Steffen Jungersen

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Within Temptation's symhonic metal/ rock gets tiring when you have to sit through ten songs cut from the same cloth

WITHIN TEMPTATION "Hydra" (BMG)

Dansk version

Within Temptation's grandiose, dramatic symphonic metal initially really is quite impressive. With a grandiosity and a sonic landscape of such magnitude that I'm pretty sure Wagner is rotating in his grave with envy – not least because electric instruments and technologically enhanced echo wasn't invented in his lifetime.

Yes, it is all very impressive. At least for the first four numbers.

After that WT's formulaic flights get if not right down irritating then at least rather tiring and testing on the ol' patience.

Talking about the bands arrangements "formulaic" really is the operative word. And the formula goes something like this: You open with the token atmospheric intro – played either on keyboards or done via percussion/ vocals. After that you add the whole band and set them off in full flight in the first verse before the mandatory bombastic bannerwaving chorus sets in and fulfills the formula.

Yeah, it sounds magnificent and the formula as such is actually all right if used with a certain restraint. Unfortunately WT's knowledge of restraint is on par with Manowars knowledge of decibel restrictions.

Too much
And following the same formula all the way means that ten songs are too many and that the music starts crying out for variation and dynamics.

Okay, it doesn't exactly help things that Within Temptation open the album with four brillant songs suggesting that creativity simply ran out after those.

Having said that the four songs in question are quite magnificent. "Let Us Burn", "Dangerous" (featuring former Killswitch Engage singer Howard Jones), "And We Run" (featuring rapper Xzibit) and "Paradise (What About Us)" excel in catchy melodies and great harmonies to an extent where you can't help for longing for experiencing them live under the stars on a hot summer night. Yeah, you get the picture I'm sure.

"Paradise (What About Us)" where WT's excellent singer Sharon del Aden duets with former Nightwish singer Tarja Turunen is particularly irresistible.

After that you wish Within Temptation had made a whole album of such calibre. But they have not – despite their obvious collective talents ...

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