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Cubic zirconia looks pretty from a distance - 44%

Liquid_Braino, January 28th, 2013

Listening to this album once turned out to be a daunting experience. Continuing to play it afterwards in hopes that perhaps I was missing some spark or hook during the first run wound up being an exercise in futility. Spinning it even a few more times so I could properly review this release made me question what the fuck I was doing with my free time.

During my initial listen, by the third track, "Frozen", I had a pretty clear idea of what Within Temptation were shooting for here, and they definitely weren't aiming for the same crowd that lapped up their early work. This is some bright glistening pop metal brandishing fantastic production values and a guitar heavy enough to earn a few fist-pumps. Symphonic elements are also highly present, layering the tunes with an almost movie score like quality, boosting the punchy choruses and providing texture to the mellow verses and ballads. Everything is well-played in a sterile, competent manner, and Sharon's choices are spot on depicting what each individual track calls for concerning vocal deliveries. Yippee.

It feels like souped-up modern country music adorning black nail polish. Granted, today's shit coming out of Nashville to me sounds 'harder' than what passes for straight-up rock music these days, but still, replace some of the lush synth crap with a pedal steel guitar and tack on a fiddle solo and Within Temptation would be breakin' plenty of hearts all over the southeastern USA, at least until it was discovered that the band is composed of foreign folk from sinful Europe. The simple verse chorus template is obviously the standard here, and to be honest I'm not averse to pop formats whatsoever, but for music like this to work, it needs strong hooks or a melody that's easy to cling to and absorb, and I wasn't getting that with this album. The chord patterns are so predictable and rote that they just pass me by due to sheer familiarity. The first time I heard these songs, it felt as if I've heard them hundreds of times, albeit in slightly less 'metal' and most likely more 'catchy' renditions.

As the focus and breadwinner of the band, Sharon lights up the room immediately during the opening track with the virtuosic gusto of Kelly Clarkson and the down-to-earth appeal of Carrie Underwood, announcing to the world that she's ready to give Simon Cowell an unwieldy boner. It’s a consummate performance for sure, and at times she even reverts to the more familiar quasi-operatic approach utilized by many in the symphonic metal genre with aplomb when the need arises. Still, while I respect her skills and dig brunettes, there are a lot of good talented singers involved with some seriously bland musical shit out there, and this case is not much of an exception.

There are little moments that I actually found myself humming to after enough repeated listens, most notably the chorus for "Hand Of Sorrow", which does possess a slight hook that works. Then there's material like the duet "What Have You Done", obnoxious enough to have made for quite a kickass Glee TV show moment involving that dark-haired chick with the square jaw and some asshole in a black leather jacket if the band had a stronger presence in the USA. Then there are tunes like the waltzy "All I Need" which just suck.

I'm not going to pretend that I somehow know the intentions behind this effort. Whether it's the product of upstairs corporate meetings or managerial pressure, I have no fucking idea. Maybe the band always liked this sort of music and just one day decided to grab their gear and start playing this shit. Why not? If nothing else, Sharon sounds like she's having a reasonable amount of fun. Unfortunately, it just didn't click with me at all, and I'm one of those clowns who actually listens to music similar in vein to this. I have no problem with this sort of thing; but it needs at least one unique quirk that I can attribute to the band, one aspect that gives them an identity. Instead, The Heart Of Everything comes across like an assortment of session players and an X Factor contestant pumping out recycled material composed by writing and production teams such as those bozos comprising 'The Matrix' even if that isn’t the case whatsoever. Clinical and precise, sanitized and forgettable, the album's strongest characteristic is that it seems to completely lack character.

Within Temptation's Heavy Album - 100%

FOrbIDen, May 12th, 2011
Written based on this version: 2007, CD, Roadrunner Records

This was the first "Within Temptation" album I ever bought, not to mention my first metal album, and i did not know what I was getting into. After about three years of listening to this album and getting to really know it, I have learned learned to hear every detail of the music and appreciate it for what it is. This release is dark, heavy, beautiful, and dramatic, not to mention amazing. Anyways, back to the point.

The Dutch gothic symphonic metal band "Within Temptation" has evolved so much. Yes they are still dramatic, but the sound for each album was very different. "Enter", their 1997 debut album had a mysterious sound, "Mother Earth" in 2000 was a more natural and organic sound, in 2004 was the year that "The Silent Force" was released, which I feel was their generic symphonic rock era was very stagnant. In 2007, "Within Temptation" released "The Heart of Everything". This album is much darker and heavier than anything they have released between 2000's "Mother Earth" and the release of this album, they also have gotten progressively heavier with time.

The guitars now take a larger role in this album than past work. Before the guitar sound was lost in all the keyboards and vocals, and even the faded drums. The use of the choir in the background gives this album an ominous, dark feel, and the keyboards have been used in a much different way, putting out a doomier orchestral sound rather than uplifting. If you listen very closely to the chorus of the fourth track "Our Solemn Hour", there is something there that has not been used since the 1998 EP "The Dance". That part gone missing is growling, there are background growling vocals in every "sanctus espiritus" of that song.

