Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Unforgiving | Within Temptation

For the past few years, I've been a huge fan of Within Temptation. Their music is known to change and evolve with time, and for some people this is a negative thing, but I like that they've explored different sounds. But, my reasoning still remains that everything they've done sounds fantastic, from their doom metal era, through a slightly celtic metal era, to pure symphonic metal/rock (or gothic metal/rock, depending on the opinion of the listener).

The Unforgiving is yet another powerful new sound, a concept album based off comics.

"Why Not Me" is the intro to the album. One of the characters from the comic, Mother Maiden, narrates as strings play behind her chilling voice. This is definately not my favorite of intros, but it does the album justice.

The first full song is called "Shot in the Dark" and it opens darkly, yet a bit more electronic than we're all used to hearing from Within Temptation. Its lyrics are different than typical Within Temptation lyrics, maybe a bit less poetic in the verses, but it's still them! I suppose that in a general way of putting it, this song is bouncier and more quickly-paced than anything that this band has ever done, and they do it right. I like it.

There are people who complain relentlessly that Within Temptation 'isn't metal anymore'. The track "In the Middle of the Night" proves them wrong. Awesome guitar riffs and eerie vocalizing opens the song, and the first lyrics ("I've been walking this road of desire/I've been begging for blood on the wall") tell us even before we get to the heavy chorus and bridge that there's no point in ever losing faith in Within Temptation. Get ready to bang your head.

Next, the first single from the album follows, "Faster." Again, this is a faster-paced track, and very cool and repetative, and certainly unlike "Fire and Ice," which follows. Strings open the song, with chords fitting for a horror film. Before we know it, Sharon's soprano voice and high piano notes interrupt this gracefully. This is the first mellow song from the album, and it is quite pretty. Eventually, it picks up, gaining drums and guitar. The song just grows and crescendos throughout, but it was consistantly beautiful.

Don't get scared, the next song is one of the heaviest from the album. "Iron" is sort of a tribute to the band Iron Maiden, as I have read in an interview. Power-metal, the Within Temptation way. I must commend the use of the brass instruments in this song, because normally they bug me in some music if they're overused, but this is epic. Speaking of epic, I think that's what they themed the bridge, where Mother Maiden's frightening narrations are heard against the empowering riffs.

"Where is the Edge" is sort of the balance between the band's newfound sound and their last album, The Heart of Everything. Symphonic rock, without a doubt. It's not my favorite song from The Unforgiving, but it's great nontheless, and I partiacularly favor the verses. Following that is "Sinead," the second single, about the main character from the comic. It is perhaps the catchiest from the album, and is very energetic. The violins in the bridge are dramatic and gorgeous, and the rest of the song is so lively and positive.

The ninth track became one of my favorites right away, and it's called "Lost." The guitar riffs (espcially electric, but the acoustic are memorable as well) and strings are moving, and Sharon's vocals are so beautiful as they soar above the guitars, as well as when she vocalizes and blends with them. Perhaps this is why I love this song so much - it's the only one on The Unforgiving where Sharon does her vocalizing that I've loved so much on all of the other Within Temptation albums.

"Murder" comes afterward, and Sharon's voice is disoriented in the verses, but come full force in the chorus. In fact, the chorus is actually my favorite part of the song. However in general, it's my least favorite track from the album, but it's still a good song, with a mysterious vibe. "A Demon's Fate" comes next, and Sharon is vocalizing again, so we already know that it's awesome! The power-metal guitars and chilling lyrics and violins make this song spectacular, and it's not far astray from the sound of their last album.

"Stairway to the Skies" is the final track, and it opens with dark guitar melodies and faint vocalizing. Very symphonic, kind of mellow but still rocking, and a great finish to a wonderful new album!

Sharon's voice, as previously mentioned, is different on this album, less operatic. Sure, I miss that, but that's what needed to happen for these perfect songs! This album is purely amazing! I fell in love with every song immediately. So try to disreguard the anti-new Within Temptation views and give The Unforgiving a try, because Within Temptation still are, and forever will be, an absolutely phenomenal band that doesn't disappoint.

5/5 Stars

Friday, April 15, 2011

Blogging For One Year

Okay, so maybe it's a little bit longer than a year, but at least I'm in the right month. From 0 followers to 12, from not having a Flag Counter to over 2,000 pageviews by about 70 different countries - The Critiquing Critica has evolved over this span of time. Yeah, I guess it was a good first year.

For about half a year before actually getting around to make this blog, I decided that I wanted to review the books I read, and maybe a few movies and CDs. Just to talk about them and share my general opinion. I had no idea that book blogging existed at the time. Heck, I wasn't even sure what a blog was! Well one thing led to another, and here I am, talking about my little blogging journey.

A lot has changed around here since April 6, 2010. First of all, my reviewing style has definately grown. Originally, I wrote a summary, one paragraph critiquing the writing of the book (or acting in the movie, etc.) and one paragraph about how I generally felt, followed by the star rating. Now, I go much further. In fact, my reviews are a bit too in depth and lengthy, but I don't want to leave anything unmentioned. I've always examined things closely, but now I notice more than ever, I am even more of a critic. Also, the blog got a make-over at some point, since Blogger had some new pretty templates to offer.

However, I got a little scared in my first year of blogging. I read a few things about the subject, and before I knew it, I was asking myself the question all the time: Will a publisher even give me the time of day, knowing I am basically a book blogger? For so long, I've wanted to have my work published someday, so I became terribly frightened, and actually considered giving up blogging forever. Soon, I figured out this would only happen if I bash people that I don't like (or if I just don't like their work), and quite frankly, I don't. Honestly, I think I'm fair. It's not often that I review something I have no nice things to say about, so why should I worry? In addition, when pondering this, I always came back to my original reasons for starting The Critiquing Critica, and I don't know how I lived before. How did I function, holding in my opinions on the books I read and movies I saw? Especially since I tend to go with what the minority of people like around here, I had no one to talk to about these things without boring them. That's why I blog.

So, I have officially celebrated my first blogging anniversery. Better late than never.