Rating:
8.6
Within Temptation - The Unforgiving
25 March 2011


Disc I
01. Why Not Me
02. Shot In The Dark
03. In The Middle Of The Night
04. Faster
05. Fire And Ice
06. Iron
07. Where Is The Edge
08. Sinéad
09. Lost
10. Murder
11. A Demon's Fate
12. Stairway To The Skies
13. I Don't Wanna [bonus]
14. The Last Dance [bonus]
15. Empty Eyes [bonus]

Disc II [special edition bonus DVD]
+ Movies & Music
    1 - Faster
    2 - Sinéad
    3 - Shot In The Dark
    4 - The Making Of…
    5 - Where Is The Edge
    6 - Utopia [featuring Chris Jones]
+ The Unforgiving: The Prequel
+ Credits & Facebook Fans


In the blink of an eye, 4 years have passed since the not-so-critically-acclaimed The Heart Of Everything. Being lambasted for being sold out and radio oriented, it was also the metal album that drew my attention to the genre of music called heavy metal. Having moved on to other more obscure spectrums of the genre, it has been a couple of years since an album with the symphonic metal tag slapped on it came out that I can truly enjoy. With an album cover that seems to cater towards a much younger audience and an announcement about a concept album based on some comic series, I confess that my expectations couldn't have been lower.

Perhaps that's why low expectations are usually a good thing, because I was pleasantly surprised when I made my first casual spin of The Unforgiving when it came out. Excluding the musically not-so-relevant intro track, I immediately found myself enjoying the album, in particular when I heard the chosen single "Faster" for the first time. As it wore on, the smile on my face became more and more apparent. Make no mistake (especially for those who are still sitting on the fence as to whether to listen to The Unforgiving or not), those of you hoping for a return to Enter era's gothic style with some growls can continue to dream; those thinking The Heart Of Everything is too commercial can jump off a cliff instead of listening to this latest effort. Point is, Within Temptation has gone even more accessible to the point where even my great grandma (whom I've never had the pleasure of meeting) would approve. The face and body heart and soul of the band, Sharon den Adel is still as capable as ever, delivering a powerful rock-style performance that's also emotive as per their previous effort, and showing no signs of tiring despite giving birth not too long ago. The symphonic arrangements are still as present as ever, yet it's clear that the rest of the arrangements sound more "modern". Now, I know the word modern can have a negative implication, but this time it's for the better, not to mention it blends well with the classical sound.

As I have given the album a cooling off period before returning to it, I have to credit Robert Westerholt for writing some catchy and memorable tunes that have quite a lot of staying power. This also illustrates how other me-too female fronted symphonic metal acts still have a long way to go in the song writing department. Within Temptation has strayed quite far from their gothic metal roots, but nevertheless, The Unforgiving is a standout modern symphonic rock record which I shall continue to enjoy.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Production: 9


Band profile: Within Temptation
Album: The Unforgiving


 



Written on 14.11.2011 by
Ag Fox
Ag Fox loves listening to music but is far from being a prolific writer. This corner just shows how territorial he is.
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BudDa - 14.11.2011 at 17:19  
Meh. This album is bad. I have not listened to alot of Within Temptation and like you this was my first full length that I have wholly listened to. I just couldn't enjoy it the way you did. The album just sounds dull and half of the time just down right boring. And that "disco" sound really annoys me to no end!
K†ulu - 14.11.2011 at 17:29  
Good description = good review. At least I know I am as not interested in checking this out as I was before.
Angel_Lament - 14.11.2011 at 17:43  
A really good review for such an amazing album, I too had a very low expectation for this, that I was pleasantly surprised when I listened the first time...still, the cover artwork looks really bad!!
mariano - 14.11.2011 at 17:48  
I'm afraid I can't agree on anything you wrote other than having low expectations because of the cover artwork.
Also, I would just tag it as pop instead of "modern"...

BTW, you shouldn't credit too much Westerholt for the catchy tunes: Do you remember the 80's hit Wicked Game, well Faster is just a copy of it, as there are also many other not so obvious stolen melodies in this album.
Dark†SymphonY - 14.11.2011 at 17:50  
This album could have been much worse, its good, but just good and its not completely bad either. Lost and Shot In the Dark are the highlights for me.
silenius - 14.11.2011 at 17:53  
The whole album sounds like the set-list for the next eurovision song contest. They have merged symphonic metal with pop to the degree that they have invented a new genre, symphonic petal, i don´t wanna live on this planet anymore
ZGoten - 14.11.2011 at 20:24  
It's a shame. They did such wonderful music back in the day. It was never really metal, except for the first album maybe, but always very emotional. This however, I'm sorry, but it's more or less garbage in my opinion.
Troy Killjoy - 14.11.2011 at 20:35  
Listened to a song on Youtube. Hit that fancy x in the top right corner before it finished.
Slayer666 - 14.11.2011 at 21:30  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 14.11.2011 at 20:35

Listened to a song on Youtube. Hit that fancy x in the top right corner before it finished.

