2014 is shaping up to be a huge year for Dutch metallers Within Temptation. February will see them head off on their huge world tour, which includes a date at London’s Wembley Arena, so what better way to kick start their adventures than with a typically brilliant release?
With five killer albums already under their belt, we had no doubt that number six – titled ‘Hydra’ – was going to follow suit. Right from album opener ‘Let Us Burn’ we’re greeted with Sharon den Adel’s gorgeously smooth vocals in battle with the gritty instrumentation that have become the band’s trademark. The track is just the infectious anthem we were expecting from the group.
The album is almost teeming with guest appearances from some huge and – err – diverse names. Killswitch Engage’s Howard Jones lends Sharon and co. his unmistakable vocals for contagious second track ‘Dangerous’, whilst Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum helps close the album with a stunning duet. The gravel in his voice blends wonderfully with den Adel’s soft tone and makes ‘Whole World Is Watching’ one of the most memorable tracks of the album.
Opera powerhouse and queen of metal herself Tarja Turunen appears for powerful lead single ‘Paradise (What About Us?)’, which has been exciting fans since its release back in August. In an unlikely union, American rapper Xzibit spits a verse or two over the moody ‘And We Run’. Yeah, we raised our eyebrows when we scanned the tracklist too, but it’s a duet that strangely works. In fact, this track is up there as one of our favourites of the album.
Anyway, enough about the killer duets this album contains and more about the band itself! Hydra merges the two sides of Within Temptation perfectly. The chugging guitars that opened the album subside momentarily for stripped back track ‘Edge of the World’, providing a break from the high-octane symphonies before it. Following track, ‘Silver Moonlight’, brings back the raucous and raging style that proves they’ve still got as much energy as ever. The album continues in this fluctuating fashion, showing the true versatility of the group.
If you weren’t already planning to catch Within Temptation on their forthcoming world tour, then this album will make you want to. Be sure to grab a copy of Hydra when it’s released on the 3rd February.
Reviewer: Freya Cochrane