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Within Temptation - 'Bleed Out'

Bleed Out

It has to be said, Within Temptation have evolved so much in their twenty-seven active years that they’re impossibly difficult to categorise now. Sure, there are still Symphonic and Gothic elements to their sound, but that manifests itself more in the overall ambience of their sound than the actual music. Even vocalist Sharon den Adel’s voice sounds hugely different to that of the earlier material; I admit I prefer her lower-registered vocals now. 2019’s ‘Resist’ album (their seventh) saw them push the envelope more than ever before, incorporating heavily synthesized and programmed textures. ‘Bleed Out’ continues that evolution.

‘Bleed Out’ is something of an unconventional album release for Within Temptation, as over half of the record has already been previously released over the past few years in single format, the first being ‘Entertain You’ as far back as the Covid lockdown in May 2020, and followed by ‘The Purge’ in November the same year; the album’s sixth single release ‘Bleed Out’ in August this year coincided with the album release’s official announcement. (The single ‘The Fire Within’ from December 2022 is not included as it was recorded in 2019 and is viewed by the band as an out-take.)

If I’m honest, I wasn’t overly enraptured initially by any of the single releases, but as an entire, eleven-song album I feel that the tracks work so much better, enhancing the collective mood of the piece. And though all of the songs have been recorded and released over an extensive period, they were recorded with the exact process and team, making it an extremely cohesive package.

It’s arguably WT’s heaviest album to date, both lyrically as well as musically thanks to their tackling of weighty subjects (most notably war, and Ukraine in particular), and while still partly reliant on the heavily synthesized elements of ‘Resist’, the aggressive Djent-inspired guitars that permeate through accentuate the dark and oppressive mood, though the overall heaviness and dark atmosphere is tempered with some amazing melodies. And yet, I must mention ‘Worth Dying For’, a rampaging track that blends the newer sound with their most commercial, Symphonic past, and signifies WT may not be willing to surrender their roots completely.

As artistic as it is forward-thinking, ‘Bleed Out’ may be a million miles away from Within Temptation’s beginnings, but it’s the perfect illustration of a band who will always strive to flourish – and do it spectacularly.


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