Within Temptation is a Dutch symphonic metal/rock band founded in 1996 by vocalist Sharon den Adel and guitarist Robert Westerholt. Their music is described as symphonic metal, although their earlier material, such as Enter, was gothic metal. In an interview, den Adel said they fell into a symphonic rock genre with various influences. In a later interview with 3VOOR12, den Adel stated that "we consider ourselves more a symphonic rock band ... we are in my opinion no gothic band".
After the release of their first 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 No. 2 on the Dutch charts. Since then, the band won the Conamus Exportprijs four years in a row. Their next albums The Silent Force and The Heart of Everything debuted at No. 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.
On 13 November 2012, they celebrated their 15th birthday with a huge live event, called Elements, at the Sportpaleis, Antwerpen.
Their sixth studio album, Hydra, was released on January 22, 2014 in Japan, January 31, 2014 in Europe, and February 4, 2014 in the United States. The album features guest appearances from Tarja Turunen, who appears in the lead single "Paradise (What About Us?)", Howard Jones the former singer of Killswitch Engage, Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum and American rapper Xzibit.
Long-term partners Robert Westerholt (guitar) and Sharon den Adel (vocals) began the band in 1996, after Westerholt left his previous band, The Circle. The Circle renamed themselves Voyage and released an album called Embrace, including a song featuring den Adel. Soon after that release the band broke up.
Westerholt then joined with den Adel in forming a doom metal band called, "the Portal", including former The Circle band members Jeroen van Veen on bass guitar and Michiel Papenhove on guitar, as well as Martijn Westerholt on the keyboard and Dennis Leeflang on drums (later replaced by Ivar de Graaf). However, they renamed themselves "Within Temptation", before they started recording their demo, Enter. The Enter demo contained some songs that would later be released in their first album. They were offered a recording contract and signed to DSFA Records later that year, beginning work on their first album.
Enter, the debut album, was released in 1997. The album was well received and the band embarked on a four gig tour across the country, after which they performed at the Dynamo Open Air festival in Eindhoven. The band rounded out 1997 by embarking on their first international tour, of Germany and Austria. Also subsequently Ivar de Graaf left the band and was replaced by Ciro Palma.
The sound of Enter, whilst melodic, was doomily paced, and influenced by gothic doom metal, heavily reliant on slow keyboards and drums and repetitive guitar riffs. Also prominent on this album are death grunts by Robert Westerholt and George Oosthoek, ex-member of Orphanage.
In 1998 the band continued to tour – their profile had elevated them to the main stage at Dynamo for the 1998 event. However, Within Temptation had released no new material (and did not have plans for a second album at this point), to which end they elected to release an EP, The Dance, with three songs (plus two remixes) that would further mature the sound from Enter.
Finally taking a break from touring, 1999 was largely a sabbatical year for the band. They took the opportunity to construct their own studio, as well as returning to personal pursuits, with plans to return to the fold the next year.
Mother Earth (2000–2004)
2000 was an eventful year for the band as they returned to touring, playing three Dutch festivals; Waterpop, Bospop and Lowlands. In addition they went to work on their second album, releasing Mother Earth in the Low Countries on December 1. The album was a moderate success in the Dutch charts the first few weeks after its release.
The band released the single "Our Farewell", which never entered the charts. The second single from Mother Earth, "Ice Queen", was regarded as the breakthrough release for the band; in March 2002 it climbed to No. 2 in the Netherlands but was their first No. 1 single when it climbed to the top in Belgium. The success rebounded to Mother Earth, which continued to climb in the Dutch album chart, ending the year at No. 3.
2001 saw a number of changes in personnel; Ruud Jolie was added as a second guitarist, drummer Ivar de Graaf was replaced by Stephen van Haestregt, and Martijn Westerholt (suffering from infectious mononucleosis) was replaced by Martijn Spierenburg. Westerholt later started the band Delain.
