Within Temptation shock and impress with their over the top stylings

After gaining much attention from those unaware of them before their recent signing to Roadrunner records, their well reputed sets at Wacken 2005 and their own Java Island performance, all eyes at Bloodstock are looking to Saturday night headliners Within Temptation to provide a memorable and uplifting show to finish of a fine weekend of metal.

The first half of their set focuses entirely upon 2005's orchestra-pop album 'The Silent Force' both to their benefit and detriment. Songs like the bombastic opener 'See Who I Am' and 'Angels' clearly benefit through liver performance and the ecstatic audience reaction; the shrill teenage wails that can be experienced confirm this. However there are probably many others like myself who would have preferred to hear some of their older material and although they do play a grinding rendition off 'Enter' from their debut release of the same name, a beautiful 'Mother Earth' and a rousing performance of their well-known Kate Bush cover 'Running Up That Hill' the set is clearly weighted towards tracks off 'The Silent Force'. Whilst of course these tracks are enjoyable and their new album deserves the promotion it receives from the playing of these tracks, I expected more of a "Greatest Hits" styled set and the lack of the moving ballad 'Our Farewell' and the dark and heavy 'The Dance' was something I, and probably many others, keenly felt.

The band had great stage presence which certainly helped lift the disappointment at the lack of the inclusion of such songs. Lady of Metal, Sharon Den Adel, is a brilliant front women managing to interact with and entertain the audience between songs and also mesmerize with her unique style of dancing familiar with any fan, flailing and dancing around the stage like a possessed woman (in the most complimentary way possible, of course). However at times, particularly with the other members of the band and their performances, you get the feeling that this is a simple matter of going through the motions and the set does at times seem to lack a certain spontaneity.

Of course one aspect of the live Within Temptation experience is exactly that: the experience. Rather than the usual style of gig played by most metal bands you can truly call a set from Within Temptation more of a show or spectacle. Although regrettably the band lack any of the pyros or more flashy effects that they would usually have, they manage to bring with them two large inflatable pillars encrusted with suitably fantasy-style writing, vine entwined keyboards and of course their video screen. Although all these did provide suitably eye candy during the set I feel that this aspect, particularly the video screen which only showed a few tracking shots of landscapes for the most part, were underplayed particularly after hearing the band's reputation for their stage props.

Overall this was a highly enjoyable set barring a few slight mars, Within Temptation and their brand of over the top, romantic orchestral metal formed a great way to finish an enjoyable two days of head banging. A great set from a great band.