Sharon's vocals are always a highlight of any of their releases, the pure light lyric mezzo soprano that leads the sound is flawless and beautiful. But in this album she introduces her belt into her singing, starting with "The Howling". The first two lines of the verses are executed using a belt that sounds like the darker part of a person (in this case the darker side of the super angelic Sharon). Then again in the title track most of the song is sung using a powerful belt that suits the song nicely, it again sounds like a more twisted and dark person. The song "What Have You Done" does have a good use of both Sharon's light vocals and guest vocalist Keith Caputo in an amazing duet.

Of coarse there are the energetic and powerful parts of this album like the thrilling "Final Destination" which has amazing and memorable guitar riffs backed by keyboards that give off a great atmosphere, but there are also the down times. The ballad "All I Need" is beautiful and sad, not to mention memorable, but tends to make you feel better. The vocals are a highlight of coarse but offer a more catchy, powerful poppy sound. The lyrics are beautiful as well. "Don't tear me down, you've opened the door now, don't let it close".

Overall "The Heart of Everything" is a great album. Probably the best "Within Temptation" album to date. The song writing is different, but the change is good. The sound is heavier and darker and is a good step forward for the band.

Highlights: The Howling, The Heart of Everything, Hand of Sorrow, Final Destination, and The Truth Beneath the Rose

Highly underrated...A wonderful WT offering - 82%

TommyA, March 16th, 2011

After listening to "The Heart of Everything", I was extremely disappointed. I thought that they hit a new low..becoming more Evanescence than ever. While the latter point still stands, the album grew on me after a couple of listens. It strays away from metal, sure, but were they ever close to metal after "Enter"? "Mother Earth" was more ambient than metal, "The Silent Force" showed the band entering the pop-rock area...but at least "The Heart of Everything" is heavier (which is at least a step in the right direction).

The guitars are there, the drumming is heavier than ever, and the riffs are superb. The choruses are catchier and much more memorable than "The Silent Force". Within Temptation have established a "rock" sound, keeping all the choirs and orchestrations which were very frequent on their previous album and blending them in their now heavier music (two thumbs up for that).

One thing I didn't particularly like about "The Heart of Everything" is Sharon's vocals. Don't get me wrong, I love her voice. But I feel she could do more with it, like she did on "The Silent Force". Gone are those heavenly vocals on the previous album. Her voice is not more straight-forward, which, although very disappointing, fits perfectly with the new sound.

The albums kicks off with a killer track. "The Howling" starts with a typical Within Temptation intro, and is a very catchy track (commercial, yes, but by no means bad). The next track is the reason why I didn't give this album a 90. "What Have You Done" is a horrible, horrible track. It's as though Linkin Park exploded in those 5 minutes. The intro is promising (not the single version, that is), but as soon as the singing starts, it's horrid. "Frozen" falls in that same commercial trap, but it's bearable.

From "Our Solemn Hour" onwards, the album doesn't fail to disappoint once. The title track is more or less one of the best Within Temptation songs I've ever heard. It's five minutes of pure beauty (opening music and all). "The Cross" and "Final Destination" are also fantastic tracks, with the latter being one of my personal favourites. "The Truth Beneath The Rose" is also marvellous...easily one of the most beautiful songs on this album.

In conclusion, I don't regret purchasing this. It is easily one of the best albums by Within Temptation, and a step up from the previous two. It is also the last album to have ample symphonic elements. Worth purchasing (I'd stay away from any editions with bonus tracks, since the more of "What Have You Done" you listen to, the faster your ears will die)

Best tracks: The Heart of Everything, Final Destination, The Truth Beneath The Rose

Boring patterns plus diversity create blindness - 71%

kluseba, December 21st, 2010

On this album, the band sounds heavier and more bombastic than ever. After several hit singles and an intenation breakthrough the abnd got the budget to use more and more orchestrations and to create more and more complex structures. That's why they didn't chose to go back to the minimalistic tranquility of the early years or to create another short and sweet album with a couple of hit singles, but to create a diversified album with some epic songs, some commercial singles and some typically calm and down to earth ballads. That sounds positive but it also has some negative sides such like a lack of uniqueness and straightness on an average cut into pieces record that seems to head blindly for any possible direction by losing a straight and clear structure.

Especially the epic and experimentals songs work great on this record. The bombastic and straight opener "The howling" is epic, catchy and heavy at the same time and a true highlight of the album as well as the dramatically performed "Our solemn hour". "Hand of sorrow" convinces with a very catchy chorus and a few changes in style. "The truth beneath the rose" uses male choirs and a lot of orchestrations and that's why this song is way more entertaining than the early band's epics even if this song is far away from being stunning, progressive or amazingly entertaining. A few experiments like the electronically modified voices in "The cross" or "Final destination" do not even work at all but most of the songs are well executed and try to be build on something special. The title track has also some modified voices and modern technological experiments but is saved by its heaviness and energy.

