LET US BURN (DVD 2014)
When I first discovered Within Temptation there were two bald men. They looked like brothers. By the time Hydra was released one of them was gone. . . .
Long time fans, those who have followed them from the start, will know all the ins and outs, the comings and goings. But I’m not one of them. I came to Within Temptation by taking the long route: William Orbit > Ferry Corsten > trance > Tiesto > Armen van Buuren > Sharon den Adel. So, imagine my surprise when the missing bald man turned up growling at the back of the stage during the Hydra concert from Let Us Burn. (I watched Hydra first otherwise the mystery might have been solved earlier.)
Before baldy popped up, I thought maybe he had morphed into the bearded guitarist with the beeny hat. Bald guitarists tend to become suddenly fascinated in milinary when the crown thins out, which is why I mistook Ruud Jolie for Bald Headed Man No. 2. In the end, curiosity got the better of me, and say what you want about Wikipedia it answered the question.
BHM No.2 was Robert Westerholt, who took the step backstage to look after his kids. And no, this wasn’t an act of selfless post-modernism. Westerholt’s partner is Sharon den Adel. Had she taken a step backstage Within Temptation would have become an instrumental band. But you already knew that, didn’t you? In fact, if you’ve followed the links and what have you to arrive at this blog, you already knew who BHM No.2 was as well.
As for Let Us Burn . . . Have you ever had a meal and at the end thought, that was good (but you weren’t in a rush for seconds)? WT have this strange effect on me. I’d happily place them in the top ten rock bands of the modern age, but something about them leaves me cold. In both Hydra and the Elements concert – filmed in 2012 to celebrate fifteen years in the business – they are a ruthless, tight, efficient band, but lack some kind of stage presence.
Sharon den Adel has earned a place amongst the female vocalists’ top table, but the band leave her to do too much work on her own. On stage, Jeroen van Veen, Ruud Jolie and Stefan Helleblad, who replaced Westerholt, turn up, play and go home. Martijn Spierenburg on keyboards and Mike Coolen on drums can’t be blamed for not interacting on stage, but a quick glance at other key live acts, from Nightwish to Metallica and you’ll see a collective effort, band members sparking off one another; doing more than standing alongside the singer now and again. Stagecraft is what separates the mediocre from the good and the good from the brilliant. (Stagecraft was Anette Olzon’s downfall; amazingly talented singer, but a static presence on stage with Nightwish.)
Would I recommend Let Us Burn? Yes. There are tracks such as Sinead on the Elements concert and Paradise (What About Us) on the Hydra concert when the sonic intensity is enough to blow your hair off, especially if it’s a wig. Maybe Robert Westerholt needs to come back soon and kick up a fuss, because his brother is slowly and quietly building a following with Delain. And for what it’s worth, of the two, Delain write a better tune and only need one lucky break to catapult them up where they belong.
For now den Adel is on her own and we all know what happens to bands when the lead singer becomes too prominent.