "Silver Moonlight") and 8 in the heavier songs on Enter.
- Mood Whiplash: The existentialist "World of Cardboard" Speech "Why Not Me?" is followed on The Unforgiving by "Shot in the Dark," where the singer discusses her betrayal, loss of faith and desire for it to all be over.
- Murder Ballad: "Jane Doe," "The Promise," and "Murder."
- Murder Makes You Crazy: Implied in "Jane Doe."
No matter how many stones you put inside
She'll always keeps on floating in your mind
With every turn of your head you see her face again
until the end
over and over again...
- My God, What Have I Done?: "What Have You Done?" (Featuring Keith Caputo.)
- Naked People Are Funny: Ruud in the video for "Jillian."
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly
- New Sound Album: Almost every album, actually, due to the long intervals between each, but Mother Earth was particularly different from its predecessor, Enter. The band moved away from a mostly-Gothic Metal sound towards Symphonic Metal, Robert stopped using Harsh Vocals and the average song length was shortened quite a bit.
- The Unforgiving as well, with its '80s influences.
- Of Corsets Sexy: Sharon's stage outfits, which she designs herself (She studied fashion before becoming a professional singer.)
- One Woman Song:
- "Jillian (I'd Give My Heart)" is a Shout-Out to the Deverry Cycle novel series, of which one of the characters is a character known as Jill, who is the reincarnated Love Interest of the male protagonist in the series.
- Subverted, however, with "Sinéad." The character in question is one of the people revived by Mother Maiden to be part of her fight against evil.
- One-Woman Wail: Sharon does this. A lot.
- Out-of-Genre Experience: Sharon lent her voice to Armin Van Buuren's "In and Out of Love." Notable for being the most liked video on Dutch YouTube and one of the most viewed videos on YouTube worldwide with over 120 million views (Link).
- The Owl-Knowing One: Sharon, as the Mother Nature character in the video for "Mother Earth," can transform into a Barn Owl at will.
- Pimped-Out Dress: There is an entire fansite devoted to Sharon's dresses.
- Power Ballad: "Lost," "Memories," and many more.
- Precision F-Strike: Their cover of "Little Lion Man" by Mumford And Sons leaves the word intact, a "Fuck you" can also be heard in the "Mother Maiden" video and Xzibit's rap in "And We Run" includes "...I crush every motherfucking thing I touch."
- Rapunzel Hair: Sharon and former guitarist Michiel Papenhove seemed to compete with each other for the longest hair during promotion of The Dance.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: "The Promise," "Murder," and "Tell Me Why." "Angels" also features one, implied to be from beyond the grave.
- Rock Opera: The Unforgiving.
- Rousing Speech: The entirety of "See Who I Am" is one of these. So are "Stand My Ground," "Faster," "The Whole World is Watching," and "Iron."
- Say My Name: "Say My Name" involves the singer trying to reach out to a relative with dementia or Alzheimers to remember their existence.
- Scary Scorpions: Appears in the video for "The Howling" (in the apocalyptic environment setting.) Its appearance is downplayed though, as it only appears in the beginning of the video where it rests on a horrified Sharon's hand.
- Scatting: The Silent Force's "Intro" as well as "The Cross" are two good example.
- Serial-Killer Killer: Sinéad and all of Mother Maiden's servants in The Unforgiving, emphasized in the song "Murder."
- Shout-Out: A number of the songs contain recognisable elements from fantasy works (provided you're a fan of course, otherwise it's going to be lost on you.) Much less subtly, "Final Destination" was indeed inspired by and is about the film series of the same name.
- "A Demon's Fate" from The Unforgiving uses the same pattern of 5 descending notes as the famous opening of the theme for The Phantom of the Opera.
- "Hand of Sorrow" from The Heart of Everything was inspired by Robin Hobb's Farseer trilogy, though the lyrics are just vague enough that it could be applied to any number of stories as well.
- The music video for "All I Need" could just as well be called "Ode to The Cell"
- Single Stanza Song: "Toward The End."
- Soprano and Gravel: Used in Enter (save for "Restless" (Sharon only,) "Deep Within" (Robert only,) and "Blooded" (neither,)) before being abandoned for Mother Earth with the exception of:
- "Jane Doe," a bonus track on some editions of The Silent Force.
- The Heart of Everything has "What Have You Done" (with Keith Caputo,) "Our Solemn Hour" and the title track itself.
- Hydra has "Silver Moonlight" and "Tell Me Why" (Robert,) "Dangerous" (Howard Jones,) "And We Run" (Xzibit,) and "Whole World is Watching" (Dave Pirner / Piotr Rogucki.)
- Spiky Hair / Dye Hard: Martijn had a mohawk during the Mother Earth and The Silent Force eras. He then ditched the mohawk but went blonde for The Heart of Everything which faded back to a sandy brown colour a year later, which remains that way to this day.
- Spoken Word in Music: "Our Solemn Hour" includes samples from Winston Churchill's "Be Ye Men of Valour" speech.
- From "The Promise:" "Where are you now... you're almost in heaven."
- In "Iron," part of Mother Maiden's You Have No Chance to Survive speech.
- In "Say My Name," "Do I know you?" is quite hauntingly said.
- "Covered by Roses" has a young girl quoting an excerpt from John Keats' "Ode on Melancholy."
- "Why Not Me," as the intro to The Unforgiving.
- Start My Own: Played with. Robert's brother Martijn Westerholt was the band's keyboard player for a while early on, but he had to drop out due to illness. A few years later, Martijn Westerholt formed a Symphonic Metal band called Delain with vocalist Charlotte Wessels. The two bands are on good terms, and Delain has opened for Within Temptation on several occasions.
- Surprisingly Good English
- Symphonic Metal: Enter was mostly Gothic Metal with traces of this, Doom Metal and Death Metal; later albums are mostly this genre. The song "Gothic Christmas" was a joke aimed at those fans who continue to call them a Gothic Metal band.
- Talky Bookends: With the exception of "Fire and Ice," all the singles from The Unforgiving feature one at the beginning.
- Three Minutes of Writhing: Played with — Sharon prefers elaborate gowns to skimpy outfits, but much of what she does in the music videos can still be described as writhing.
- Title Track: The Silent Force, The Unforgiving, and Hydra do not feature one of these.
- Truck Driver's Gear Change: "Somewhere," "Say My Name," "Pearls of Light," and "Iron."
- Uncommon Time: Most of "Restless" is in Common Time, but the first three sections of the song as well as the ending alternate between 4/4 and 9/8.
- Unplugged Version: Most of the songs on An Acoustic Night at the Theatre.
- Vocal Evolution: Subverted. Sharon can still easily hit the high notes of their earlier songs, but the deeper vocals found in their two most recent albums was because she thinks they fit the album better.
- Vocal Tag Team: See the above Soprano and Gravel entry.
- War Is Hell: "The Howling," "Our Solemn Hour," "The Truth Beneath the Rose."
- A Wild Rapper Appears: Xzibit in "And We Run."
- Woman in White: A lot of Sharon.
- A World Half Full: The video for "Paradise" is set After the End, and the two protagonists spend most of the movie struggling to get some parts and nuclear fuel up a hill in a blasted desert. And then they get the cloud seeder set up with the spare parts and the fuel placed, bring the rain to the wasteland, and are last seen standing, hands together, in a verdant forest.
No, it's not our paradise. But it's all that we want, and all that we're fighting for.
- "World of Cardboard" Speech: "Stand My Ground."