The catchy singles still work well on this record but are not as well exceuted and not as addicting as on the previous album though. "What have you done" is a catchy duet with Keitch Caputo even if it is not a truly profound or touching song. The ballad "Frozen" uses the same patterns as "Memories" or "Angels" but is less original. "All I need" is a kitsch ballad that we have already heard in a slightly different and way better version on the previous records. It's the same thing for the final "Forgiven". The patterns are all a little bit used and abused and the band could have done something new, fresh and less predicable but they chose once again to close the album with a piano ballad. This routine and repeating pattern destroy somehow the efforts of the more epic songs mentioned before.

That's why there are many ups and downs on this album. I still like some experimental and even some of the commercial songs of the album but I am unable to appreciate the album as a whole. I recognize the talent of the band but I have always the impression that they have not yet explored their abilities and the depths of their creativity and I am always sure that the next album could be a fusion of their talents but each tiem again I am somewhat disappointed and don't get a closer approach to the band and their works. That's why I am forced to give once gain an average rating to this album.

No surprises here. So? - 81%

hells_unicorn, October 26th, 2010

There’s a self-serving nature to defending any album panned as a fit of commercial pandering, a nature that is multiplied further by claims that the album’s commercial success is merely a symptom of a collection of music that is distinct from most that share this symptom. But I’m in the mood for a pretentious fit of self-service, if for no other reason than that I think that most of the metal world has unfairly marginalized death/doom’s lighter and Goth rock infused cousin, and completely disowned its further distant mainstream affiliate Evanescence. Sure, this music is vocally oriented and largely simplistic, but the sum of the musical parts and the lack of subtlety in the chorus-oriented approach create an irresistible pleasure that could be deemed a guilty one, but an entertaining one nonetheless.

Although Within Temptation’s 2007 offering “The Heart Of Everything” should be treated a bit differently from Evanescence’s “Fallen” as it is far more elaborate and also leans harder towards the Symphonic tendencies of Nightwish, the parallels between the two leap out of the speakers almost immediately. The vocal prima donna Sharon Van Adel sports a more mature exterior and possesses a lighter, more angelic voice with a larger range than her eccentric American counterpart Amy Lee, but the mixture of depressive rock music inflections with traditional opera influences and the overall melodic contour of the vocal lines are remarkably similar. Similarly, the music relies on a similar template of predictable rock grooves and lighter surrounding textures, but exploits their arrangement much more and throws about twice as many riffs as the listener. There is, likewise, a greater emphasis on orchestral ambiences rather than piano/keyboard work, which are the staples of both Nightwish and Evanescence, though both do utilize orchestral sounds as well.

Anyone who has already sampled the previous release in “The Silent Force”, the individual songs on here conform to the same standard format, contrasting from said album only in an increased level of orchestral pomp that likely was influenced by Nightwish’s “Once”. Such dramatic slices of catchiness as “Our Solemn Hour” and “The Truth Beneath The Rose” could instantly be linked to the infamous 2004 effort by their Finnish cohorts, though without the extended musical breaks and quirky Middle Eastern additives. Some of the others on here definitely show a tendency towards radio play alongside many current acts, particularly the cynical duet single “What Have You Done” and the melancholy protest against human depravity “The Howling”, which take existing clichés and elaborate them with a mixture of dance music and symphonic influences. Perhaps the lone outlier of what is otherwise a consistently two-dimensional approach to songwriting (groove based rock and depressing power ballads) is “Frozen”, which essentially merges both approaches with a vocal performance akin to Sarah McLachlan or Tori Amos.

Whether one wants to give this light approach to Metal a chance depends largely on one’s tolerance level for somewhat commercial tendencies in the songwriting and a pristine yet heavy production. It is important to remember that although not original by any standard, this album is the product of a band that predates Evanescence and most likely influenced them indirectly along with Lacuna Coil and Lullacry. It’s a little bit less varied than “The Silent Force”, but contains an equal amount of memorable songs; some slightly better than others, but none really qualifying as over filler. Now I feel different enough from most people I normally associate with to feel that my initial goal was accomplished, despite that it impacts my positive attitude about this album in no way whatsoever, nor should it yours either.

Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on October 26, 2010.

Unforgivably Stagnant - 35%

defyexistance, October 18th, 2010

Gosh, where do I start with this plastic, manufactured, emotionless ode to blandness? Well, the the obvious intent to generate massive sales is glaringly obvious, so lets start there.

