During the second weekend of August the second edition of the Folkwoods festival will take place in Eindhoven, Holland. One of the major attractions will be a Dutch group called "Within Temptation". Their appearance at this folk festival may seem strange because it was only last year that they played at the biggest metal festival in Europe: Dynamo Open Air. At the beginning of this year they released their second full-length cd and got good reviews in many music-magazines and newspapers. After reading three raving reviews I simply had to buy their cd and I immediately fell in love with their strange, fairy-like music.
"Within Temptation" started in 1996 as a metal-grunge band. Their debut album
Enter got good reviews and this cd was very popular with the metal scene. The
money they earned with this album they used for building their own studio, in
which they recorded their second album Mother Earth - released about half a
year ago. No more grunge music, but a mixture of soft-metal songs with folk
influences and ballads about kings and spirits. They did not intend to record
a "non-grunge" cd, but when they wanted to add the grunge voice they didn't
think it would add anything to the music and left it out. This decision made
the album much more suitable for a bigger audience and this is probably one
of the reasons why both metal, folk, pop and John Denver listeners like Mother
Central to their music are the vocals by lead singer Sharon. She has a high-pitched voice, both powerful and innocent, that compels you to listen to her. Both in the songs in which she is haunted by electric guitars and in the songs in which she sings her mystical lyrics accompanied by harp music, she and the musicians manage to create music that makes you feel as if you are in the middle of a great adventure. Guitar-player Robert Westerholt told me that this is exactly what they want. The band is much influenced by movies such as Braveheart and Robin Hood. These movies are overwhelming and that is exactly what the band want to achieve with their music. It was also one of these movies that made them start listening to folk-music. Clannad had recorded the soundtrack for Robin Hood, and the melodies they used impressed the band and inspired them to use folk influences on their latest album.
"Within Temptation" do not just take traditional melodies and mix them with electric music. They write all their material themselves and the traditional instruments you seem to hear all come out of a keyboard. Why not come to Holland and see them play at Folkwoods?! According to Westerholt they will play their songs the way they would do at a metal concert. The fact that they will be performing at a folk festival does not mean that they will play any differently than they usually do. He can imagine them focussing on the songs most influenced by folk music, but that will be their only concession as their music is their music.
"If people like our music that is great, but if they don't they can just leave and listen to the musicians performing on one of the other stages", Westerholt said.
Interested to read more? Or to get their cd? Surf to their web-page: http://www.within-temptation.nl
CDs: Enter (1997 dsfa 1007) Mother Earth (2000 dsfa 1022)
Photo Credit: Press Pic from www.within-temptation.nl
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