ALBUM REVIEW: Within Temptation – Resist

Release Date: February 1st 2019
Label: Spinefarm Records
Website: www.resist-temptation.com
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Rating:

‘Resist’ marks Dutch symphonic rock act Within Temptation‘s seventh studio record since forming back in 1996. Founding members – vocalist Sharon den Adel and long-term partner and guitarist Robert Westerholt – have openly admitted having had encountered struggles since previous record ‘Hydra’ was released in 2014. Yet, despite these circumstances (and a small production delay at the tail end of 2018), this new record is now seeing the light of day.

‘The Reckoning’ kickstarts the album with a real statement of intent, blending a gentle horn introduction into an anthemic soundscape with a chorus full of weight and broodiness. There’s also super interplay between den Adel and guest vocalist Jacoby Shaddix (Papa Roach), with a delivery that soars with huge levels of emotiveness.

‘Endless War’ continues with the emotive slant, displaying a chorus that pulls on all of the heartstrings, whilst ‘Raise Your Banner’ turns the tide with a heavy, electronica-led introduction and the odd ferocious scream from another guest vocalist (Anders Friden of In Flames) peppering the background. It’s not just about the sonic dynamic and vocals on show here; Westerholt and Stefan Helleblad produce a stunning instrumentational attack here coupled with a dazzling guitar solo partway through the track.

Unfortunately, ‘Resist’ does often lend itself to the more manufactured, poppier edge of the spectrum as opposed to the symphonic/goth rock sound that the band are more noted for. ‘Supernova’ is a good case in point, with extremely saccharine vocals that can grate somewhat, but, having said that, they’re delivered in a remarkably catchy manner.

Additionally, the inclusion of operatic backing vocals, while not necessarily being ‘heavy’, lead brilliantly into quiet keyboard sounds followed by the final chorus of the song.

Other inconsistencies include ‘Holy Ground’, which showcases some odd rapping tendencies from den Adel trading places with an incredibly EDM-fuelled poppy chorus, and ‘Firelight’ being relatively ploddy throughout.

Minor annoyances aside, this is arguably Within Temptation‘s strongest effort to date, and ends superbly with ‘Mad World’ injecting a bit of fun into the proceedings, and album closer, ‘Trophy Hunter’, a six-minute composition of wonderfully heavy riffs and impressive song writing and originality.

If you can get over the odd flourish of poppiness and the general lack of technicality, then ‘Resist’ is a further sign of Within Temptation maturing and flexing their musical muscles to wider places, and is definitely a piece of art to invest in.