Within Temptation, being closer to a europop band than anything bearing a slight resemblance to metal, is not surprisingly motivated by profit. What I particularly detest about this release especially, compared to other bands of the genre, is the masquerade they carry on- they hide their conspicuous lack of talent behind big melodic buttresses and sweeping vocals. The songs have droningly similar song structures not only to each other, but also to any mainstream rock one would hear on American FM radio. Intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge/solo, chorus, outro, barring minor deviations in a couple of songs. This gets old after about Our Solemn Hour, and by The Truth Beneath the Rose, its unbearable. If I wanted a lack of talent meant to sell millions, I'd listen to Lady Gaga or some similar pop icon whore and ditch the pretentious mock-symphonies found here.

Some songs have nice melodies that sound fine on the surface (The Cross, Frozen), but its all just so formulated. The song lengths (along with the aforementioned structures) have no variance, so the catchy melodies are destroyed by the predictability of the song and the generic rock drums. The vocals are good, but not astoundingly so, and once again, vary very little.

The redundancy creates little forward movement at all, and this is why I choose to call this release stagnant. If the band decided to experiment just a little and failed miserably, the album would be far better. Filosofem is a wild and varied ride compared to this, not to disrespect Filosfem by mentioning it here.

The only redemption(s) this piece offers are the epic Truth Beneath the Rose and the bereft Forgiven. The primary is rooted well in the territory of mediocrity, like the rest of this album, spare the awesome (if not horribly predictable) bridge/solo section after the second chorus. The vocals here are moving and fluid- exactly how they should be- with an added amount of emotion that truly separates this part from the rest of the release. The secondary is an extremely well-done ballad that portrays its lyrical content perfectly. The piano is perfectly produced, and resonates very nicely with the moving vocals. The lyrics are a tad cliche, but the song is good enough overall that this can be overlooked.

All in all, goth rock is a capitalist genre for the most part, and it shows here. The foundational melodies are good enough, but a bit of creativity wouldn't hurt.

A praisworthy POP album. - 55%

DL_Alexithymia, October 28th, 2007

Well, after a handful of albums, the band's finally realized what they're good at: writing pop music. Gone are the days when fake orchestrations and hilarious fantasy themes were their downfall! Ever since the last album they released, The Silent Force, WT has been getting more in touch with their poppy, easily enjoyable, and flawlessly marketable side. However, there is one big difference: Unlike their last album, this is commercial metal done *well.* "Well?! omfg n00b commercial metal is teh BLOW! This album is soooo teh fail compared to old skool WT!" Oh shut up, already.

The fact of the matter is, Within Temptation has never been good to begin with. Don't argue with me. They've always been mediocre and unexciting. However, with this release, they use their mediocrity to their advantage, writing music easily comparable to an American rock radio station's playlist. And as catchy, hooky, and empty they are, they are much better written than anything I've ever heard out of the band.

Songs such as "The Howling," "What Have You Done Now," "Our Solemn Hour," "Frozen," and "Final Destination" are pretty much the empty 'heavy' songs of the album. Even gawth rock queen Amy Lee could have written them better, to be perfectly honest. Put everything you've ever heard about marketing gothic subculture and metal music into one, and you've got nearly half the album right there.

There are some stand out selections, however. While the title track "The Heart of Everything" is generally uninteresting and pointless, there's something new: low, powerful vocals during the verses. This gives me the chance to explain how Sharon's vocals have changed. The rest of the band still has the third-rate musicianship they've always had, but Sharon's voice is constantly evolving. To give you a background, she started off in their early days wailing her head off quite unpleasantly, then came into their second to last album with toned-down whispery singing that reminds me of a two year old girl. Now, she has found her median, with a more mature singing style and versatile vocal lines.

You all remember the generic piano/vocal ballads the band had maybe one or two of on each album, right? Well, I've finally found one that breaks the mold -- slightly. "Forgiven" is actually an emotion-evoking, sweet ballad with nonirritating vocals and interesting keyboard lines. Then we have "All I Need," and while it's not a total acoustic ballad, it's a cute little 'love song' that isn't exactly great, but doesn't piss me off every time I hear it.

There are two songs on the album that I can constantly listen to and enjoy without feeling guilty. "Hand of Sorrow" makes me delighted with the band momentarily for one reason. It's a great example of how orchestras and such were not dramatically overused. And then there's "The Cross," which is original, the best song they've written to date, and the only reason this album isn't getting an even lower rating.

So, all in all, this is a bad metal album. Scratch that -- a horrible metal album. But for the sake of overall enjoyment when you're looking for something simple and cute to tide you over, this album is perfect.

Undeniably Absolutely Perfect - 3%

darkeningday, September 10th, 2007

The ludicrously overrated but still moderately insightful Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree once complained about modern popular music being “Manufactured Silver Pills,” or, specifically tailored albums with the singular intent of generating record sales. Naturally, this complaint is controversial, but still nearly impossible to deny. I needn’t point out examples, since besides the residents of Sudan and participators in the Deaflympics (neither of which are reading this review), everybody knows to whom and what I refer. This modern incarnation of pop is a plus to those who like the occasional radio-rock single blaring over their car speakers on their way to the office, but a small catastrophe for those who value music (even popular music) beyond initial, surface aesthetic values. True Heavy Metal, however, even in its current state, still manages to mostly stay away from this “mainstreamized” incarnation, which is one of the reasons I became ensnared by it. Certainly exceptions exist, but they are outliers, not averages. However, if bands like Within Temptation continue publishing albums under the guise of “Symphonic Heavy Metal” we, the collective, Metallic we, are doomed to enter into that popular hellhole.

