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It's been two years since Within Temptation unleashed their critically acclaimed, commercially successful 'The Unforgiving' album upon the world and, ahead their next full-length studio offering early next year, here's an EP to appease their ever-growing, loyal fanbase. And what an appeasement it is as they've recruited one-time Nightwish frontwoman Tarja to duet with Sharon den Adel on what is, in essence, a single - 'Paradise (What About Us?)'. However, with three demo recordings of forthcoming album tracks, pushing the playing time above the twenty minute mark, this is an EP or sorts while also serving to whet the appetite ahead of the new full-length release. So what of the duet? Well, as expected, Tarja's distinct soprano tones add a more classical flavour to Within Temptation's symphonically-charged canvas that is so apposite on every level. The track itself adheres to the Dutch band's poppier rock/metal proclivities and, over the passages Tarja's voice features, it's almost like 'Once' era Nightwish all over again. Catchy as fuck, I predict its captivating sonics will permeate your head and propel you into humming its infectious melodies day and night.

The most attractive addition to this stop-gap release, however, at least for me, are the demo recordings. In one sense, their inclusion is a brave move as this is as stripped-down as it gets for the band these days. Although, in terms of quality, they might be only demo recordings by Within Temptation's standards, but are actually as good as and, in some cases, better than, a lot of other bands' actual releases. And, dare I say, some longtime fans of the band might actually prefer to digest their music in this demo format as this is as close as it'll get to their rawer erstwhile aesthetic on debut album 'Enter'. Undoubtedly, the final versions will, once again, be characterised (and some might say marred) by an overly polished production. However, the over-produced, overly polished production of Within Temptation albums post-'Mother Earth' has worked to their commercial advantage and propelled the band into major global success so I'm not dissing them for their chosen path. Rather, some still crave their rawer edged sonics where the music was more emotionally organic and this is exactly what these demo versions offer. There are even a sporadicity of death growls on 'Silver Moonlight'. It's almost like having Within Temptation of yore back once again. To be frank, this EP will sell by the bucket-load sheerly because of the fact it is Within Temptation, and with the added attraction of Tarja. For me, though, and I'm sure I speak for many others, it's well worth checking this out for the demos alone.
Review by Mark Holmes
27th Sept 2013
1) Paradise (What About Us?) feat. Tarja
2) Let Us Burn (demo version)
3) Silver Moonlight (demo version)
4) Dog Days (demo version)
"...Tarja's distinct soprano tones add a more classical flavour to Within Temptation's symphonically-charged canvas..."