There are moments in life that can change its entire course. For Dutch symphonic metallers Within Temptation, that transformative period almost resulted in their demise, as question marks loomed large. However, seventh album Resist distils that time of trauma, healing and new beginnings into 47 dazzling minutes. It won’t be the easiest ride for those who dislike change, but history will mark out Resist as the album that saved this band.
Two decades into a career that appeared to be tracing a pristine upward trajectory, and with last album (2014’s Hydra) achieving career-high chart positions, Within Temptation’s lofty status as one of Europe’s biggest metal bands was suddenly threatened by burnout, writer’s block and personal issues. Singer Sharon den Adel and her husband, guitarist Robert Westerholt, had reached an impasse. Although Robert had ceased touring with the band to look after the couple’s children, Sharon was increasingly troubled by her long stints away from home, and by the illness and subsequent loss of her father. The band had become a leviathan, a monster too big to handle.
Sharon instead poured her conflicted emotions into a solo project, My Indigo, last April. Thankfully, this purifying process revived her creative fires, and Resist is the result. It’s a combative call-to-arms, the antithesis not only of My Indigo’s quiet reflection, but of Within Temptation’s tree-hugging roots, more ‘new rage’ than New Age. Without making dramatic U-turns, the band have reinforced their sound with electronics – featuring synths and guitars in pyrotechnic duels, killer songs illuminated by enormous, flash-bomb hooks. Its central theme is the battle for sanity in a complex online world, but the real unifying factor is the sound and spirit: all 10 songs belong together, breathe together, and thrive when heard as a whole.