Within Temptation - _Mother Earth_
(DSFA Records, 2001)
by: Chris Flaaten (
Within Temptation made a promising debut [CoC #20] and I quite enjoyed their last EP, _The Dance_ [CoC #33]. The band appears slightly renewed on this album: gone are the death growls and the doom-like, intense riffs that accompanied them. Sure, they still throw down some heavy riffs on this album, but they generally lack the speed and punch of their predecessors. That doesn't necessarily say anything about the quality of this album, though. _Mother Earth_ opens with its heaviest and most pompous track: featuring heavy -- and tasteful -- use of flutes and synths, this song quickly establishes the fantasy-like setting that will continue throughout the album. Within Temptation have definitely gotten more epic, but simultaneously more mellow as well. Tracks three, six and ten are slow ballads, comprised mostly of piano and Sharon's vocals. Nice, but a little too "easy listening" if you ask me. As a matter of fact, I find Sharon's vocals tiresome and limited on this album. She certainly is a good vocalist technically and has a soothing voice, but she always sounds sad and almost, well, whiny. If she were to communicate happiness, hope or fury with her vocals, it would lack credibility. Because of this, Within Temptation's music is now confined to a small niche of the emotional spectrum -- whereas earlier they were able to bring in death vocals for other effects. The energy in Within Temptation's music now lies in the instrumental passages, especially those found in tracks one, four and seven. These passages are a little scarce, however, which causes me to lose interest after that seventh track -- and that usually includes skipping the first two ballads as well. For those with a smaller crave for intensity than me, this album could very well be a gem, though: the compositions are elaborate and well performed, and the album certainly doesn't lack variation. Recommended for easy listening.
(article published 1/14/2002)
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