Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Paradise (What About Us?) EP | Within Temptation

After postponing the release of their upcoming LP to January of 2014, Within Temptation has given us the Paradise (What About Us?) EP, which is titled after the future album's first single. In addition to the single, three demos of songs that will be included on the full-length album are featured, giving fans a taste of what to expect from the future LP and easing the pain of waiting.
The lead single is the first track on this little EP. "Paradise (What About Us?)" is a duet with former Nightwish singer Tarja Turunen, and it's a heavier single than one may expect, especially since the singles from their last album, The Unforgiving, were a bit  more mainstream than usual. Still, it's a great single choice with its catchy string line and high-profile collaborator. It's hard to stop listening, and it's hard to keep from singing along. Within Temptation's Sharon den Adel and Tarja may be very different singers, but they sound great together on this powerful track. Tarja's vocalizing seemed to morph into the general instrumentation; vocalization in that sense has been one of my favorite elements of Within Temptation, and it's what I missed most on The Unforgiving. I truly hope that the extra vocal line written for Tarja is a sign that den Adel will get plenty of opportunities to do so on the upcoming LP.

The first of the demos we've been privileged to hear on this EP is called "Let Us Burn," and it sounds amazing in this unfinished form. The opening riffs are so dark and epic, and much like during Within Temptation's first album Enter, that cool part is repeated a few times, as if the band actually realizes that it'd be the best part. That part is the basis of the chorus, and Sharon den Adel's voice hits some impressive notes considering she's using her chest voice. (She typically switches to the upper register.) The verses are interesting enough with a subtly dark feel, and the middle eight is very prominent; den Adel's voice is distorted amid driving guitars and a male choir, but then the whole thing just explodes. "Let Us Burn" is fantastic; it's like a combination of The Heart of Everything and The Unforgiving.

But there are more throwbacks on this EP. "Silver Moonlight" brings back Robert Westerholt's grunts, which haven't been heard in Within Temptation's music since the song "Jane Doe" nearly ten years ago. I never thought I'd say this, but it sounds like a combination of Enter and The Unforgiving... Weird combination, I know. Though it starts out mellow, it's a fast-paced, heavy track, and den Adel pushes her vocal limit in the pre-chorus, practically yelling "NO!"

Our small preview of what to expect of the LP coming in January ends with "Dog Days," which is basically the ballad of EP, but it isn't particularly a slow song per se. It's very atmospheric in the verses, but guitars come in during the chorus. I was a bit caught off-guard by the vocals in the chorus; we run into yet another throwback. In their earlier music, I always thought Sharon den Adel's voice was so eerie and shrill, and I haven't heard her quite like this since Mother Earth. I must say, I'm quite happy we get to hear her sing in that way again, though her voice sounds good no matter what she's doing with it. The song itself sounds very emotional, and I really like the chord progression at the end of the chorus. I'm especially excited to hear what this will sound like on the LP since I imagine the instrumentation will definitely change up a bit.

So, that's it from Within Temptation for now, and I must say I'm very pleased with the direction they're headed musically. Just about any fan can find something they like on this sample EP, for Within Temptation are creating something completely new while paying homage to their past sounds. I was definitely not disappointed in what this EP had in store; it's making me even more excited for the new album. Since the demos and lead single sound great, I can confidently predict that this new album is going to blow everyone away. I can't wait to hear it!

Until then, we all must enjoy this EP. It is, after all, very solid material.

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