Amazing Set, Amazing Band

As Within Temptation’s crowd waits for the band to walk out a giant backdrop is raised and a series of statues are placed on the stage along with fire brimming from the top of them. This is a headliner style of stage layout and it’s not even yet four twenty • let alone time for headliner antics. Then you think forward to who is headlining tonight and quickly realise that this set is more than likely going to be much better anyway.

With the opener, “Our Solemn Hour” it strikes just how far the band have come over the past few years since they came to the public forefront with the release of their album “Mother Earth”. They’ve changed from just another symphonic rock band with female vocals to one of the most powerful live performers I’ve ever seen. Sharon den Adel’s vocals are some of the most powerful female vocals to have ever echoed around Donington Park and the strength and force behind her lyrics is chilling.

As Within Temptation move through their set they play “The Howling” and “The Heart of Everything” from their new album of the same name, and “The Hand of Sorrow” before moving on to their single “What Have You Done Now”. Within Temptation is the first band of the weekend to properly mix visual effects on the giant main-stage TV screens with the live performance and during “What Have You Done Now” even mix a video of Keith Caputo singing in time as his vocal track is mixed in. Each of their songs features visual elements • further pushing up the entire level of performance from the band.

Throughout the entire set, Sharon seems genuinely happy to be playing and excited. When proclaiming that this is the first time on the main stage for the band at Download it is even followed by a childish excitement of “Yay!” that would not be lost on any of the metal fans in the crowd who would also love to be standing on that stage.

As the sunshine comes out Sharon thanks mother earth for it before launching into the song unsurprisingly titled “Mother Earth” before the band finish their set with “Deceiver of Fools”. The set ends with all of the band taking a bow and thanking the crowd who sing along throughout the set with glee.

Within Temptation are one of the few bands who actually sound better live than they do on CD. It is hard to express the sheer power of Sharon’s vocal powers on an over-produced CD and when it comes to live music the entire raw sound really does leave them unparalleled. After Nightwish’s Tarja was removed from the band there was a big gap in the symphonic rock/metal genre • and Within Temptation are easily able to fill this gap as well as appearing to more mainstream fans.

Most impressive set of the weekend? Quite possibly. Especially considering I’m not a fan.