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Artist: Within Temptation
Title: The Unforgiving
Genre: Symphonic / Gothic Metal / Rock
Release Date: 25th March 2011
Label: SonyBMG

Album Review

WITHIN TEMPTATION is not a band that needs much introduction. The Dutch Symphonic rockers have wowed enough audiences out there already and it can be safely said that they are one of the representative bands of the genre. This year they’re adding ‘The Unforgiving’ to their achievements, it comes together with a release of three short films which altogether create a story to compliment the CD together with a comic book (illustrated by Romano Molenaar of Witchblade, Darkness and X-Men fame).

So not only you will be treated to music, but also to a concept album and visual representation of it if it will enthuse you enough to seek it out. The band seems to be fulfilling their ambitions, at first they wanted to write lyrics for a film that would grab their heart, but the matter of synchronising such a project meant that they’ve actually came with the idea to create music to a film born out of their own ideas. They took inspiration from “The Chronicles Of Spellborn” comics and enlisted Steven O’Connel, and together came out with an idea of a story of a character working her way through the consequences of having taken bad decisions. This theme revolves around a protagonist called Sinéad that indeed resonates and her journey is certainly relatable to many. The name can very well be symbolic of forgiveness, a resolution of personal anguish, as it means ‘God is gracious’. The journey after all is a positive one.

The album thus starts with an atmospheric recited narration in ‘Why Not Me’, a dramatic intro which concludes with fittingly with posing a rhetoric questions: “Someone must make a stand against evil. Why should it not be me?” ‘Shot in the Dark’ ushers in the main character and her plight. Musically it’s a typical WITHIN TEMPTATION song, an emotive, powerful, and remarkable especially towards its finish where drums are given the attention grabbing spot on stage for a while, complimenting den Adel’s strong vocal. ‘In the Middle of the Night’ starts with an impressive riff; the song picks up on speed - a strongest and most enjoyable aspect for me, leaning more on the Metal side and expressing the tormenting emotions all the better. It also feels like one of the songs that just invite the listener to let go - be it dance till the dancer is the dance, scream, and cry, whatever. ‘Faster’ slows down in contrast to the previous song and to its title, has a memorable groove and refrain.

‘Fire and Ice’ has the symphonic components at the forefront, the string beginning, the piano that compliments the tender and fragile feel of the song together with the softened voice of Sharon den Adel and the elegant strings coming in and out to emphasise the composition. Altogether a very beautiful ballad, speaking of lost love and holding to memories, a song which will evoke the grief and loss. Enticing song, I wasn’t exactly ready when the next song with another elemental title ‘Iron followed, but soon it had my head and toe responding to the strong rhythm. There’s something mesmerising also about songs that incorporate recitation, which it has towards its ending, which also lets the drums and guitars pull you in with their skill and power. ‘Sinéad’ the song that bears the heroin’s name and of course speaks of her travails is another energetic and intense song. ‘Lost’ has a wonderful acoustic guitar beginning and is another symphonic ballad, reaching deeper into the well of painful emotions, however, it didn’t get to me as much as the ‘Fire and Ice’.

‘Murder’ has a daring feel with a dose of menace, apart from the chorus; it differs in sound from the others. Although it is still a dramatic song, this aspect is more stripped down here, rawer to suit the theme. ‘A Demon’s Fate’ is another piece with 100 % concentrated energy, a tour de force.  ‘Stairway to the Skies’ is a tenderer but by saying that I don’t mean it ends on the slow note, rather a hopeful one. Although ‘The Unforgiving’ is everything you can expect from WITHIN TEMPTATION - there are no surprises and no extra turns and dimensions added to their signature sound to hail it as innovation, it’s however a great album, the concept works truly well, it captivates and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it, in fact, more than I expected to.


01. Why not me – 0.34
02. Shot in the Dark – 5.02
03. In the Middle of the Night – 5.11
04. Faster – 4.23
05. Fire and Ice – 3.57
06. Iron – 5.41
07. Where is the Edge – 3.59
08. Sinead – 4.23
09. Lost – 5.14
10. Murder – 4.16
11. A Demon’s Fate – 5.30
12. Stairway to the Skies – 5.32


Sharon den Adel – Lead Vocals
Robert Westerholt – Rhythm guitar, grunts
Jeroen van Veen – Bass guitar
Ruud Adrianus Jolie – Lead guitar
Martijn Spierenburg – Keyboards
Mike Coolen – Drums

Websites /

Cover Picture



Music: 9
Sound: 10
Total: 9.5 /10

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