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The Unforgiving is the bands most diverse album to date, a dazzling tour-de-force of state-of-the-art hard rock, gleaming pop melodies, razor-sharp arrangements, and powerful, shadow-shrouded atmospheres. The Unforgiving is quite unlike any previous Within Temptation album. Every one of its 12 tracks boasts a huge, instantly memorable melody, and yet there is enormous diversity and versatility on display here, as the band move skilfully from the instant thrills of the anthemic "Shot In The Dark", the blissfully metallic "In The Middle Of The Night", and the soaring menace of first single "Faster," through to the epic bombast of Iron," the exhilarating drama of "Where Is The Edge" and the irresistible disco thump of "Sinéad."
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Then I tried the same procedure with "The Heart of Everything". The end result: 2 out of 13. But those 2 are really really good. And the other songs are good too, don't get me wrong. I just won't listen to them for the rest of my life.
So this brings us to "The Unforgiving". I decided to tweak my approach. I listened to all the songs repeatedly on Spotify until I could tell which ones might be lifetime keepers. Turns out I came up with 11 out of 15, an amazingly high proportion, perhaps higher than any album I've ever listened to. I figured it had to be because I was listening to the songs while multitasking and on my computer instead of my mp3 player which has way better sound quality. I was prepared to buy just the individual songs, but 11 individual songs would have cost more than the mp3 album itself, so I bought the album. Onto my mp3 player went the 11 songs, and for days now I have been listening to them over and over with my full attention. And they have held. I may retire one, not sure yet, though it has an awfully good guitar solo at the end and is pretty good all through. But even if I end up with ten, 10 songs out of 15 is amazing. And they are so good they are addictive. I crave them day and night, and I'm not exaggerating.
Within Temptation, what can I say - one of the best groups I have ever encountered in my life, which has gone on for almost 62 years now. Not that I've been able to convince anyone else my age to like them. So I'm not saying this is a group for people in late middle age. It's a group for anyone who appreciates cleverly written, relatively complex music that features great vocals, great guitar work, some symphonic instrumentation, and a metal but melodic sound.