Concept albums can be a hard thing for a band to pull off. Usually the story leaves the listener lost because it is so poorly written or they feel left out of some sort of "ya just had to be there" moment. When it comes to performing the material live, band's usually play an abbreviated track listing from the album, and often the songs that make the story are played out of sequence, therefore make the story concept irrelevant. Enter Within Temptation and their latest release, The Unforgiving.
It has been four years since Within Temptation released their last studio album, The Heart of Everything. I have been a big fan of the band since Mother Earth, and my whole family, young and old, regularly kick out the jams to their songs. I have been looking forward to the ambitious release of The Unforgiving since they announced the graphic novel/compilation cd project early last year. The wait has been worth it, Within Temptation has delivered another incredible release.
I won't get into a song by song break down of the CD, as there are plenty of those kind of reviews already out there. Rather, I'll just give you my impression of The Unforgiving and allow you to experience it for yourself. Sharon Den Adel is by far my favorite female vocalist in any genre, and tied for that top spot when it comes to metal vocalists. She once again proves her talent here. Her voice is still strong, smooth, and full of emotion.
The Unforgiving doesn't have much in the way of orchestral theatrics that are commonplace on their previous releases, but it still doesn't leave me wanting. There are still plenty of symphonic elements on here to sooth my ears. The songs that make up the CD appeal to a much wider audience outside of the typical symphonic metal fan base. This could be because of what they are trying to achieve with the concept story, or it could be that their song writing is becoming more mature. Most likely, it is a combination of both.
The Unforgiving is quite a remarkable release from Within Temptation at this stage in their career. It is heavy on the rock, heavy on lyrical content, and heavy on the mass appeal. I do think it is their best release since Mother Earth, and that is saying a lot, because ALL of their releases are incredible.
Save up your pennies and buy the deluxe package of The Unforgiving because it comes as a CD/DVD combo. The DVD is a behind the scenes look at the making of The Unforgiving. I can't say too many nice things about it, but I don't want to say too much either. I really think everyone should go out and experience it for themselves.
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Live Long and Rock Hard,
SpaceKev's Rating: 9.25 out of 10