Within Temptation – Black Symphony

Filmed at Ahoy Arena, Rotterdam with accompaniment by The Metropole Orchestra, and the Pa’dam Choir, Black Symphony, in my opinion, is the most ambitious coupling of a metal band and orchestra that has been done.

Metallica and Scorpions both did it years ago but aside from music, there was nothing else. No stage show, no break in the middle for acoustic sets, no guest performances, no video screen as long as the stage is, no pyrotechnics… aside from stage lighting there was nothing but music and two bands that seemed as if they were nervous and had no clue as to what they should do. And, neither of these bands had live symphonies playing on their studio releases either so it was all new to them.

The show, “Black Symphony’ starts out with an orchestral piece, the choir joining in as they make their entrance onto the upper stage. Backstage, the band waits for their queue looking more anxious to get out on stage and begin the show than they do nervous to be performing in such a setting.

As Slayer’s Reign In Blood is considered the epitome of Thrash Metal and Dream Theater’s Images & Words is considered the epitome of Progressive Metal, I have to consider this show and the ensuing CD and DVD the epitome of Symphonic Metal (except the American CD release. Only thirteen songs of the 21 performed? Roadrunner Records, you blew it.) Plus, this show was directly responsible for the live acoustic performance An Acoustic Night At The Theater.
Having just listened to a pre-screening of Within Temptation’s next release The Unforgiving I can say that the sound they had at this show and previous releases does not make an appearance.
I guess, with the spectacle that is Black Symphony, the band has to go in a different direction because the show was an apex of their career. Watch it and ask yourself how they would top this. It really is a brilliant show and why try to top it?
Then again, as far as I am concerned, Sharon, Robert, and the band itself can do whatever the hell they want in music. Look how far they have come with this DVD and its later show/release, An Acoustic Night At The Theater. I for one don’t want to hear a part 2 to any of their albums and the two aforementioned shows are a pinnacle if not classic releases.

The concert contains many of WT’s well-known songs with Anneke van Giersbergen (ex-vocalist of The Gathering and vocalist of Ague de Annique), Keith Caputo (Life Of Agony), and George Oosthoek (ex-vocalist of Orphanage) joining the band onstage to sing.
There is pyro and explosions – the intro to Hand Of Sorrow is off the chain with these, stilt angels during the song Angel, and the crowd itself is loud and very responsive. The décor for the stage screen is a work of art. Bottom line – if you are going to do a show like this, this is the way to do it.

As mentioned In a previous article by me, Sharon den Adel sings twenty-one songs at this show and though each song is not just like the studio album, she goes the distance when many vocalists would say it was too much for them to do. When joined onstage by the other vocalists, the band is humble but with Sharon’s stage presence (and she has huge presence), they cannot outshine her although she is letting them shine. The same can be said for the band. The orchestra is onstage with them but it is Within Temptations stage.

Set list for Black Symphony:
1: Ouverture
2: Jillian (I’d Give My Heart)
03: The howling
04: Stand My Ground
05: The Cross
06: What Have You Done
07: Hand Of Sorrow
08: The Heart Of Everything
09: Forgiven
10: Somewhere
11: The Swan Song
12: Memories
13: Our Solemn Hour
14: The Other Half (Of Me)
15: Frozen
16: The Promise
17: Angels
18: Mother Earth
19: The Truth Beneath The Rose
20: Deceiver Of Fools
21: All I Need
22: Ice Queen

There are also many extras on the DVD including, interviews with the orchestra conductor, the band, and some fans, a short documentary, and what went on the day of the show (pre-production).
On the European version there is another DVD included that has another live show, Music videos from The Heart Of Everything, behind the scenes of the music videos, and video that the band recorded while on tour. Plus, there is video of WT performing at various award shows and in the studio while the orchestra is recording THoE. If you have a DVD player that is PAL capable, get the European version of this DVD.

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