Within Temptation have come a long way in the last ten years. From their humble beginnings, the Dutch band have now sold over 2 million CDs and DVDs world-wide, making them not only Holland’s biggest selling musical export but also one of the fastest growing new rock acts internationally.
Formed in 1996 around the nucleus of guitarist Robert Westerholt and vocalist Sharon den Adel, Within Temptation released their debut album Enter through Dutch indie label DSFA the following April. The album saw the band playing gigs across the continent, firmly cementing their phenomenal live reputation – most notably two appearances at the legendary Dynamo festival (in both 1997 and then on the main stage in 1998).
Unbelievably for a band who were attracting such critical and commercial acclaim, they were actually all still in college. And so in 1999, Within Temptation went on hiatus to allow the band to finish their studies.
Returning to the fray twelve months later, 2000 was to prove a pivotal year for the band. Building on their strong live following by playing all the major European festivals, the band released their second album Mother Earth in December. The new album again garnered critical acclaim – hugely influential Dutch music magazine Aloha tipped Within Temptation “for a major breakthrough” – and Mother Earth stayed in the Dutch charts for over three months.
Starting the year with a major club tour of their homeland, Within Temptation released two singles from Mother Earth, Our Farewell and Ice Queen. It was Ice Queen that finally led to Within Temptation’s first mainstream commercial success. The single peaked at #2 in the Dutch charts with the album re-entering the charts at #3, eventually reaching Platinum status.
The band’s popularity in Holland continued to grow and in 2002 it spread like wildfire across the continent. Mother Earth clocked-up Platinum and Gold status in Germany and Belgium respectively, while the Mother Earth Tour DVD received Gold status in their homeland and won the band an ‘Edison Award’.De populariteit van de band bleef niet onopgemerkt en verspreidde zich in 2002 over heel Europa, waar veel shows werden gegeven. Ook was de band opener voor Paradise Lost tijdens hun uitgebreide Europese tour. Met de release van ‘Mother Earth’ brak de band ook door in Duitsland, Oostenrijk, Zwitserland en België. De plaat behaalde een platina status in Duitsland en een gouden status in België. Voor de DVD “Mother Earth Tour “ ontving de band een Edison.
Returning to the studio in 2004, Within Temptation were set to record their third and most successful record to date, The Silent Force, with producer Daniel Gibson. Fuelled by the massive international radio hit Stand My Ground, the album went to #1 in the Netherlands and Finland, #5 in Germany, Top 10 in Belgium, Portugal and Spain, Top 20 in Austria and Switzerland and Top 30 in Greece, France, Turkey, Sweden and Norway. A myriad of Gold and Platinum certifications followed.
The single Angels was released in June 2005 to coincide with their now annual festival run – which included appearances at Pinkpop, Werchter, Rock Am Ring, Sweden Rock, Ruisrock, Aerodrome and Gurtenfest – and European tours with Iron Maiden and Rammstein. In August, Within Temptation received a World Music Award for Best Selling Dutch Artist In The World. A release of The Silent Force in Japan, Australia, and the UK was next.
More plaudits followed in 2006 with Within Temptation receiving the Dutch Export Award (“Best International Selling Artist”) for the third consecutive time in a row, the Dutch BV Pop Award and a Golden God Award from the UK’s Metal Hammer magazine for Best Video. The band played on the biggest festivals in Europe and played in Japan for the first time.
The band started a corporation with game developer Spellborn. The Chronicles of Spellborn is a so called ‘Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing’ game’, with millions of players worldwide. The band wrote three songs for the game, and made the video ‘The Howling’ together, which was released exclusively through the internet. At the end of 2006 the band signed with Roadrunner Records in the US, making a simultaneous worldwide release possible.
And now the new album ‘The Heart of Everything’ is there. In describing The Heart Of Everything Robert Westerholt comments, “Although you can still clearly hear that this is a Within Temptation record, many things have changed and evolved. Sharon shows how versatile she is as a singer more than on any record we’ve done. On some songs, she sings with a lot of power; on other songs she is more melodic… a siren enchanting her subjects. Sometimes she is emotional and sensitive. The guitars also play a larger part, and we have added an extra dimension to our new songs too by enhancing them with historic samples, as we did on Our Solemn Hour. Compared to The Silent Force, our new album is more dynamic and energetic. It has a more natural sound.“
In February 2007 the single ‘What Have You Done’, featuring guest vocals from ‘Life Of Agony’ front man Keith Caputo, was released. The release of the single came alongside the news that the band had won the Dutch Export Award (“Best International Selling Artist”) for the fourth time in a row.
Their new album was again produced by Daniel Gibson and mixed by Stefan Glaumann (Rammstein) and entered the Dutch album charts at #1. The album reached a #2 position in Belgium and Finland, a top-5 position in Japan, Sweden, Portugal and Germany, a top-10 position in Switzerland, a top-15 position in Austria and Czech Republic and in the top-30 in Spain, Norway and France. By this, the album reached a #5 position in the European album charts. In March and April the band did a large European tour of 38 shows, which was completely sold out. They supported Lacuna Coil on their US tour in May, which was very successful.
In June the second single ‘Frozen’ was released. Through the video which came with the single, the band focused on drawing the attention to abuse within a family. This is why the band decided to support Child Helpline International by donating all the income they receive from Sony/BMG to this organization. Child Helpline International (CHI) is a global network of child helplines and works in 150 countries around the world.
Early July, ‘What Have You Done’ was released in the United States, making it the band’s first official release in the USA. ‘The Heart of Everything’ came out on July 24th and has been a big success so far. During the summer, the band did all the major European festivals, such as Download, Bilbao BBK Live, Novarock, Pinkpop and Rockperry.
In September a US headlining tour followed where their shows in cities such as New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Boston sold out. This tour was followed by shows in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France (October). 2007 ended with a big sold out show in the Beursgebouw in The Netherlands and four shows in the UK.
In 2008 a lot of new countries were visited in Central East Europe and Russia. In April the band did their first South-American tour.
On February 7th the band gave a special (sold out) concert with the Metropole Orchestra in Ahoy Rotterdam. Together with the PA dam choir, guest singers (Keith Caputo, George Oosthoek and Anneke van Giersbergen), a 400 square meters video screen, great lighting effects and pyrotechnics the Black Symphony concert was a great success. Kerrang rated the concert with the highest score and noted: “this really is the greatest show on earth!”
The Black Symphony concert was filmed by 14 HD-Cameras and released on DVD, Blu-ray and CD by the end of 2008 in 40 countries simultaneously. Black Symphony reached a top-10 position in 11 countries, from which 8 top-3 positions.
In November and December the band will do their first theatre tour in The Netherlands and Belgium, where the band will perform their songs in a more acoustic setting.