Goth metal meets ABBA on Within Temptation’s new album

Chloe Kirkpatrick

If Evanescence and ABBA had a baby, it would be Within Temptation. The Dutch band awkwardly combines melodramatic middle-school goth rock with string and horn parts that sound more like 70s pop than metal.

According to the band’s website, their new release, “The Unforgiving,” is a concept album based on a comic book about a medium named Mother Maiden who recruits lost souls to fight evil as penance for their own sins. The album begins with an eerie, yet oddly optimistic intro, “Why Not Me,” in which Mother Maiden claims, “Someone has to take a stand against evil/why should it not be me?” The rest of the album carries out the comic book concept more loosely than the intro with each of the songs telling the stories of different “lost souls” and their struggles.

Every song on the album sounds basically the same; the singer’s voice soars over loud guitars and strangely poppy strings. The band has been described as symphonic metal. Though their lyrics deal with demons and lost souls, their sound is not very dark. The more upbeat songs on the album, including “Faster” and “Sinéad,” are especially reminiscent of 70s pop music.

Sharon den Adel, the lead vocalist, is admittedly talented, but her soaring vocals are repetitive and unoriginal. Anyone who doesn’t make a habit of listening to melodramatic goth pop might easily mistake her vocals for those of Evanescence’s Amy Lee. The repetitiveness of Within Temptation’s songs wouldn’t be such a problem if every song weren’t so long; the album is almost an hour long and six of the twelve songs are more than five minutes long.

For the most part, this album is not good. It’s repetitive and the string parts are cheesy. Even for a concept album about a comic book, the lyrics are almost laughably bad. The second-to-last track on the album, “A Demon’s Fate,” contains lyrical gems such as “From the ashes of hate/ It’s a cruel demon’s fate/ On the wings of darkness/ He’s returned to stay/There will be no escape/ Cause he’s fallen far from grace.”

The standout track was “Lost,” a softer song that had nice moments of Spanish-style guitars and strings that actually complimented den Adel’s vocals. Other than this one decent track, the album was not enjoyable.