Yeah, right. Sharon has a message for you, nancy boy:
I CAN'T LIIIIIIIIVEEEE IN THIS FAIRYTAAAALEEEEE OF LIIIIIEEEES! (the chorus from "Faster", just in case you're confused)

Kidding aside, this is probably the review I disagree with the most in recent memory. The album just plain sucks.
Luc - 14.11.2011 at 22:10  
I like this album.
The Shape 1973 - 14.11.2011 at 22:30  
I agree with the review. It sums up exactly where the band have taken thier sound too. I know Silver Foxy likes their last album a lot and I didn't necessarily agree with him on that, but this album is miles better.

It is no longer metal, it even may not be rock anymore, but when music is this pleasant to listen to then who cares. The 80s vibe runs right through it. The 80s had some of the best pop music and I started to listen to music about this time so I get it.

The Silent Force is my favourite album of theirs, but this comes close. How about a full UK tour to support it.
Susan - 14.11.2011 at 22:40  
This is an excellent album but only for those who don't mind a bit of pop when done well. WT does it very well indeed!!

A very fair review. I agree with most things you said but I don't feel like you captured the spirit of the music. When I think of this album I think of the band's high energy, the driving rhythms always pushing forward, and the nostalgic 80s vibe. It's not just pleasant and commercial rock, it's so much more
Ag Fox - 14.11.2011 at 23:49  
Written by BudDa on 14.11.2011 at 17:19

And that "disco" sound really annoys me to no end!
I loved it haha
Written by mariano on 14.11.2011 at 17:48

I'm afraid I can't agree on anything you wrote other than having low expectations because of the cover artwork.
Also, I would just tag it as pop instead of "modern"...

BTW, you shouldn't credit too much Westerholt for the catchy tunes: Do you remember the 80's hit Wicked Game, well Faster is just a copy of it, as there are also many other not so obvious stolen melodies in this album.
well, I did say it being very commercial and something so easy on the ears that even great grannies can enjoy. That's pop, right?
No, I didn't know about Wicked Game, thanks for telling about it (= But I think tracks like Shot In The Dark, In The Middle Of The Night, Where Is The Edge, Sinead are all very catchy (as in I can remember the tune just by looking at the track name) too. So crediting him is not such a bad thing too imo
Written by K†ulu on 14.11.2011 at 17:29

Good description = good review. At least I know I am as not interested in checking this out as I was before.
Thanks for reading and complimenting! [=
Written by Angel_Lament on 14.11.2011 at 17:43

still, the cover artwork looks really bad!!
I agree lol
Written by silenius on 14.11.2011 at 17:53

The whole album sounds like the set-list for the next eurovision song contest. They have merged symphonic metal with pop to the degree that they have invented a new genre, symphonic petal, i don´t wanna live on this planet anymore
you don't have to listen to it. As mentioned above, I did describe it as being very commercial
Written by Troy Killjoy on 14.11.2011 at 20:35

Listened to a song on Youtube. Hit that fancy x in the top right corner before it finished.
Knowing you, I would think you would have instead started to find semi-naked pics of the vocalist >.>
Written by Slayer666 on 14.11.2011 at 21:30

this is probably the review I disagree with the most in recent memory. The album just plain sucks.
haha, each to their own dude
Written by The Shape 1973 on 14.11.2011 at 22:30

I agree with the review. It sums up exactly where the band have taken thier sound too. I know Silver Foxy likes their last album a lot and I didn't necessarily agree with him on that, but this album is miles better.
thanks! and good memory too! I do think The Unforgiving is better than The Heart Of Everything too
Written by Susan on 14.11.2011 at 22:40

A very fair review. I agree with most things you said but I don't feel like you captured the spirit of the music. When I think of this album I think of the band's high energy, the driving rhythms always pushing forward, and the nostalgic 80s vibe. It's not just pleasant and commercial rock, it's so much more
well... Being born in 1988, can't say I have listened to a lot of 80s stuff > <
dismaleuphony - 15.11.2011 at 01:45  
Nice to see a review here, though I feel also that it does not give any indication to the feel of the album, particularly since the rating is so high. Of course I'm not disagreeing with the review, as I've made it quite apparent in a few posts related to things off this album how much I love it But, for me, with songs like "Sinéad," which has enough energy to be outright danceable, the review just makes me feel like checking it out only because I know I already like this kind of music to begin with...