There’s actually nothing wrong with this album what-so-ever. The choruses are incredibly catchy, the harmonies very ear-pleasing. The occasional “rapped” harsh vocal phrases peppered throughout the album are lovingly pushed to the background, keeping their audial obscenity and misogynistic quality to a minimum, but still provide enough of a bite to make the occasional popular music listener think it’s “dark and heavy.” The riffs are nearly identical to a Kelly Clarkson album, although perhaps a bit more distorted, and, requisitely (as this is billed as “heavy metal”), louder. Keyboards prevail throughout the album, usually just to add another “layer” of traditional western harmony to the catchy “riffs;” they usually mimic the form of an orchestra, giving the band its highly coveted “Symphonic” label. From a vocal perspective, Sharon sounds virtually indistinguishable from the semi-attractive frontlady of pop crusaders Evanescence, and, on one track, plays vocal Frisbee with hard rock singer Keith Caputo in exactly the same manner as the immensely famous “Bring Me To Life.”

Unlike the recent few Samael albums, this pop actually works. It’s catchy and fun, and there can be no denial of its pleasing, aesthetic properties. However, is there anything beyond that; any sort of artistic, redeeming qualities at work here behind all the bubble-gum-nod-your-head-while-taking-a-bath values? No. Not a one. Clearly the audio engineering team is fantastic, and the production is bang-up perfect—but that’s not the point. Production has very little, if anything, to do with musical quality. I needn’t explain why.

Within Temptation were a very lousy Gothic Metal band in their early days; now they’re a pretty good pop band. I’m not actually sure which is worse.

If you really want a fun pop album with slightly louder-than-usual electric guitars, feel free to get The Heart of Everything. Just do not buy it. Please. Burn it from a friend or download it off the internet. Within Temptation do not need your money. Don’t pay for this Silver Pill.

Powerful...and surprisingly heavy - 92%

Swarm, June 6th, 2007

Ok, so it's not Mother Earth, and it's certainly not Enter. Within Temptation aren't quite the gothic, atmospheric doomsters they used to be. Nevertheless, this is another high quality album from the band, and a relief after the lacklustre Silent Force.

The most striking thing about this album is the sheer power of it. For the first time the band have managed to get the balance just right between Sharon Den Adel's brilliant vocals, the simple but evocative guitars, and the orchestral parts. Opener "The Howling" is probably the best example of this in action: listening to it is like being hit by a hurricane of sound. The guitars actually sound like they're from a *heavy* metal band rather than lurking around somewhere in the background playing in a metal style but very quietly, whilst the orchestra is still completely audible but playing second fiddle to the rock instruments. Sharon's voice meanwhile is stunning, and possible more evil sounding than it's ever been before.

Indeed, the other surprising feature of this album other than the heavier guitars are Sharon's vocals. She's as capable as ever, but seems to have experimented more with her range and technique, with good effect particularly on "Our Solemn Hour" and the title track. The rest of their band seem to have been working on their skills too, as there's even the odd guitar solo around. As always with Within Temptation though, it's the bands compositional skills that make the songs great rather than any kind of technical virtuosity.

Talking of composition, the band seem to have started writing longer songs again - they're certainly more accessible than they used to be, but since on average they tend to be at least five minute long they're still hardly radio friendly! Generally this tends to work in their favour, as each piece is a mini-epic in its own right rather than your typical verse-chorus-verse piece. In fact if anything "The Truth Beneath The Rose" feels like it's been cut somewhat short even at over seven minutes.

Of course, it's not perfect. The guest singer on "What Have You Done" really can be that annoying, and as such it's a pretty poor choice for first single and second song on the album. Things sag a little in the middle as there's a few songs in a row which sound fairly similar. On the whole though this is a great album, and in retrospect will probably one of the best of 2007.

WT with a bit more rock, but no bad thing - 80%

Tymell, May 28th, 2007

This album will divide fans massively, as is visible in the reviews so far. I know some people who love it, and some who despise it. Personally, I'm among the former, I think this is one of their best releases so far, with many good songs and no true failures. The thing that will divide people is that it -is- distinctly more rock-based. No, this doesn't mean Within Temptation have "sold out" or any such. It's just a new musical direction, and there's nothing wrong in that, because they pull it off very well. I don't care if a song is metal or rock, if it's a good song it's a good song, a genre should only ever be a rough guide, never the end all.