In 2002 they had their first concert in France and a headline gig in Mexico City. They attained their first major award, the Dutch Silver Harp. They bolstered this by embarking on a major international tour supporting Paradise Lost in 2003 and re-releasing Mother Earth on the GUN Records label across more European countries; it was a success in Germany, where it went platinum and reached No. 7 in the charts; the re-release of "Ice Queen" also charted well in the top 30. In turn the Benelux regions got a different release, a cover of Kate Bush's "Running Up that Hill". The band headlined music festivals across the Netherlands, while their Mother Earth tour DVD claimed the prestigious Edison Award. Promotion of Mother Earth in newer markets continued well into 2004 with various festival appearances and other gigs, which also saw the band make their UK live debut in London in September of that year.
The Silent Force (2004–2006)
Plans for the band's third album came to fruition in 2004, with the release of The Silent Force on November 15, 2004, across Europe. It was produced by Daniel Gibson and an instant No. 1 in the Netherlands and charted well in many European countries. In support of the release they embarked on another large international tour in 2005, with dates across Europe (including their first festival appearance in the United Kingdom headlining the Bloodstock festival) and a one-off show in Dubai. As of early 2005, the album had already sold more than 400.000 copies only in Europe.
"Stand My Ground" and "Memories", the first singles from the new album, continued the band's run of chart success, culminating in a second Edison Award. The third single was "Angels". "Stand My Ground" was later to be promoted on the trailer for the film Blood and Chocolate. The band also provided some of the sound track to the videogame Knights of the Temple: Infernal Crusade released in March.
In January 2006, Within Temptation won the Dutch Pop Prize (best Dutch pop contribution) and Dutch Export Prize (best-selling Dutch artist outside the Netherlands); the latter one given to them for the third time in a row. The band also reported that they were busy working on their next album, due to be released during the fall, and that they would start playing at festivals starting in April, in addition to going on an international tour at the end of the year.
On August 5, 2008, the band's albums Mother Earth and The Silent Force were released in the US for the first time through Roadrunner Records.
The Heart of Everything (2007–2010)
The album The Heart of Everything from Within Temptation was released on March 9, 2007, in the Netherlands, and in the United States on July 24. Two tracks, called "The Howling" and "Sounds of Freedom", were recorded as promotion material for the video game The Chronicles of Spellborn, and the first of these opens the album. The full track listing was revealed on January 10. The band embarked on their first North American tour with Lacuna Coil in May to promote the North American release of the album. Roadrunner Records also released a limited edition EP called The Howling, which was available only at Hot Topic stores, containing the title track plus popular tracks from their former album The Silent Force.
The album debuted at No. 1 in the Dutch Album 100, making it their second number-one album. It reached No. 2 in Belgium, No. 2 in Finland, the top 10 in eight countries and top 100 in eleven countries.
The song "What Have You Done" was the first single released from the album. Its initial music video was recorded on the 12, 13 and 14 of December 2006 at the Koko club in London, and a CGI studio in Windsor. It features Keith Caputo of Life of Agony on guest vocals. Fans were allowed to participate in the making of the video, although this first version left the band feeling disappointed (comments made by the band at their March show in Lyon). Shortly after, a completely new video for the song was made. The second single, released across Europe in June, was "Frozen". The video, filmed in Romania, deals with child abuse, and sales of the single was to raise money for a children's charity, Child Helpline International. "The Howling" was chosen as a digital single release for the UK (not to be confused with the US EP release), and another video was also shot. The extended version of the "Frozen" single features an unreleased b-side, "Sounds of Freedom", as mentioned the second song written for the promotion of the computer game The Chronicles of Spellborn.
Within Temptation started their very first U.S. tour a few months after the European release of The Heart of Everything, supporting Lacuna Coil, and appearing alongside In This Moment, Stolen Babies, The Gathering, and Kylesa. The tour, dubbed The Hottest Chicks in Metal Tour 2007, was largely a success.