But, then again, I should probably be just thrilled someone else has a high opinion of this album considering a few of the comments on this page Also, I strongly do not agree that this is a take on the Chris Isaak song "Wicked Game," as all the trolls on the internet/youtube seem to think.
farfaramir - 15.11.2011 at 07:33  
It's not as bad as people say, but it's mediocre considering we are talking about Within Temptation. For me, it's not important if it's the most pop/rock/commercial album in the world, even if you accept this and you don't have problem with it, the album is still mediocre with some little highlights (In the Middle Of The Night or A Demon's Fate maybe)...
posthumous shock - 15.11.2011 at 11:31  
I agree with this review. Within Temptation has apparently moved toward a direction that is quite obscure, and can I say therefore appear "monstrous" to some metallers?
Instead of putting the new elements as commerical pop (which always implies dismiss), I prefer to consider them hybrid. Within Temptation's metal and symphonic taste did not disappear; it's just that there is something more, somethng that makes The Unforgiving sounds not quite metal (in this sense of what we commonly consider metal). But to be fair, no longer metal? I don't think so. It's a hybrid that we haven't come up with a name and don't know what to do with it.
I'm not arguing that Within Temptation has achieved something (since being commerical has always been their trait). I just think its a pity to ignore this alnum's merit simply because of the "popular elements." Musical genres constantly appropriate each other, that's how music develop and surprise us, for the better or for the worse.
MétalNoir - 15.11.2011 at 17:39  
At least it can't be worse than Tarja's solo so-called "career".
Ivor - 15.11.2011 at 23:14  
For some reason I have to side with the positive camp. Didn't expect it at all after the first listen but it grew immensely on me very soon and I'd say I pretty much love this album. I'd say it's the metal equivalent of easy listening.

I.
Angel_Lament - 16.11.2011 at 11:56  
Written by dismaleuphony on 15.11.2011 at 01:45

Nice to see a review here, though I feel also that it does not give any indication to the feel of the album, particularly since the rating is so high. Of course I'm not disagreeing with the review, as I've made it quite apparent in a few posts related to things off this album how much I love it But, for me, with songs like "Sinéad," which has enough energy to be outright danceable, the review just makes me feel like checking it out only because I know I already like this kind of music to begin with...

But, then again, I should probably be just thrilled someone else has a high opinion of this album considering a few of the comments on this page Also, I strongly do not agree that this is a take on the Chris Isaak song "Wicked Game," as all the trolls on the internet/youtube seem to think.

+1
quirin - 16.11.2011 at 12:20  
This album is pop.
WT should be banned from MS for this disgrace.
Troy Killjoy - 16.11.2011 at 20:07  
Written by quirin on 16.11.2011 at 12:20
This album is pop. WT should be banned from MS for this disgrace.

Gotta love close-minded metalheads...
Taty - 17.11.2011 at 21:55  
Pop??? LOL I love how when something is not pure metal some people immediately refer to it as "pop"...

Here the album is at least ROCK, with metal touches here and there, particularly on "In the middle of the night".

I'm such a fan of their songs on Enter, or The Dance... They were tremendous in this style. Here it's different, but does it mean it's rubbish?? I hate people who just bash artists.

This new WT album is basically more rock than metal, it's not symphonic but melodic, it's very energetic, even the few ballads are strong not mellow, it has nice song structures despite the apparent simplicity, catchy melodies, yet on some titles a dark touch...

I love the songs "A shot in the dark", "In the middle of the night", among the darkest of the album, also "Faster", and "Sinead", nice rock song with an 80s touch...

I think the album is not very original on its whole, but there is some good work on it.
mario132 - 01.02.2012 at 02:32  
Maybe it was because of girl I really wanted to meet from the long time, and I did, and she told me that Within Temptation is her favourite band. I've never been in to such 'nice' stuff but I might say this album was the part for a big change in my life and easy to say the most important record for 2011.
Wes - 15.03.2012 at 08:49  
I adore this album.

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