"What Have You Done" is simply one of the best songs I've heard in recent times, and I am truly stunned at the amount of hate it receives. Maybe I love it because at the time of hearing it, it echoed things I was going through personally to a tee, but that only shows me what a good song it is overall. Especially since, as far as I’m aware, Sharon herself was going through no such problems. The power, the flow, the lyrics, it all works beautifully. It truly blew me away in every sense.

The general sound is largely what you would expect from them, a mix of strong riffs and the gothic sound without some of the power metal leanings of the earlier work. I will be the first to admit that the sound has a nu-rock, evanescence tint to it, and as such I’d advise anyone who doesn’t like that steer clear. But if like me you don’t mind it, it’s a good album. It does offer some Evanescence sound, and for me that’s a good thing, because it’s still at the same time distinctly Within Temptation in it’s style, lyrical themes and mix of orchestra and guitars. It’s not as amazing as some might say outside this site, because hearing a mix of hard rock and orchestral symphony can sound so new to some that it gets more praise than it deserves. But there’s nothing inherently wrong with it, the songs are on par with their prior stuff.

Really there isn't really a duff track on here, it all fits in, and indeed the only minor criticism I’d make is that many of the songs do sound similar and thus listening all the way through can get a bit repetitive. It’s more something for dipping into. However, despite this you'll still find the powerful, riff-driven orchestral ones that are the staple of Temptation, and slower, more sombre ones to flesh it out. I'm glad of the slight change, as this style of music could become stale over time once it loses the initial strength. In continuing to move around, Within Temptation are staying ahead of the pack. Granted, it isn't truly amazing in the context of their previous work, but still a solid effort.

Basically it won't redefine the band totally, but that's nothing bad in truth, you can’t expect every album to do so. Sure, it gets a lot of criticism, but so do most things. If a band changes, some will naturally not take to the new sound. And if they don’t, some will grow bored. Thus I find far more respect for bands that just do what they wish and let those who like the music they make enjoy it. The Heart of Everything has a lot of solid songs on it (What Have You Done, The Howling, Heart of Everything itself) and is an interesting continuation of their development.

better than it's said to be - 90%

marier, May 28th, 2007

I honestly don’t see why this album is getting all the bad reviews. I think it’s a pretty good album. Sure it isn’t Enter, their best in my opinion, but it is still really good. Every Within Temptation record is different and has it’s own flavor. As fans of the band, you should know that already. And to set some records straight, this is not metalcore. It isn’t nu-metal, so why are we complaining. Bands evolve, and when they go 3 years without putting out a proper record, what do you expect? Sharon still sings with lots of emotion, and still has the voice of an angel. Isn’t that why we loved Within Temptation in the first place? Its not like they have ever been really technical or anything, they know how to play their instruments and really that’s all they need to know. Listen to it for what it is, not what you expected or wanted it to be. Art is about progression. So guess what? Deal with it. And by the way, this album is better than Lacuna Coil’s latest album, so don’t even try to compare it. Also it’s not an Evanescence rip-off so don’t say that either, Within Temptation bear no resemblance. If you really listen to it, you can hear similarities of their previous works.

So anyways, The Heart of Everything starts off with The Howling. The Howling was made for a videogame, and it talks about killing. Not exactly typical lyrical matter for Within Temptation, but it doesn’t even matter. It works… really very well actually. In this song, we hear a side of Sharon’s voice we have never heard before. Her first line sung is her high sweet voice layered over a deeper harsher voice. Even after multiple listens, the deep voice will not sound like Sharon. It’s not a bad thing though.

What Have You Done is a proper question to what the band were thinking when they decided to put Keith Caputo in their song. It just doesn’t fit. This is easily the worst song on the album. But hey, without Keith, it would be a nice song. We can blame Roadrunner for that. It was probably their idea anyway.

I guess I’m a sap. I like ballads, and that is why I love Frozen so much. It is very much a power ballad, just dripping with hope and feelings of helplessness. It’s kind of a contradiction if you ask me. But once again it’s pretty awesome. Once again, Sharon sings in a deeper voice, but not to the extremity that was reached in The Howling. It isn’t as harsh. Yup, this song is poppy, so what? That doesn’t make it a bad song. At least you can hear the guitars. It doesn’t matter though, I love this song.

Who says that WT isn’t going back to their roots? In Our Solemn Hour, if you listen close enough, you can hear Robert’s growls. He growls in the chorus “santus, espiritus”! We haven’t heard those since Jane Doe. You do really have to listen hard, they are pretty far back in the mix. That aside, it is a really catchy song.

The title track once again has Sharon singing in a harsh voice, but still not like in The Howling. It’s pretty cool actually. I do believe that Robert growls again in this song. That said, it’s just an ok song. Nothing special.

So, 5 songs into the album and we aren’t dead yet. Wow, what a surprise. Within Temptation have gone beyond the boundaries of what they have ever done before. Like I said earlier, they have never produced the same record twice. If there were like 10 Mother Earths, it’d get pretty stale. Same goes for the other albums. Now back to the reviewing.

