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The so awaited DVD of one of the leading bands in the female fronted metal genre is not just a distant dream anymore. The “Black Symphony” concert release immediately turned into a legend and treasure not only for the devoted fans of the band, but also for people with love towards the symphonic music in general. There are two reasons for my statement - the two of the special concerts of Within Temptation for their latest album, “The Heart Of Everything”. Of course, the highlight is the show filmed in Rotterdam. And it’s not just an ordinary event, but a high professional work with the Dutch symphonic orchestra (Metropole Orchestra) and the gregorian Pa’Dam choir. In other words, it’s something worthy to be seen.
Everything is done with almost a maniac’s perfectionism when it comes to “Black Symphony”, but while the grandeur feeling is particularly everywhere, there’s also a great touch for every little detail - in a firm, straight technical way, the concert is filmed with a big number of HD cameras and thus crystal clear focus and picture; with a perfectly lighted stage and special lights and place for the orchestra and the choir; with a deep, clear sound engineering and huge video wall and screens, providing a direct visual contact with the band no matter the position.
A long symphonic overture marks the beginning of the silent waiting that can be easily sensed in the air of one of the biggest concert halls in The Netherlands on the night of Within Temptation’s gig. The melody slowly gets a theatrical and epic character, setting the anticipation on fire, and after the cacophony of sounds and mixes of violins, harp strings, trumpets and a resounding echo of an authentic gong fades away, the audience is in a hysterical state. The stage itself comes to life in a way one would call a wicked visual game of sorcery, and the public responds in a special way – numerous hands start to measure, announcing the tempo in the beginning of “Jillian”, which is being accompanied by one of the many light and pyro effects for the night. This is the precise background support, in my beliefs desired by every musician with a respect for himself, on which Sharon & co take over the stage in order to make the dreams of their infinite ocean of fans come true.
At the very beginning it comes pretty clear that the band is in an amazing and energetic state – regarding the higher requirements for this typical majestic events, the musicians are having real fun and keep a solid contact with the audience. The chosen set list includes all the songs from their last album, there are also unquestioned classics and some surprises like “Swan Song”, played live for the first time in the career of the band. The blast of contrast captions, color blurs and sharp picture effects is most impressive; Many times clips with special plots directed exactly for the concert are being projected on the wall screen on the psychedelic performance of “The Cross”, the fresh hit “Our Solemn Hour” and the dramatical “The Truth Beneath The Rose”. Four of the ballads are combined in one musical structure, during which the time stops and the beautiful, clean voice of Sharon resounds by the walls of the hall under a piano accompaniment handled by the keyboardist of the band, Martijn Spierenburg. There are also several guest musicians like Keith Caputo, providing “What Have You Done” with his vocals, the grunter George Oosthoek on the aggressive “The Other Half (Of Me)”. If I can give any negative opinion, it’ll go to Anneke van Giersbergen’s part, which doesn’t fit neither the idea nor the actual sound of the beautiful “Somewhere”. In the same eye of the storm the stage turns effectively into a visual spectacle with help of masked, winged actors during the sound of the marvelous “Angels”, while later on the eternal “Ice Queen” proclaims the end of this unforgettable event, precisely in the meaning of the words “grand finale”.
Exactly “temptations” of the sort make me to greet the tradition of Within Temptation from the past few years, dealing with their DVD releases after each new album. It’s because of this concert, which if I had attended, it would become necessary for someone to get me out in his hands and try a hundred times harder to bring me back to my senses. Jokes aside, a silent bow before the band is that which is left, because it’s the same feeling that “Black Symphony” brought to me even through the monitor. That means the goal is accomplished, because one must not, and in cases like this actually just can’t stay impartial to the event, in which exactly are rooted both strength and aim of a concert release.