The Heart of Everything (Roadrunner)
In March, Netherlands goth-metal sextet Within Temptation topped the Dutch charts with The Heart of Everything, its fourth studio album. Popular Europe-wide, the female-fronted band must now convince North American audiences that it's not just another Evanescence clone.
The biggest and most enjoyable difference between the two acts lies in the richness of Within Temptation's symphonic arrangements. Amy Lee may have anted up for the odd Mozart mimicking on The Open Door, but here the tracks are turbocharged with punchy choirs and strings. That includes everything from the shimmering-pond introduction to "The Howling" to the monumental, cascading paranoia of "Final Destination", with the orchestration coming courtesy of the City of Prague Philharmonic.
Some bands in this genre constantly voice grievances that sound pseudoreligious, but are really about getting dumped last weekend. The courageous antiwar resolve of "Our Solemn Hour" and the Enya-esque "Stand My Ground" show Within Temptation's unwillingness to fall into that trap.