on March 29, 2011
1."Why Not Me"- It's a just a short introduction and not a song. Mother Maiden introduces the listener to the album and the story ahead.
2."Shot In the Dark" The first track of the album is a nice introduction to the sort of music to expect through the rest of the album. It's a rock song through and through and harkens back to the 80's sound the band talked about being influenced from for this album. Sharon sings in her more medium register, which she carries through the rest of the album. About three minutes into the song is a nice, slower bridge before a beautiful guitar riff, really allowing Ruud to show-off his skills.
3."In The Middle of the Night" The second song of the album takes their sound in a different direction. Beginning with heavy guitar, this song will sound amazing live. Sharon's vocals are superb and I love how she is always trying something new with her voice. The story continues here through the concept and I think it is clear that there is excitement in the story now. It has a catchy and beautiful chorus and is probably one of their heavier tracks. At point 2:58, there is a beautiful guitar riff and sound that makes the song unique. Definitely one of my favorite tracks.
4."Faster" Being their lead single, you've probably heard it before. Faster is a wonderful rock track and carries on the story. Reminiscent of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game," it has that 80's inspiration Sharon spoke of. Overall and good and fun track that pushes along the story of Sinéad
5."Fire and Ice" The album slows down here for a beautiful ballad. The song starts of slow, and at about 1:49 picks-up more as Sharon continues her beautiful singing. I like this song very much, it has a more orchestral and epic feel to it and reminds me of older Within Temptation tracks.
6."Iron" The album picks-up again with this song, as I am sure the story does too. It has a very catchy chorus and sounds like another song that will sound amazing live. Within Temptation is one of those bands that makes their songs sound better live than they do on the album. At about 3:27 Mother Maiden speaks again and continues the story along, and then the song falls into some epic music, chorus, orchestra, and guitar. Ruud once again has a chance to really show-off his skills.
7."Where Is the Edge" This song first premiered at the end of 2010 with the trailer of a movie. It's not a bad song, but I feel it is one of the weaker ones of the album. It's catchy, it has a great chorus, and compared to a lot of music out today, this song is brilliant and beautiful, but compared to the rest of the album it is not a stand-out song. Sharon's vocals are beautiful and the rest of the band plays well.
8."Sinéad" The second single from "The Unforgiving," Sinéad once again takes us to a different sound for Within Temptation. The story seems to pick-up here. It sounds like things went bad for Sinéad and they're about to get better. It's a disco beat, and unlike most Within Temptation songs, you could actually dance to this one. The 80's influence is hard to miss here, with the bass beat and it reminds me of the Culture Club's "Karma Chameleon." A wonderful upbeat track, and something new and fun. Within Temptation shows they can experiment, while still sounding like "Within Temptation." Not to mention there's a beautiful orchestral section fit into a disco sounding song.
9."Lost" As we get to the end of the album, in my opinion we begin to hear the best songs. The album slows down here again for a beautiful ballad, where we really get to hear Sharon show us what her voice is made of. This song could very well make a beautiful acoustic song, and as we have seen with their last live album release, they like acoustic. At a concert, lighters would be waving to this song as Sharon really belts it out, Help me I'm buried alive! Buried alive! I know Sharon has a beautiful soprano voice and shows that in all their previous albums. She can even go opera if you just listen to "Caged," but in this song she belts, and I can't think of many songs she belts for us. Ruud once again gets to show off his guitar skills toward the end of this power ballad. A very beautiful song.
10."Murder" We pick it up again here for one of my other favorite songs on this album. I would assume that the story is really coming to a close here and Sinéad has done something insane. Perhaps murdered someone? That aside, the song is intense. It sounds like it's meant to be watched with a crime and murder movie from the 1940s. The catchy riff gains your attention, and although they mess around with Sharon's voice a little for effect, it doesn't take away from the song, and in fact it adds to the mystery. The chorus is beautiful and symphonic, but my favorite part has to be the creepy choruses that raise their voice through parts of the song. It gets the skin tingling. About 2:45 into the song is a nice bridge and more nice guitar riffs.
11."A Demon's Fate" Things stay hot and heavy here as we head to the end of the story. Another guitar filled song with Sharon's beautiful voice taking the stage. Probably one of the more epic and orchestral songs of the album, it still holds onto the rock feel of the rest of the album. Again, another nice and catchy chorus, and Sharon sounds great as she uses her voice throughout the song to deliver beautiful vocals and carry on against the music. Another beautiful guitar solo at the about the 4:20 mark, and a great final heavy song to the album.
12."Stairway to the Skies" This is my favorite song on the album. A beautiful, piano driven ballad that closes off the story. Sharon sounds beautiful as she sings of the end. One should assume that things have not gone well for Sinéad, or perhaps another character. I don't know why I love this song the most, but perhaps I just feel it grip at the heart. For someone who has ever lost someone, it's easy to relate to. But even if you haven't, this song sounds like the end of a beautiful movie, and the main character just died and is staring at heaven, waiting for an entrance in. The music is worthy of a movie soundtrack, and the attention of the listeners. I think this solemn track is a great finish to the album, mostly because it fits a story that I can't wait to read.
13."I Don't Wanna" (Bonus Track) The first bonus track on the digital Special Edition. I can see why it wasn't included on the album, it doesn't fit the nice flow of the rest of the songs, and I don't think stands out as much. However, it's still not a bad song and is enjoyable enough.
14."The Last Dance" (Bonus Track) This song is one of those bonus songs that deserved to be on the album, but for the sake of the concept, I can see why it didn't. Sharon finally sings in her higher register here and sounds beautiful. It has a different feel to it than rest of the songs on "The Unforgiving" and harkens back to "Mother Earth" and "The Silent Force" sounds. There also seems to be a Native American musical influence in this song, which is interesting. Nightwish went this direction with Creek Mary's Blood, and this is Within Temptation's take. Very beautiful, and worth a listen.
15."Empty Eyes" (Bonus Track) The final bonus track of the album, is another new sound. Like all the bonus tracks, I see how it might not fit the overall flow of the main portion of the album; however, also like the rest of the bonus tracks, I think it's a wonderful song. I'm glad they didn't just let it get buried on the cutting room floor. It reminds me of Lacuna Coil a little, but not so much I'd say it's a Lacuna Coil song. Worth listening to.
Conclusion: It's been 4 years since Within Temptation has released anything new (aside from the song `Utopia') and it was a long time coming. The announcement that they were doing a concept album got me excited, even though I didn't know what sort of concept they had in mind. I like the comic book idea, it's not used that often, and it really allows the listener to know the story the songs follow. As for the album, I think it's very good. It's different from their earlier work, but one thing Within Temptation doesn't do, is the same thing twice. Enter and the Dance are different from Mother Earth, as Mother Earth is different from The Silent Force, and the Silent Force is different from The Heart of Everything. For first time fans, it's a great introduction to the band, if you're not a fan of the larger symphonic sounds of their earlier music, and for old fans, it's another great release from a great band, if you're willing to accept that they will never make Mother Earth or The Silent Force again.