The Best Kind of Temptation

The weather has blessed the Within Temptation fans that wait outside the Astoria in London on this unnaturally hot September afternoon. The hours pass, slowly I'd imagine for those waiting all day, and soon the lights have dimmed and the Intro from 'The Silent Force' is played over the impatient crowd. As the curtain drops and the beginning orchestral flood of 'See Who I Am' smashes into existence, you notice just how large the band seem for the stage. This isn't a band who appear to be used to the confines of an indoor venue as Sharon den Adel's silken voice spreads its wings and soars above the majestic guitars and driving bass. This is slick, polished orchestral metal that breaks boundaries and breaks the mould set by previous female fronted bands.

Like the ocean that they're so fond of, this band are powerful and their music sways like the tide flooding in. Orchestral breaks flow into guitar driven crescendos and the crowd go wild for this Dutch band that began humbly in 1996. The epic 'Stand My Ground', a loud, proud, beautifully executed shout of courage breaks into the song 'Jillian' and den Adel informs us of the inspiration for the song- a set of fantasy books. This certainly isn't your average metal band. This is a band who do not feel the need to have their lyrical content restrained by the desire to sing about Orcs or dragons.

The eerie ghost-like vocals of 'Forsaken' begin and again den Adel's voice is marked out as a cut above those other bands who simply use their frontwomen as a way to garner praise. Within Temptation utilize del Adel's dynamic voice, but there's a shared sense of enjoyment from all areas of the band. Their guitarists shift positions on stage throughout the night, the bassist plods along in his own world, and the drummer and keyboardist both sit upon their thrones and marvel at the crowds feverish reaction.

'Angels', 'Memories' and 'Aquarius' bring the tone down to a somewhat lower, yet far more emotional, level. That fragile, angelic voice that sounds so much younger when set against the mature, rounded sound of the band brings tears to those marvelling at this exciting, emotional band. The adoration that this band revel in is heightened when 'Running Up That Hill' is introduced. A live favourite amongst a set in the favour of newer material, the crowd are set ablaze as this rocked up version of Kate Bush's original is given a youthful facelift.

The set then progresses into the macho anger of 'Enter', where den Adel is content to merely swish her skirt and indulge in a little of her unusual dance moves until 'Caged' and 'Mother Earth', taken from their previous album, bring back that strong Celtic feel to the band's set. Once the vibrant 'Deceiver of Fools' and 'Ice Queen' are played as part of their encore, the band departs the stage finally in rapturous, well deserved applause.