Within Temptation are a Dutch band founded in 1996 by vocalist Sharon den Adel and her partner, guitarist Robert Westerholt. Their music is usually described using two of the following words: symphonic, gothic, and metal. Their last two albums debuted at #1 on the Dutch charts.
After the release of their first album Gothic Metal album Enter, 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. Around the same time, Robert stopped touring full time to look after his and Sharon's children. Their new guitarist Stefan Helleblad also contributed to their next album "Hydra" in 2014.
In 2017, Sharon den Adel announced a side project called My Indigo, which was born while suffering from Writer's Block writing new material for Within Temptation. The debut album was released on April 20, 2018.
They are reminiscent of a variety of bands including but in no way limited to, Nightwish, Epica, Evanescence, Kamelot and Lacuna Coil. See also Delain, formed by Robert Westerholt's brother Martijn after he left the band due to health problems.
- Enter (1997)
- Mother Earth (2000)
- The Silent Force (2004)
- The Heart of Everything (2007)
- The Unforgiving (2011)
- Hydra (2014)
- Resist (2019)
- The Dance (1998)
- Running Up That Hill (2003)
- The Howling (2007)
- Sinead: 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 (1996present)
- Robert Westerholt - Rhythm guitar, grunts (Studio only, 2011present) (1996present)
- Jeroen van Veen - Bass guitar (1996present)
- Ruud Jolie - Lead guitar (2001present)
- Martijn Spierenburg - Keyboards (2001present)
- Mike Coolen - Drums (2011present)
- Stefan Helleblad - Guitar (2011-present)
- Abusive Parents:
- "Frozen:" The father abuses both his wife and daughter in the "Frozen" video.
- "Triplets:" The father apparently molests his son, as evidenced by his hopping into the same bed.
- All Abusers Are Male: Both videos for "Frozen" and "Triplets."
- And That's Terrible: "Shot In The Dark" has these lines:'Cause I've lost all my faith in this damn bitter strife
And its sad
Its so damn sad
- Adult Fear:
- "Say My Name" is about a loved one who has dementia.
- "Forgiven" and "Our Farewell" are about the loss of a child. "Forgiven" can also be interpreted as losing a loved one to suicide, which is an equally horrible and terrifying concept, and "Our Farewell" can be interpreted about trying to stop someone from killing themselves.
- 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."
- The serial killer of "Angels" is bad enough in his priest outfit. Then a flashback reveals his other disguises, including a clown, which is not a costume an adult would find trustworthy...
- After the End:
- This seems to be the theme for "Forsaken."
- The setting of the video for "Paradise (What About Us?)" is a post-nuclear wasteland.
- Album Title Drop: '"Enter" and "The Heart of Everything". Averted on "Mother Earth."
- Always with You: "Memories."
- Anti-Christmas Song: "Gothic Christmas," an Easter Egg found on the Mother Earth Tour DVD.
- A Wild Rapper Appears!: It's a very unusual mix. Symphonic metal and rap sound like an awful combo but "And We Run" makes it work.
- 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 (though intro is the introduction of "Dark Wings").
- Blood Knight: "Iron."Oh damn, the war is coming
Oh damn, you feel you want it
Oh damn, just bring it on today
You can't live without the fire
It's the heat that makes you strong
- Break the Cutie: "Blue Eyes."
- Break-Up 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. Given she is also a fashion designer, she shows her work.
- 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 shes a ten when shes on top of me" becomes "But she's a ten when she's on top of him."
- Cover Version:
- Crapsack World:
- The subject of "Deceiver of Fools" lives in one.
- "Utopia" is about one of these.Why does it rain, rain, rain down on "Utopia"?
- Cyborg: "Raise Your Banner" features a group of these led by a young human woman against an army.
- Determinator: "Overcome" and "Stand My Ground".
- Determined Defeatist:
- "Stand My Ground" is about facing something that the narrator knows she can hardly overcome or survive.
- "Shot In The Dark":And I'm wondering why I still fight in this life
'Cause I've lost all my faith in this damn bitter strife
- "Endless War" is about someone who's haunted by their Dark and Troubled Past, breaks further and further, and keeps on fighting a Hopeless War.
- Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: In the music video for "Frozen" the wife poisons her husband's drink after he ends up abusing his daughter. This ends up averted — she ends up on death row for her actions and it is strongly hinted the daughter goes to an orphanage.
- Emotionless Girl: "Frozen."I can't feel my senses
I just feel the cold
All colors seem to fade away
I can't reach my soul
- Epic Rocking: "Enter," "Candles," "The Promise," "Deceiver of Fools," and "The Truth Beneath the Rose" are all in the seven minute range. Most of their songs are four to five minutes long, making these selections stand out more.