Hand of Sorrow strikes me as if it could have been from Mother Earth. I’m not joking. The piano sounds like it was straight from Mother Earth. So does the orchestra, and the lyrics, and, well, it just sounds like it could have been from Mother Earth.

Another highlight on this album for me would have to be The Cross. It is a strange song. Catchy but strange. Those who missed Sharon’s semi-operatic singing will be quite pleased with the chorus of the song. The ah-ah-ah part is something new, never done before by WT. And there is the possibility of growls in this song, but I can’t be sure. If they are there, they are very far back in the mix. I mean really far.

Final Destination sounds a lot like A Dangerous Mind from The Silent Force. The choruses sound really similar. And the “can’t take it no more” makes me think of the b-side Blue Eyes from the What Have You Done single. When that line is sung, my mind plays a trick on me making me think that Blue Eyes is going to start playing. But it doesn’t and that sucks. This song seems to take liberally from other songs they’ve done. It doesn’t really make it a bad song, but still, when a song is similar to 2 other songs, well, that’s not the best thing. Besides, Blue Eyes is superior to this song (in my opinion). But I won’t start on that.

All I Need is a yawn. It is pretty and nothing more. It does remind me of Celine Dion and Chevelle. Yeah, strange huh? It isn’t exactly their best. It is one of the lesser songs on the album. A ballad not done right.

Oh my god! A 7 minute song! We haven’t heard one of those since Mother Earth, which this song kind of reminds me of. Well what a joy. It isn’t boring, and that’s good. There really isn’t much to say about it though.

The last song on the album is the calmest quietest song. Forgiven is a ballad. But it’s really gorgeous. It’s the kind of song that makes you feel like crying, not because it’s bad, but because of the emotion put into it. It’s just one of those songs. And it once again reminds me of something off of Mother Earth.

So, now that that is all over, how can you tell me that Within Temptation isn’t at least revisiting their roots, while still adding new elements to their music. A lot of the compositions sound like the ones off of Mother Earth, there are growls (even if they are back in the mix), and Sharon still sings high. I believe it is a pretty well done album and it seems to put all together what this band is all about. Besides, the cover art rocks!

A (almost) perfect album for the perfect band - 98%

Nights, May 4th, 2007

I must say that I was expecting this album like a crazy child waiting for his present during Christmas time. As A HUGE Within Temptation fan, I can't deny my disappointment with The Silent Force and how its songs turned out to be so poor compared to the previous albums. It’s easy to understand that I, just like many other fans, was expecting something to fulfill the "emptiness" left behind by The Silent Force (it’s not a bad album, but you must agree with me that it could be much better). Were our expectations fulfilled? Not just that, but also Sharon and the guys gave us one of the best albums of their whole career.

Some of you may say "But a lot of people say that the album is bad"! What are the reasons for The Heart of Everything being a bad album? It’s...commercial??? First of all, I find it a huge hypocrisy to say that something is bad because it is commercial. C’mon, I have a band I can say: who records a cd and doesn’t want money? Doesn’t want public, fans? Making music with our hearts, with emotion, do it for our love for the stuff is what matters! And do you know any singer who sings with more emotion as Sharon does? We have "The Howling", "Hand of Sorrow" and the absolutely amazing "Our Solemn Our" to prove that. In my opinion, it’s all about Withins popularity. It’s rising more and more every day, every day we have new fans and I’m happy to see one of my favorite bands, that I follow since their debut work, being so famous and respected, but not everyone thinks the same as me. Real fans would never stop liking Within because they are getting famous, they would be happy about it!!! There is no review that I ever read about The Heart of Everything that gives a REAL reason for saying that the band is commercial, not a single one!

The thing about the cd is: it will break your heart! You will hear the whole album and feel like crying and screaming. And it’s the best thing about it! I have never heard in my entire life such strong work. I don’t say its strongness is about the stile (I don’t need to say that Within isn’t even close to Heavy Metal, right?), but about the lyrics, the emotion of the band and mostly the rhythm itself. Choirs, Orchestras...a perfect harmony of the gothic lyrics and the music that just Within can do. You will fell crashed against a wall at the end of the album, and it feels so damm right!

One word to describe The Heart of Everything would be "feeling". The strength of the album is basically based on the feelings that the melody and the lyrics combined will deliver you. Nothing really surprising or new here, right? The point is: Within Temptation did it with such power and mastery that it turned out to be a very impacting work. Sharons voice is even better, the real "angels voice". The whole band has a huge harmony and the songs are the reflection of this: everything is so well done and worked in all the eleven songs that it gets close to perfection.

Why haven’t I rated the cd 100 instead of 98? Simple! As lots of people, I have to complain about the first single, "What Have You Done". It’s not a bad song, but it’s by far the worse of the cd. Now I have to agree about this being "popish", because it really is! Very well worked, not so bad lyrics, but still very pop for a metal band. The fact that it was chosen to be the first single made me think that the whole cd was going to be like this, so I was like "Jesus, Within Temptation has gone mad", what scared me a lot. Fortunately, The Heart of Everything turned out to be a great album, but you know, the first impression is the one that stays...

