Within Temptation – The Silent Force
Within Temptation seemed to basically perfect a grandiose symphonic metal with Mother Earth. Accessible melodies, Sharon den Adel’s remarkable vocals, and a hugely orchestrated sound made that album an impressive statement for fans of the style. Almost incomprehensibly, The Silent Force sees them making their sound even bigger: they make full use of a session orchestra and choir, and if Mother Earth wasn’t exactly down-to-earth, The Silent Force is practically stratospheric in its bombast.
It’s not the pretension that’s a bad thing, though. Rather, what makes this album a bit of a step down from Mother Earth are the compositions: musically, things seem to be even simpler than before, verse-chorus and predictable; and lyrically, Sharon den Adel’s words would fit in just fine on a lot of teen-angst emo records. Additionally, the style is starting to wear thin a bit, as some of the songs in the middle part of the album blend into one another, none of them distinguishing themselves or standing out. Part of this is den Adel’s vocals, which are less diverse than on Mother Earth, as she pretty much completely sticks to the pretty, angelic style without delving into her darker side at all.
One couldn’t accuse these guys of losing their melodic touch, though. If anything, the melodies here are catchier than ever, to the point that it’s hardly surprising that this album recently went platinum in the band’s home country. This is a double-edged sword, though; some of the songs are almost sickly-sweet (even despite the still-present metal crunch), they’re so catchy. In fact, sometimes The Silent Force almost sounds like Within Temptation imitating Evanescence imitating Within Temptation (plus lots of choirs and orchestral flourishes).
So the cheese factor is a bit higher, the sound is even more pretentiously huge, a bit of the edginess is gone, and den Adel doesn’t stretch out as far with her voice. It’s all just really slick, even more so than Mother Earth. Therefore: this album sucks, right? Well, no… I still like it despite all its perceived shortcomings; it’s perfectly competent and irresistably catchy, and I’m a sucker for the specific kind of heavily orchestrated “metal” that Within Temptation is best at. Hey, everyone has their weaknesses.