Within Temptation, Amaranthe – October 11, 2014 – The Palladium, Worcester, MAMonday, 13th October 2014
A meeting of the old guard and the new of sorts at the Palladium tonight, Within Temptation establishing themselves for years as headliners through their consistent symphonic metal meets alternative catalog, while Amaranthe represent a band on the upswing, incorporating aspects of electronica, pop, and metal-core into their multi-dimensional power metal sound. The final date of their brief North American tour together, hopes are indeed high for both bands to show that European metal is still a huge draw, proving the everlasting strength of the genre.
The circus is literally in this city tonight, as next door a family friendly circus has taken ahold of the DCU Center down the road – meaning normal parking avenues could be tighter than usual this Saturday night. A growing line of attendees started hours before the show, so after my friends and I took in some supper sustenance at the local Pizzeria Uno down the road, we popped in just in time to hear the opening set of Amaranthe.
This band is hot on the radar screens of music fans globally, encapsulating many segments of the metal genre that can gain them a cross-pollination following. You have three vocalists: one female siren, one male that is clean and one who handles the extreme growls. Couple that with music that grooves, has keyboard/dance-oriented pop bounce, and then riffs that are heavy and straddle the power/melodic death realm, and you have a winning formula that strikes gold in the current marketplace. Having 40 minutes to impress the ¾ filled downstairs stage, they did a 10 song cross-section of their three albums (including 3 songs off the forthcoming, Dead Rhetoric approved Massive Addictive).
Soldiering through a couple of wireless microphone issues for vocalist Jake E, songs such as “Hunger”, “Invincible”, and “Afterlife” gained a healthy buzz from the crowd. During some of the between song banter, all of the members tried their best to pronounce the city name Worcester correctly, until bassist Johan Andreassen mentioned the infamous nickname of ‘Woo-sta’ which received raucous applause and cheers from the crowd. Slowing down for the beautiful ballad “Amaranthe”, Elize Ryd showcases her emotional range and pop sensibilities. Within Temptation live guitarist Stefan Helleblad joined the group on stage for their latest single, the super catchy “Drop Dead Cynical” before the band would close with the title track off their sophomore outing The Nexus. 40 minutes is not enough for this sextet, and I expect a long touring cycle in support of their new record. Breakthrough in North America is imminent.
At 9:15pm Within Temptation would take the stage. The band choose to add a lot of background visuals to accent their song choices almost in a Rush manner, sometimes theatrical, other times nature filled, or more adventurous that give you another entertainment element to take in. Opening with “Paradise (What About Us)” from their new release Hydra, vocalist Sharon den Adel and the gentlemen of this veteran symphonic metal act put on a clinic of why they’ve gained headline status. Dynamic material from ballads to anthems, crowd involvement was mandatory – be it clapping, choir parts for singing, fist pumps – we were there as one.
Highlights…let’s see. “In the Middle of the Night”, “Stand My Ground” (complete with Sharon’s intro and plea for more unity in the world, as we are one human race), and of course one of their bigger hits from The Heart of Everything, “What Have You Done”. During their cover of a Lana del Rey song “Summertime Sadness”, Sharon brought a mesmerized 10 year old girl on stage and danced with her, creating probably one of the most memorable moments for her that she’ll cherish for a lifetime. We also got to hear 6 tracks from Hydra, including “Dangerous” w/ Howard Jones as well as “And We Run”, their duet with rapper Xzibit. The band would come out for a 3 song encore, featuring one of my favorites from The Silent Force “Ice Queen”.
Truly thankful for the large turnout (I would say close to 1,000 people, if not a little more), it’s easy to see why Within Temptation can get not only a strong male/female following, but also delve into the demographic that television advertisers clamor for – from teens to their grandparents. The sextet are strong in a live setting, keeping the emphasis on the music while using visuals for broader paint stroke enhancement. 20 years strong as a band, if you want to see one of the best in the symphonic metal genre, it’s necessary to take in this group as these Dutch musicians are special.