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Magical - 95%

My Rotten Soul, December 2nd, 2019

This is a great nostalgic piece of music for me. This is music for fans of music. From track 1's folk-influenced intro to the end of the album's beautiful climax, I will never get over my love for this. This is a album I had in my possession at a young age that I still find myself returning to due to the pure love and bliss it makes me feel.

I need to say it again: the opener is a excellent pice which still to this day leaves me in awe. It's a unadulterated symphonic metal piece reinforced with quaint 90s-style production. Sure the guitars aren't as remarkable as their earlier albums which predate this album, but I think out of all of Within Temptation's albums, this is my favorite of theirs due to all aspects including the production standpoint.

From what I gather, a lot of people do not like Within Temptation's calmer moments, but for me it's what makes this band recognizable and distinct to my ears. the calm parts, especially when speaking from the context on this album, are inspiring and remarkable in almost any passage on here. It enshrouds the listener in a ethereal transcendence which I can't describe.

I don't usually praise most drummers who are playing anything besides death metal due to the fact that I'm mostly a blast beat fiend hahaha, but I just have to talk about the drum performance here!! Ivar de Graaf's technique is one that I haven't heard in similar units such as Nightwish, early Evanescence or Lacuna Coil. The way he plays his snare while fluctuating to symbol strikes always leaves a strange hypnotic impression on me. It only makes me love this album more any time I pay attention to the percussion element. Did I also mention you can hear the bass guitar on here? I'm actually finding reasons to dislike this album at this point as I go on talking about it.

Guitar riffs are usually kept simple with a sort of doom or gothic metal kind of feel, which most would consider minimalistic but it's what I consider epic-sounding. You know those slow movie scores that come in while a onscreen magnificent moment in the film is shown such as a villain riding a big vessel or a a big monster sort of character being shown? Thats the sort of thing that I liken these guitar riffs to, they're slow and just in general 'epic' sounding for the same reason!

The fact alone that every track is different makes it a worthwhile piece that is meant to be heard from start to end. I didnt even touch on the part where I should mention that the mini folk parts are great and they never show up as much as you want them to. I believe that's the only fault this whole thing has; the fact that I want more haha. This album is the embodiment of great music and for me personally, the precious sweet nostalgic feelings attached make it even better.