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Within Temptation - 'Resist' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/b6/7d/46/within-temptation-resist-54-1557860714.jpg Hot

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Atmospheric, intense and dramatic, 'Resist' is simply stunning.

If this album was by a brand-new band, then many would undoubtedly be proclaiming them as Newcomers Of The Year. As it's Within Temptation, twenty-year veterans of the Symphonic Metal scene, it will be viewed somewhat differently. This release is certainly going to divide opinions.

Album number seven for the Dutch outfit and their first for the Universal label, 'Resist' marks a considerable change in sound compared to the group's past endeavours. Largely eschewing the orchestral elements in favour of more technical, heavily-synthesized and programmed textures, the result is a futuristic, bombastic Metal release that embraces Pop tendencies, while also featuring some of their heaviest material to date that bristles with intensity and Gothic overtones. However, in all honesty, it's not really that radically different from their more recent output as to alienate existing fans because the dark melodies, choral elements and hugely dramatic arrangements are all still very much present throughout. 'The Unforgiving' and 'Hydra' albums flirted with occasional Pop flourishes, not to mention collaborations with Rap artists, and vocalist Sharon del Adel's solo project My Indigo was vastly different from her conventional output, so it was inevitable that Within Temptation would ultimately continue to push the boundaries of their sound.

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As soon as the first single, 'The Reckoning', arrived and revealed the new style, the negative comments began, bemoaning the fact it doesn't sound like 'Mother Earth' – if that's what you want, then go and listen to 'Mother Earth' and accept that Within Temptation are unlikely to ever re-tread old ground or make a record with those characteristics again. To oppose the shift in direction would be to stifle the creativity and evolution of the band.

If anything, the ambient textures of the moody and ethereal 'Firelight' make it the one track that will really test the mettle of those who find the group's change in style hard to accept, but 'The Reckoning' (featuring vocals from Papa Roach's Jacoby Shaddix) pretty much epitomises what 'Resist' is about; 'Supernova' and 'Holy Ground' embrace the Pop sensibilities perfectly, and yet when you augment 'Endless War', 'Raise Your Banner' and the grinding, riff-based 'Trophy Hunter' with more orchestration and less synthesization, you're firmly in recent Within Temptation territory. Elsewhere, 'Mercy Mirror' is sweeping balladry and the brilliant 'Mad World' is a thumping, 'Sinéad'-sounding, Disco-inspired romp.

Atmospheric, intense and dramatic, 'Resist' is simply stunning and it sees Within Temptation evolving their sound with some style – 'Resist' you certainly should not.

Ant Heeks

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