- Epic Instrumental Opener:
- The album versions of "Stand My Ground" and "Raise Your Banner" 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."
- Female Angel, Male Demon: The video for "Angels" has Sharon the angel versus a demonic priest. Averted towards the end of the video, where the other, male, band members are revealed to be angels as well, wings and all.
- Five-Man Band:
- Follow Your Heart: "Faster," "Stand My Ground," "Shot in the Dark," and "Whole World is Watching."
- Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: "Angels" sums up this trope nicely, 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 "Sinead." 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.
- 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." Resist has "Trophy Hunter".
- Ice Queen: Used a metaphor for winter in "Ice Queen."
- In Da Club: The video for "Sinead" 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."
- Interspecies Romance: Depending on one's interpretation of "Aquarius."
- 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 Sinead 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
Though 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.
- Male Band, Female Singer
- 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: Most of their songs come in at a solid 6. But the total library of their music has songs that range from 1 ("In Perfect Harmony," "Bittersweet," and "Forgiven,") to 7 ("The Dance," "In the Middle of the Night," and "Silver Moonlight"), sometimes getting as high as 8 during 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."
- Nature Metal:
- "Ice Queen" anthropomorphizes winter. It's about how dangerous yet majestic snow is.
- "Mother Earth" is about how beautiful and unpredictable nature and the weather can be.
- "Aquarius" is about someone who loves the ocean, despite knowing of its dangers.
- "In Perfect Harmony" mixes this with Heavy Mithril. It's about a boy who was born and raised alone in a forest.
- "Forsaken" has a Green Aesop about global warming.
- "Never Ending Story" has a great focus on the start and eventual end of nature.
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Gothic, rock, symphonic, and metal. Some combination of those four words fit the band's musical style. Which combination fits best is a matter of personal opinion.
- 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.
- And then came Resist, which almost drops the metal sound entirely in favor of a more contemporary techno pop inspired one.
- Non-Appearing Title: "Iron."
- Ode to Family: "Say My Name" is about someone whose relative has Alzheimer's.
- 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 "Sinead." 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. So does Tarja in "Paradise" and Genderflipped in "Firelight" with Jasper.
- 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.
- "Triplets:" A subversion, the son kills his father as revenge for the abuse, but it was with a grenade in his bed so he dies from the explosion as well.
- Pimped-Out Dress: There is an entire fansite devoted to Sharon's dresses.
- And a Facebook group.
- Power Ballad: "Lost," "Memories," and many more.
- Precision F-Strike: Their cover of "Little Lion Man" by Mumford & 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.
- Revenge Ballad: The Unforgiving has a few examples, most notably "In the Middle of the Night" and "Murder".
- 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," "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 Alzheimer's 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.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: "Our Solemn Hour" is about one of these escaping somewhere down the line, with our generation to blame when it does. According to the voice in the background, the sealed evil is actually war.
- Serial-Killer Killer: Sinead and all of Mother Maiden's servants in The Unforgiving, emphasized in the song "Murder."
- 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."
- Sinister Minister: Possibly the serial killer of "Angels", though considering his other costumes, that may have been a case of Bad Habits.
- 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). In a downplayed example, "Paradise (What About Us?)" pairs Sharon's raspier voice with renowned lyric soprano Tarja Turunen.
- Resist has "The Reckoning" (Jacoby Shaddix), "Raise Your Banner" (Anders Fridén) and "Firelight" (Jasper Steverlinck, though his vocals are much softer than the other examples).
- 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 formed a Symphonic Metal band called Delain with vocalist Charlotte Wessels. The two bands are on good terms: Delain has opened for Within Temptation on several occasions, and Sharon made a guest appearance on their debut album Lucidity.
- 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: Enter, Mother Earth, The Heart of Everything.
- Truck Driver's Gear Change: "Somewhere," "Say My Name," "Pearls of Light," and "Iron."
- Subverted with "Pale."
- 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 more 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," "Raise Your Banner," "Endless War."
- Wham Shot: "Raise Your Banner" appears to be about a conflict between protestors (with the band amongst them) and the army set in the future interspersed with scenes with robots being put together. It's not until the first bomb is tossed by the soldiers causing an explosion which removes Sharon's robotic legs when it's revealed the protestors are cyborgs. Well, except for their leader, who was the one that built them.
- 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-Healing Wave: The music video of "Paradise" again, once the protagonists get the cloud seeder running.
- "World of Cardboard" Speech:
- "Stand My Ground."
- "Why Not Me?"
- Would Hurt a Child: Both "Triplets" videos.