The Heart of Everything was released in the U.S. on July 24, and the promotional single of "What Have You Done" shipped to rock stations July 2. This was the band's first album to be released in America followed by the previous albums Mother Earth and The Silent Force a year later.
In support of the new album, Within Temptation decided to kick off their first headlining US tour in Fall 2007. The band played 13 shows, starting on September 5, 2007, in Boston and ended on September 23, 2007, in Tempe, Arizona.
On October 19, 2007, Within Temptation released the video for their third single "All I Need". The single was released in Europe around November 12 and features the single and album versions of the title track plus demo versions of "The Last Time" (previously unreleased track), "Frozen" and "Our Solemn Hour".
In November 2007, the band released info that their concert at Beursgebouw, in Eindhoven, was filmed for possible inclusion on a new concert DVD (either parts or all of the show). On February 7, 2008, the band performed a 10,000 audience show entitled Black Symphony at the Ahoy in Nederlands together with The Metropole Orchestra, a choir and several guest artists, and it was later revealed that this show would be filmed in its entirety for DVD and Blu-Ray together with a double cd, which was to be released on September 22, 2008, (international) and September 23, 2008 (in the U.S.). The trailer for the DVD (containing the entire live performance of the song "Our Solemn Hour" from the show) was released on the band's Opendisc feature on July 16, 2008. Another single from The Heart of Everything, Forgiven, was released to promote the Black Symphony release. Later, Black Symphony was certified Gold in the Netherlands.
On November 3, 2008, Ruud Jolie stated on his blog, that the members of Within Temptation were going to take a year off, writing that "After the Theater Tour, that will start next week, me and the rest of Within Temptation are gonna take a whole year off. For the last 7 years we've been hopping from studio to tourbus to airplane to boat to studio again to tourbus to bicycle to airplane to an occasional swimmingpool on the top of a hotel to tourbus again. We all really needed a break from the band..." From that tour, On August 11, 2009, on their official website, Sharon announced that an acoustic album would be released in late October/early November called An Acoustic Night at the Theatre. It would include several acoustic songs from their tour in November 2008. On the 30th of October the album was released, the single was released with the album called Utopia. The song is a duet between Sharon and Chris Jones and was released on October 23.
Their song "What Have You Done" is now on the video game "Guitar Hero: World Tour" and was present on a TV promo of a Grey's Anatomy episode, "The Truth Beneath The Rose" was featured in the commercials for The Tudors, season 3, on ShowTime. The song All I Need was featured in the American Television show, Vampire Diaries.
The Unforgiving (2011–2012)
In November 2008, the band announced that they would begin working on their new studio album in 2009, and that the Heart Of Everything Tour was drawing to an end.' On June 1, 2009, it was announced that Sharon had given birth to a boy, her second child with Robert Westerholt. In 2010, the band embarked on a second Theatre Tour, their last with drummer Stephen Van Haestregt.
In the meantime, the band continued work on their new studio album. In an interview with Metal Ways at Appelpop 2008, guitarist Robert Westerholt stated that the new album was "probably going to be kind of a concept, but it’s so early still that nothing is really sure yet. But we’re trying to look in that direction."
On November 18, 2010, the band announced via their website that their new album, entitled "The Unforgiving" would be released in March 2011. The concept of the album would be based on a comic book series, written by Steven O’Connell (BloodRayne & Dark 48), and illustrated by Romano Molenaar (Witchblade, Darkness and X-Men). Each song on “The Unforgiving” was written along Steven’s narrative, with characters in the songs reflecting the protagonists of the comic. On July 26, 2010, the band announced that they would be embarking on a European tour at the beginning of 2011 in support of their new release. However, on November 26, 2010, it was announced that due to Sharon's third pregnancy, the tour dates would be moved from early 2011 to fall 2011.
