There are several different versions of this latest studio album by these female-fronted gothic/symphonic rockers who hail from the Netherlands. Album number six offers up several special guest appearances worthy of mention. Dave Pirner (Soul Asylum), Xzibit (rapper and actor), Tarja (solo artist now, but was the excellent vocal performance in Nightwish) and Howard Jones (formerly of Killswitch Engage, but due to resurface with a band called Devil You Know) all add their own spin to the songs they make an appearance on. Perhaps these collaborators inform the listener that Within Temptation is beginning to diversify due to the respective guests being known for differing musical styles? Well, the truth is that Within Temptation remains firmly in their niche.
On Dangerous, Jones offers up some complementary vocals in a similar way as Keith Caputo contributed to What Have You Done on the 2007 album The Heart of Everything. With And We Run, Xzibit offers his chunky and brutish rapping delivery but thankfully doesn’t dominate what is a good song. Paradise (What About Us?) was the first official single to be shared from this album and features some truly splendid vocal contributions from Tarja who maintains her highly respected reputation. This track is a true album highlight.
Pirner ends up being a revelation as his vocal performance marries with Sharon den Adel very comfortably. The album closer called Whole World is Watching soars during the chorus and doesn’t leave Pirner fighting for breath. Quite the contrary; the song finishes the album in fine style.
Regarding the other songs where no special guests invest their time, Silver Moonlight dances on a galloping beat and bookends itself with some more conventional Within Temptation musical traits. The opposite in tempo can be witnessed on the first half of Edge of the World as it adopts a tender and gentle approach before building in to a familiar dramatic rocker.
For those who are already aware of this band, there’s very little to alarm you. It is business as usual with novel input from special guests. If Hydra was a meal, it would be something you eat regularly with perhaps a light sprinkle of herbs to add some new flavor.