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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Within Temptation's A Fool's Parade

I was looking forward to this music video since I first heard about it. And in anticipation of it, began worrying I was setting myself up to be disappointed with my high expectations, but I certainly was not! I liked it so much that I could barely handle it. Still can’t say I fully can. Within Temptation is a band I’ve always loved, still do, and probably forever will. And this is not my first time writing about them (though you can’t currently access all of my posts on them). I doubt it’s my last.

I missed their art more than I was aware of. I knew I could always have more, but I did not realize just how much I was craving more of what they do until I finally got it again. The song alone blew me away, but the music video going along with it made me explode - overloaded by how great it is. I needed that in my soul. All of it. If I hadn’t spent so much of my life reflecting on the barely perceivable abstract and intangible things (which, actually, they majorly prompted), I would be so confused and clueless as to why and how could this affect me so. But it is so artfully and masterfully done. And this genre does push the limits to go beyond.

I am obsessed with symbolism and Within Temptation isn’t a stranger to it. I do wonder just how much is there intentionally and what they signify exactly, but the mere fact that many symbols can be spotted and pondered already gets me going. Besides the overall moods that are reflected through light and color, there’s the open field, the shambles, the glow, the birds, the statue. I cannot explain to you what happens to me when I see a sword and a shield like that. Excuse me while I go further into law and justice studies so I can feel at least a fraction of how epic that looks!

And the dancing. Oh, my, God. I have no words, I am speechless. How do I even start to describe what it means to me that it was included? A dance studio isn’t only an escape, but also a sanctuary for those of us who are most ourselves when we dance. This is also why I can appreciate the unconventional beauty of the dancer and the dance here. It is pure and raw expression. Energy flowing out. Maybe in, too.

Yet, couldn’t leave it there, huh? There are what looks like people covered in some sort of black mud. Perhaps made of it as well. And they… rise up. I… I can’t say anything. That’s like imagery out of some bizarre but prophetic vision. And I don’t know if that’s what it is but… DAMN. This moves me down to my core and leaves me shaking, is all I’ll say.

But okay, let me calm down and go into the lyrics… This. This is precisely why I adore songs and songwriting. The condensation of so much in so few words. Still telling a story, still sending a message (or several ones). And coming from Within Temptation, you can expect wisdom. If we were to decompress the lines in these lyrics, there would be essays on abuse and abuse tactics. A topic I would assume, being familiar with their work, that they know and understand quite well. Don’t mess with someone this metal.

All of this is delivered through powerful vocals filled with what I’d call righteous anger, in collaboration with Alex Yarmak. And it could not be more fitting. I’ll defend anger as an essential emotion until I die. When it is not born from overentitlement and more that could manifest as mere temper tantrums, anger is one of the most loving emotions there are. Contradicting as it may sound. It is there to tell you about trespasses and unfair treatment - and protect you and others from that. It is the 'stand up for yourself and for others' emotion and that is how it most came across to me here as it was released. Not misguided at all.

I’m so glad that Within Temptation is still around and active, doing more of the work that they excel at and being formidable people. For me, personally, life is enhanced in groundbreaking and otherworldly levels with what they bring. And I’m infinitely thankful for that.