On the official website, den Adel shared that they have recorded three music videos for the album within the course of a week. 'Where Is The Edge', a promotional video, was released on 15 December 2010 featuring scenes from the Dutch movie Me & Mr Jones. The first new single, "Faster," was released January 21 and the video for the song was released January 31, 2011. The track is currently being played in heavy rotation (at least once in each show) on UK classic rock station Planet Rock. The first track-by-track review of the album was published next month by a freelance journalist online, via Last.fm.
On 22 February 2011, the band announced that Mike Coolen had joined as full-time drummer. However, the studio album had been recorded with Swedish drummer Nicka Hellenberg.
On 14 March 2011, Sony BMG organized an online-listening session of the-upcoming-album on a Polish website that only people from Poland could access. However, every song was soon after leaked onto the Internet. Within Temptation tried to prevent the leak before the release date. Limited promotion CDs were sent strictly to journalists who had to come to a listening-session. Later that month, the second short film entitled "Sinéad" was released without an accompanying music video. However, it is available on the special edition CD/DVD set of The Unforgiving along with the remaining short film "Triplets" and music video for "Shot in the Dark." During the album promotional phases, the birth of Logan was reported on the Within Temptation website.
The album debuted at No. 2 in the Netherlands, while the two previous albums, The Heart Of Everything and The Silent Force debuted at No. 1. The Unforgiving also debuted in the Top 10 of Belgium, Portugal, Finland, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and Austria. When the single Faster was released it did not chart as well as other Within Temptation singles like Stand My Ground and Ice Queen, though in the digital music store iTunes the song placed on the common charts, entering the Top 5 in the Netherlands (#4), while the single reached No. 11 so far. On the digital Rock Charts, Faster became a hit, reaching the No. 1 in the Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Spain, No. 2 on Sweden, No. 5 in Germany, No. 6 in Austria, No. 8 in France, No. 10 in Luxembourg, No. 11 in Denmark, No. 13 in the U.S. No. 18 in Mexico. In the first month, the album has around 1 million plays on the scrobbling site Last.fm. Following that, the band announced that the new single would be "Sinéad." Later on, the band was awarded "Best Other Media Music" for its album The Unforgiving on the new solenity "Buma Music In Motion", that awards creative and innovative methods to make music.
On 10 June 2011, the music video of Sinéad was officially released to promote the same single, that had its physical release on July 15. The single was a little different from the others, including 3 remixes of the music made by 3 different DJs.
Proceeding on promotion of the album, the band presented at the Sziget Festival, but The Unforgiving Tour officially started August 12, at the Huntenpop Festival, where the band played the whole The Unforgiving album among other albuns hits, in a special show as "The First Challenge". During August, the band performed at several Summer Festivals as M'era Luna and Lowlands and started an indoor tour in September, first in the North America and then crossing Europe. On eary September, the album reached Gold status in Poland. Later that month, it was announced that Robert would step down touring with the band (except for occasional shows) as there was no-one to look after Robert and Sharon's three children. Robert will focus on production and songwriting, while Stefan Helleblad is taking his place on stage. Ending the year, Within Temptation was the 91st most listened band worldwide in 2011 on the scrobbling site Last.fm, with 90.000 new listeners, the 18th in Russia, 23rd in Poland, 41st in Finland, 56th in Germany, 79th in Brazil and 90th in Chile.
In early 2012, to continue promoting the album, the band started a South American tour, passing over Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Peru and Ecuador. Right after coming back to Europe, the band presented a semi-acoustic Dutch theater tour in March 2012, called Sanctuary, much like their previous live album An Acoustic Night at the Theatre in which they played many songs never played before like Say My Name, The Last Dance, Overcome, Bittersweet and some that they don't play often like Restless, Sounds Of Freedom, The Swan Song and Our Farewell. Most of them were played in acoustic version. On the 8th of May, 2012 Sharon den Adel and Ruud Jolie appeared on DWDD Recordings to perform an acoustic cover of Nirvana's song Smells Like Teen Spirit. The band embarked on a second leg of festivals, headlining several of the biggest European 2012 Summer Festivals, such as Sonisphere, Masters of Rock, Rock Werchter, Summerbreeze and Gods of Metal. Later, the band officially announced a very special show called Elements. The sold out special show celebrated the band's 15 year anniversary at the Sportpaleis, Belgium, and the band was accompanied by the Il Novecentro Orchestra and other special guests, such as band's ex-members.
