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I apologise for the very low rating, but I truly feel extremely disappointed with this album. This is a totally unforgiving release from all perspectives!
I have been following Within Temptation from their excellent "Mother Earth" release. The band always had this unique symphonic rock/metal touch in their music and Sharon den Adel's amazingly beautiful and crystal clear vocals.
On this new release the band choose to throw away their sound and their unique approach to vocals as well. The best way to describe the music on the album is mainstream pop-rock bordering on glam-rock. I seriously got the feeling that I was listening to a rockier version of Avril Lavigne (no joke). Most songs sound the same, the songwriting is uninspired, there are electro elements scattered around and surprisingly most of the vocals sound like your above average pop-rock female singer. There are some catchy moments and some good guitar riffs at parts, but this is overall a very safe and radio friendly album which fully justifies the 'sell-out' accusations. As a side note this is definitely not a "metal" album.
The only noteworthy tracks (for me) are "Shot In The Dark" and the single "Faster". The first is a mid tempo ballad like track. It features a quire like intro, a few electro elements, mid range vocals, a brief guitar solo and a somewhat catchy chorus. "Faster" is a mid to slow tempo pop rock track with more guitar riffs and some modern sound effects. The chorus is a little more up tempo with keyboard backings and some more intense vocals by Sharon. Even though these 2 are the standout songs, they still pale in comparison to older fan favourites like 'Stand My Ground' and 'Ice Queen'.
The band's previous release "The Heart Of Everything" was also a step down, when compared to their masterpieces "Mother Earth" and "The Silent Force", but it still contained some very good songs, amazing vocals and preserved the band's sound/identity. This album is just disappointing from all perspectives. A shame...
(origianally written for: http://www.amazon.com)