To finish this, I have to say: listen for yourselves and get an opinion. I’m here writing as an unconditional fan that loves the band and doesn’t cares a lot about it being famous or not (although, like I have said earlier, I would be really happy to see a band I like having lots of fans), even though some will judge the band just for being who they are and not for their work. I’m here reviewing music, not attitude.

The Evanescence of Within Temptation - 25%

jenx, March 25th, 2007

As WT's album The Silent Force was released and as it was receiving all those negative reviews about how commercial the band's music has become, I was one of those standing on their side, despite that I actually could partly agree with the critiques. But, on the other hand, I could still enjoy WT's music and there were some songs I even found great on the release. But now... now The Heart of Everything took away all my optimistic beliefs and made me admit that those who raised their voice on The Silent Force knew what they were talking about. I was a fool not to see... Within Temptation have gone Evanescence.

My first contact with The Heart of Everything was the single 'What Have You Done' with Mr. Caputo. I've written a review, rating it 20 percent, and was hoping that the band has just decided to release the worst song from their upcoming album as a single, that it was just a sad coincidence. Such an idiotic idea... Of course, then, after some time, I was given the chance to hear the first 4 or 5 songs of The Heart and all what I felt about them was a huge disappointment. None of the songs made me listen to it for the second time (and 'All I Need' not even whole for the first time). Moreover, it was the first time something like that happened to me, and I'm not talking about WT only. Every time (from such number of songs of this genre especially) I could find at least one point of one song that would be worth listening to again. I guess I had to experience situation like this as well... The worst thing about it all was that the songs were labeled "Within Temptation" and that just a little about my opinion changed after having heard the whole album.

So what made me rate The Heart as I did? Firstly, the commercial aim of their music that is undeniable at this point ('What Have You Done'), and so is the Evanescence feeling ('The Cross'). Then, the annoying number of so-called ballads included (especially 'All I Need', which is nothing more than a piece of pop crap, seriously); continuing with those stupid/shallow/meaningless/pop/mallcore lyrics ('What Have You Done') and – and that doesn't have much to do with the release, but – the 'image' the band is building. But I guess this has to be, if they're (successfully) trying to attract the 'big public scene'...

But yes, there is a reason for those 2,5/10 I've given them: the interesting album cover art... and then, their new website looks quite nice as well. It is The Heart of Everything-related, isn't it? No, seriously – there are some songs that would make it to the second listen if nothing better was available: 'The Truth Beneath the Rose', which has some interesting moments, but overall is just average; 'Our Solemn Hour', which I realized to be listenable after week or so; 'Final Destination' – for the sung parts and the 'heavier' feeling; 'Hand of Sorrow' – but just for personal reasons, the song itself is boring. But again: I'm talking mostly just about some parts of these songs.

But fortunately, there are some (although rare) moments resembling the 'old' WT and few other songs have a nice idea too, what makes them quite exceptional. (Well, but if we look into the past, where almost every song had its own feeling... – no, I shouldn't be trying to compare incomparable here.)

So, to make a conclusion, I'd say that with this release WT have shown us what direction they decided to take. And I'm afraid the Lacuna Coil syndrome is a incurable one. But what bothers me the most: it should be a crime to waste Sharon's amazing vocals on a release like this.

By the way, do you know whom will Within Temptation tour the USA with? Yes, Lacuna Coil.

The Ultimate Downfall - 30%

TrisanaCapchen, March 24th, 2007

I was very disappointed when I heard this album. I'm a fan of Within Temptation and their last full length album, The Silent Force impressed me, even though it's not heavy metal material. This album proves everyone who's been saying that Within Temptation are evolving into a pop band right.

The album starts off very badly at best. The Howling has very little of Sharon's serene vocals that were a highlight in past albums. In fact, it reminds more strongly than ever of Evanescence. This continues into the second track, What Have You done, featuring Keith Caputo. After that, we do get to listen to some of Sharon's vocals. Ballads, like Frozen are in plenty, but not in a negative effect, because I think they're the best songs in this album. One of the songs that remind me of Silent Force and Within temptation's better days is the closing track, Forgiven. I noticed that as it continues the album improves, so if you do buy it, try to bear the first few songs, because at later points it gets better.

The instruments in this album are just as good as in its predecessors. An improvement is that the bass is more easily heard than in other albums.

The lyrics is what I'm most disappointed in. They used to have fantasy or nature elements in the songs, but all I could hear in this album is shallow love stories with very few exceptions.

If this was the album of any other band, I would have given it 40% because it's not very enjoyable, but you can listen to it without thinking you're torturing yourself. But I had expected something much better from Within Temptation. This is one of the biggest disappointments music has given me. The only reason I continue to believe that Within Temptation is a good band and that they're going to return to their old ways, is that I'm a hopeless optimist.