The Q-Music Sessions (2013)
In the run up to the 15th anniversary of Within Temptation, the band was asked by Q-Music to choose and perform an existing track in a "Within Temptation style" once a week during fifteen weeks during their special program Within Temptation Friday. The covers consist most part of pop songs in which the band transformed into a more symphonic oriented form. Lead vocalist Sharon den Adel stated that: “Our approach was to really make the cover a new Within Temptation song. So not going the easy way by using only a piano or an acoustic guitar for example, but really trying to put all the elements of a Within Temptation track in this new version. It was quite a challenge because we had only one week to get it right, while recording an original Within Temptation song can sometimes takes up half a year! But this pressure also gave us an creative boost and it was very rewarding to get it done in time each week. Also, we learned a lot from the in-depth analysis we needed to make on these hits, written by others, in combination with implementing our own sound and style in each new cover. We are glad that we’ve taken up this challenge and are very proud of the result.". They covered artists such as Imagine Dragons, OneRepublic, Lana del Rey, The Who among others.
The writing process of the band's next studio album began in 2012, and at the first half of the year the band has 6 songs written already. The album was scheduled to be released worldwide in September, by their new label, BMG and in the Netherlands by Universal Music. The band is also scheduled to perform at some summer festivals as Nova Rock, Gateway Rock Festival and Greenfield Festival. The band also released a cover album on the April 19th, entitled The Q-Music Sessions, in which presentes 11 of the 15 covers made by the band for the Belgium radio station Q-music, all of them consisting of famous hits made by the band in a "very Within Temptation style". On the same day, the band released the official music video of their cover of Titanium. On 16 June, the band went on to record the first music video for the new album. During a series of statements about the recording progress of the album, Westerholt stated that the album would contain growls. At the middle of May, bassist Jeroen van Veen went to the studio to record the bass base for the first five songs. On 12 July, the band released a teaser trailer of the upcoming studio album, but without any names revealed. On the next month, the band announced the title of the lead single, in which is "Paradise (What About Us?)", also uploading a teaser trailer revealing some lyrics and a guitar solo in anticipation for the release. The band eventually got a North American sign deal with Nuclear Blast and, about that partnership the company's president Monte Conner stated that "There are very few bands out there today who continually deliver on such a high and consistent level as Within Temptation. That is why they have such an incredibly loyal worldwide fan base. I am thrilled they chose Nuclear Blast Entertainment as their U.S. partner. Their fans are in for a real treat come later this year!". The band also established a licensing deal with Dramatico for the United Kingdom release of the album. Once the drumming and vocal recording was complete, the final guitar recordings started on August 26.
On August 30, the band announced that the lead single Paradise (What About Us?) would be released as an EP, which is also set to feature 3 tracks from the upcoming album in their demo form, being them "Let Us Burn", "Silver Moonlight" and "Dog Days". Upon making this announcement, den Adel said: "By releasing these demos we want to invite you in our home studio and show how we capture song ideas at an early stage of creating a new album. These demo versions are far from their final sound on the album, but will give you a hint of what we’re working on. It will be fascinating to hear how the end result will sound like, once the album is released.". After announcing that the lead single would contain a guest musician, on September 13 the band officially announced that Tarja Turunen was set to appear as a special vocalist on the title song. The EP was released on September 27. On 25 and 26 October, den Adel and Westerholt presented an unknown number of songs of the upcoming album to the press. The second promotional single, Dangerous, was released on December 20 and features ex-Killswitch Engage singer Howard Jones. Hydra was finally released on January 31, 2014, in mainland Europe and in February 4 on North America and United Kingdom, and was met with critical and commercial success.
