Our top ten Within Temptation songs list looks at the work of a Dutch symphonic metal band who were formed in 1996 by vocalist Sharon den Adel and guitarist Robert Westerholt. As well as being classed as symphonic metal, they are also often classed as gothic metal. They released their debut album Enter a year after their formation in 1997. However, for the first few years of their existence, they remained an underground act, not getting any mainstream attention until 2001 when they released the single “Ice Queen” from their second album Mother Earth which got to number two on the Dutch charts. After this, much success followed, with them winning the prestigious Dutch music award the Contamus Exportprijs for the next four years in a row. Their next two albums, The Silent Force released in 2004 and The Heart of Everything released in 2007 both reached number one in the Netherlands. After this they released a live album titled Black Symphony in 2008 then a year later they released an acoustic live album titled An Acoustic Night At The Theatre.
When they released their fifth album in 2011 titled The Unforgiving , it was released along with a comic book and a series of short films which both shared the same story as the album’s lyrical concept. This album was their most adventurous musically and saw them venturing out of their established symphonic metal sound. In 2014, they released their sixth album Hydra which saw an even more experimental direction and it featured several guest vocalists such as former Nightwish singer Tarja Turunen, ex-Killswitch Engage vocalist Howard Jones and even surprisingly rapper Xzibit. In the UK a song taken from the album titled “The World Is Watching” which featured Soul Asylum vocalist Dave Pirner received heavy rotation on BBC Radio 2, a station not generally known for playing metal bands. Their latest album Resist was released in 2019.
Within Temptation’s rise throughout their career has been a very massive one, with them going from a cult band who were largely unknown outside of the Netherlands to now being one of the biggest and most successful bands in modern metal. The way that Within Temptation have always managed to stay relevant is by always progressing with their sound. Although some creative decisions that they have made have gained mixed reviews from critics, for the most part both the press and metal community generally appreciate their progressive approach to making music. Here is a list of their ten best songs.
# 10 – Mother Earth
Kicking off our top ten Within Temptation songs is the title track of their second album released in 2001. Over two decades after its release, it remains one of their signature songs. A music video was produced for the song which featured themes surrounding nature. The song is very epic sounding and would not sound out of place on the soundtrack to a fantasy film.
# 9 – Ice Queen
Up next is another track taken from Mother Earth. The song was the band’s breakthrough single and the second single to be released from the record. It has remained on the Dutch top 2000 since 2011. It is another track that is considered to be one of the band’s signature songs. There were two music videos produced for the song.
# 8 – Stand My Ground
Next up is the debut single taken from the band’s third album The Silent Force released in 2004. It was a very successful single, reaching high positions in several charts across Europe. It is yet another song that is considered to be one of the band’s signature numbers. It is one of many Within Temptation songs that bears quite a strong resemblance to Evanescence, a band that they are often considered to be similar to.
# 7 – Faster
This next song is the debut single from the band’s fifth album The Unforgiving released in 2011. It was on the Dutch Top 100 for thirteen weeks where it peaked at number eleven. The video for the song was filmed alongside a short film that the band produced titled “Mother Maiden.” It is a very good choice for a first single as it is catchy and accessible enough for radio airplay.
# 6 – The Howling
The last song on the first half of this list is taken from The End of Everything released in 2007. This song is a spooky number that takes on the lyrical concept of supernatural themes, namely about werewolves as the title would suggest. It is the kind of song that would very much suit the soundtrack to a movie that is about the same kind of concept.
# 5 – Paradise (What About Us?)
The first song of the second half of this list is taken from their sixth album Hydra released in 2014. It features Tarja Turunen the former vocalist of fellow symphonic metal band Nightwish. Both her and Within Temptation vocalist Sharon den Adel’s voices work beautifully together. A music video was made for the song which also featured Turunen.
# 4 – Iron
This track taken from The Unforgiving shows that Within Temptation still have their bombastic tendencies with this track that certainly takes inspiration from Iron Maiden. The song features a spoken word segment that is designed to further tell the story of the album’s conceptual theme. Although it was not released as a single, a music video was produced for it.
# 3 – The Reckoning
At number three is the debut single taken from the band’s seventh album Resist released in 2019 that features guest vocals from Papa Roach frontman Jacoby Shaddix. This track shows a different direction for Within Temptation, being more electronic influenced. It is the opening track on the album.
# 2 – Sinead
Just off the top spot we have a track taken from The Unforgiving that does not sound much like metal. Although it might sound like an unwise move, this track sounds more like a pop song but is very catchy and the band manage to pull it off surprisingly well. The song even had several dance remixes by the likes of Scooter and Groove Coverage.
# 1 – Angels
Topping this Within Temptation list is this track taken from The Silent Force. It is one of the band’s best known singles. It is easy to see why as this track was showing that they were very capable of writing very epic sounding material that was also very commercially accessible. It was very commercially successful across Europe, particularly in the band’s native Netherlands were it reached high places in several different charts.
Top 10 Within Temptation Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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