In a time where bands often adhere to established norms, setting predictable rhythms and sticking firmly to conventional trajectories, Within Temptation’s ‘Bleed Out’ emerges as an invigorating gust of fresh air. Looking into this album, we’re not just engaging with a collection of tracks; we’re witnessing the culmination of an odyssey, charting through highs, lows, and unforeseen global events.
The tale of ‘Bleed Out’ is intrinsically intertwined with its time. As the world grappled with the profound uncertainty and isolation of a global pandemic, many of us sought solace in familiar sounds and rhythms. For many, including myself, Within Temptation became that symphonic refuge. As live concerts dwindled and venues darkened, the anticipation was rife for their upcoming collaboration with Evanescence on the ‘When Worlds Collide’ Tour. Yet, like countless other plans, it was put on pause.
True to form, Within Temptation did not remain silent. Their response was not just to the void left by live performances but to the very essence of how music is traditionally released. Gone were the days of waiting with bated breath for years on end for an album drop. Instead, the band embraced a ‘waterfall’ style of releases. Tracks were introduced to the world in intervals, allowing each piece to breathe, be absorbed, and resonate before the next came along. This refreshing method, especially during such tumultuous times, felt less like an adaptation and more like a revolution.
This really isn’t an album from the pandemic, because many of these stories ring true and were specifically made with current world events in mind. And now, as October 20th looms closer, ‘Bleed Out’ stands ready for its grand reveal. For many ardent fans, a good portion of this album might ring familiar, thanks to the earlier releases. However, it’s the unfamiliar, the yet-to-be-heard tracks that pique my curiosity the most.
There’s something genuinely commendable about how Within Temptation continually pushes the envelope. Not just in their sound, which remains unmistakably theirs even as it evolves, but in their approach to the very art of music-making and sharing. In an era where many bands operate on almost clockwork cycles of creating, releasing, and touring, Within Temptation stands apart. Their audacity to challenge not just musical, but industry norms, is evident in their decision to step away from traditional record labels, to take the reins of their creations fully into their hands. The amazing virtual live show for example, comes to mind.
This album, ‘Bleed Out’, is not just an example of their musical genius but a reflection of their unyielding spirit and willingness to adapt, innovate, and lead. As I gear up to delve deeper into this album, particularly those tracks that remain new and unexplored, I’m reminded of the vast musical repository that Within Temptation has provided us over the years. It nudges one to revisit, re-listen, and rediscover.
After all, good music doesn’t just fade into the annals of time; it beckons, again and again, always inviting renewed appreciation. And with ‘Bleed Out’, some of theses tracks were like a rediscovery for me. Yeah, I can recall a few years ago when ‘Shed My Skin’ came out, and I’m happy to be reminded of it.
With “We go to war,” the band establishes an arresting introduction to their album ‘Bleed Out.’ The opening starts with its somber ambiance, punctuated by the occasional toll of a bell. This choice is as if it’s ushering them into a cathedral of sound. The symphonic elements the band is celebrated for are still very much present, harmoniously intertwining with industrial electronic elements which they have heavily taken up on the last few records.
This fusion offers an intriguing glimpse into the band’s evolution, striking a balance between their iconic soft symphonic roots and a more modern, edgy sound, fused with a dash of pop. It’s clear that the band has managed to evolve while retaining the essence of what makes them distinct.
Lyrically, with lines “The reality of cruelty in vain” paint a picture of surprise, disillusionment, and the harsh truths of whats going on. The mention of “our heart will be invincible” is a powerful declaration of resilience, echoing the indomitable spirit. The closing with the bells seems to bring the song full circle, providing closure to the track’s story.
“Cyanide Love” emerges as one of those songs that just instantly catchy. The track blends contrasting elements nicely, creating an almost magnetic allure. From its great melody to the striking guitar work, it hits you with a rare potency, balancing on a razor’s edge between tenderness and sheer power.
What strikes one instantly is the track’s ability to effortlessly interweave Sharon’s gentle, almost ethereal vocal touch with the unyielding force of the instrumentals. It’s like a dance between fire and water, where neither overpowers the other, but rather, they come together to produce a great song. The vocal melody, as catchy as it is, anchors the track. It has that stickiness factor, burrowing its way into the mind. It’s the kinda thing you find yourself humming it through out your day.
“Ritual” emerges as a bold deviation from Within Temptation’s typical realm, proving that even established bands can make daring leaps and land confidently on both feet. This track can best be labeled as a robust pop anthem. Drawing inspiration from the cinematic realm, Sharon alludes to Quentin Tarantino’s cult classic “From Dusk Till Dawn.”
The movie, renowned for its dramatic shift from a crime drama into a vampire horror, is an apt parallel. Just like the film’s unexpected turn, “Ritual” surprises, moving away from the expected and into the realm of the new. Sharon’s description of the song as a spirited anthem about seduction, where a woman reclaims power in a male-dominated setting, adds layers of meaning to the music.
It’s a refreshing endeavor, seeing bands veer off the well-trodden path, especially when the departure is as successful as this. While change can sometimes alienate a fanbase, Within Temptation showcases an uncanny ability to morph while retaining the essence that fans adore. Their sound evolution, from album to album, has been organic, with their identity remaining intact. It’s this very consistency in their artistic integrity, coupled with their willingness to innovate, that enables such ventures to be well-received.
A considerable part of this track’s allure can be attributed to Sharon’s impeccable vocals. Her voice is both a familiar anchor and a dynamic force, adaptable to any genre or style. On “Ritual,” she truly shines, lending the song its unique character. The atmosphere of the song is lively, pulsating with energy, and Sharon’s vocal gymnastics further elevate the overall experience.
“Ritual” stands out as an audacious experiment that pays off. It shows Within Temptation’s ability to continuously redefine themselves while staying true to their core. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a casual listener, this track offers something fresh, proving that sometimes, change is not just good – it’s exhilarating.
‘Unbroken’ is the final track on the album, With its expansive duration of just over five minutes, the track offers an ample canvas for the band to really shine, and thus far for this track and all the new material, they have. It feels like a fitting epilogue. It encapsulates the themes, emotions, and sounds explored throughout the album.
Beyond the tracks we’ve deeply delved into, ‘Bleed Out’ is peppered with a plethora of gems that have already made their mark in the ears and hearts of many. Songs that had been sprinkled throughout the year have found their rightful place in this album, seamlessly integrating into the cohesive narrative the band has masterfully crafted. It’s great to see them bring up some many of the topics and issues that are going on in the world today.
Each track, whether it’s an earlier release or a brand-new offering, stands showcases the band’s ability to strike a chord, both musically and emotionally. There’s a delicate balance achieved between the classic Within Temptation sound we’ve grown to love and the fresh, innovative approaches they’ve embraced. They’ve given us a great reflection of the times, a response to the world around them, and a glimpse into their evolving artistic souls with this release.