The band's first album, Enter, was released in 1997, in which music critics defined the band as two heavy metal subgenres, gothic metal and doom metal classifying the release as "gloomy, doomy, slow moving, atmospheric, symphonic gothic metal." and compared it with Tristania and Theatre of Tragedy, two other bands in the genre. The Guitar riffs and keyboard work were also praised as were the contrasting voices of the two lead vocalists, Sharon den Adel and Robert Westerholt. The next record of the band, an EP entitled The Dance, released in 1998, was described as "important in the development of the band" presenting "the band's musical growth as they explore the parameters of orchestral, neo-classical metal."
With the release of the second album, Mother Earth, their musical style came to a point of inflexion, where only den Adel remained as lead vocalist leading the band to more melodic and Celtic songs and more folk influences. Critics approved the changes in the musical direction and stated that the album "reveals new dimensions in the concept of metal."
Having Daniel Gibson as its main producer, the album The Silent Force was classified as "very melodic, catchy and relaxing" although some critics lamented the band's decision to take a more commercial direction, no longer comparing the band with old gothic metal fellows Tristania and Theatre of Tragedy, but instead with American rock band Evanescence and criticizing the new electronic elements.
With the release of The Heart of Everything, in 2007, the specialist critics were divided on the band's new direction. Some stated that the album was shallow and only-commercial driven, "perfectly built for MTV". Others appreciated the new direction and found it more varied. About.com agreed with both opinions, stating that "they have the optimum balance of the melody and hooks of mainstream rock, the depth and complexity of classical music and the dark edge of gothic metal." allMusic commented that the band "isn't afraid to get downright symphonic".
In 2011, the band released their fifth studio album, The Unforgiving, the biggest change in their musical direction. Although being largely well received by critics, some reviewers disliked the changes, with Q magazine calling the album "The metal T'Pau". Besides that, some critics found the "1980s pop, rock and metal" influences a good thing for the band.
In order to celebrate the band's 15th anniversary, the Belgian radio station Q-music invited the band to make 15 covers of famous songs. Later, the band released The Q-Music Sessions album, the most divergent genre variation from their original sound to date. The album features reworked covers of several famous pop songs, such as Titanium from David Guetta, Grenade from Bruno Mars, The Power of Love from Frankie Goes to Hollywood and also some indie and folk rock songs as The Who's Behind Blue Eyes and Passenger's Let Her Go.
The name of the band's sixth studio album, Hydra, refers to this great variation in the band main sound, as Westerholt said: "'Hydra’ is a perfect title for our new album, because like the monster itself, the record represents the many different sides of our music.” American magazine Aquarian Weekly considered thet title highly apropriated and compared it to the band's diverse musical history, alleging that they were able to find the right balance between all the musical changes.
- Current members
- Sharon den Adel – lead vocals (1996–present)
- Robert Westerholt – rhythm guitar, grunts (1996–present, studio only since 2011)
- Jeroen van Veen – bass (1996–present)
- Ruud Jolie – lead guitar, rhythm guitar (2001–present)
- Martijn Spierenburg – keyboards (2001–present)
- Mike Coolen – drums (2011–present)
- Stefan Helleblad -rhythm guitar, lead guitar (2011–present)
- Former members
- Michiel Papenhove – lead guitar (1996–2001)
- Martijn Westerholt – keyboards (1996–2001)
- Dennis Leeflang – drums (1996)
- Richard Willemse – drums (1996)
- Ivar de Graaf – drums (1996–1998, 1999–2001)
- Marius van Pyreen – drums (1998)
- Ciro Palma – drums (1998–1999)
- Jelle Bakker – lead guitar (2001)
- Stephen van Haestregt – drums (2002–2010)
- Enter (1997)
- Mother Earth (2000)
- The Silent Force (2004)
- The Heart of Everything (2007)
- The Unforgiving (2011)
- Hydra (2014)
Awards and nominations
- Official website
- Within Temptation's channel on YouTube
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Image from Discogs