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Here to Entertain: Within Temptation Talk Worlds Collide Tour With Evanescence

Friday, 11 November 2022 Written by Simon Ramsay

Photo: Tim Tronckoe

After three long years, having been rescheduled four times due to the pandemic, the highly anticipated co-headline tour between Dutch symphonic metal titans Within Temptation and superstar American rockers Evanescence is finally about to land on UK shores. If good things come to those who wait, both bands should deliver enough of a spectacle to reward fans who’ve been patiently anticipating such a mouth-watering bill. 

They may have been separated by a rather massive ocean, and raised in very different cultural environments, but Evanescence and Within Temptation (who formed a year apart in 1995 and ‘96 respectively) still boast some striking similarities. Such is the visual and ideological kinship between the bands, it’s surprising they’d never crossed paths prior to a backstage encounter at an Evanescence show in 2018.

Meeting for the first time, Within Temptation’s Sharon den Adel and Evanescence’s Amy Lee hit it off in double quick time. The two groups subsequently co-headlined the final night of a Swiss rock and metal festival, which met with so much acclaim that joining forces for the upcoming Worlds Collide Tour was all but inevitable.

With the powerhouse Dutch outfit set to perform brand new material from next year’s forthcoming studio album, and the US quintet ready to showcase songs from 2021’s ‘The Bitter Truth’, these gigs promise to be a storm of audio visual excellence. We caught up with den Adel to hear all about her band’s upcoming album, that special first chat with Lee and why, given the uncanny prescience of 2019’s ‘Resist’, we should probably rechristen her Sharon Nostradamus. 

Let's start with your recent American tour, where you supported a little band called Iron Maiden. I imagine that was pretty cool?

That little band was amazing. It was nice meeting them and being on a tour with them was also amazing. Before this we’d only played one festival together, which was a lot of fun, but we got to see more of them, speak to them and it was really nice. I know the boys were having a night out with Steve Harris, so they had more fun drinking, of course.

Anyway, what I like so much about Iron Maiden is that they never fell out of love with their music, and music in general. Every night we played they were there, not all of them but a few, like Steve Harris and Nicko [McBrain] was there a lot, checking out the show. Every night we played the same songs but they were there because they still love music so much. I’ve heard all the support acts they have, they check them out on stage. That’s something I find really special. In 20 years time I hope I still do the same thing. That’s what we have in common. The love for music and enthusiasm when you see a band you like. That’s beautiful.  

And following those dates you’re finally about to embark on the Worlds Collide Tour with Evanescence. It’s been a long wait.

I definitely thought, ‘I don’t know if this one is going to happen. I’m not sure how long people will keep on waiting because it’s been a while.’ But I’m happy to see that most people kept their tickets and that we hung in there, because we wanted to make it happen. We’ve been working on this for such a long time and didn’t stop developing the show, because we got the opportunity to write new songs so we had to change the set list. That means we also changed the visuals. It’s been three years developing the tour while writing new songs. It’s been a long project and hopefully we’ll finally see the tour through without anything strange happening. 

Who will be opening and closing the gigs?

We’ll do it differently every night. One night they will close, the other night we will and vice versa. It’s the best way to do it. 

In terms of your relationship with Evanescence, you and Amy only met a few years ago but have both spoken about your first conversation with the same level of fondness. What was so special about that discussion?

Well, when you meet someone for the first time you don’t know what to expect. It’s mostly polite conversation. With her it was so strange. Within five minutes, there was no wall to break down, no ice to melt. It was a very honest normal conversation, as if we’d known each other for a long time. It was, for both of us, a really big surprise. We both like to be pure, in the way we react. No drama or fake stuff. It’s ‘what you see is what you get’ and very honest. That’s what we both liked. 

What’s your first memory of hearing Evanescence? Do you have a favourite song of theirs?

When the first album came out everybody got to know them. That was the first major big bang and, all of a sudden, they were there. It was in 2003 and a surprise, for me, seeing a band that looks visually similar, with a more American sound, but had a lot of overlap with what we were doing here in Europe. Not just us, but other bands as well. So it was nice to see, on the other side of the pond, someone doing more or less the same thing in a different way. That was cool. And my favourite song of theirs? Lithium. Wake Me Up When You’re Sober. There’s a lot of songs I like.      

Can you give any hints about what you’ve done to make your show as ‘cool and memorable’ as you’ve said you want it to be? 

I don’t know if you remember the release of The Purge [video] with the face? That face, we’ve made into a huge, huge, huge statue for our stage. It can come apart, it can twist, it can turn, so there’s a lot of visual and mechanical stuff happening on stage. And I’m gonna fly again. I’m afraid of heights but somehow Robert [Westerholt, guitar], every time, finds something to get me into the air. It’s gonna make it a spectacular show and I know Evanescence are gonna do the same thing, but in their own way of course.  

Your last album, 2019’s ‘Resist’, was prophetic in the way it foreshadowed much of what has subsequently happened in the world.

It’s scary, huh? If it was released now I think people would say it was inspired by the themes that are happening today. We’ve always been politically engaged with what’s happening in the world and social dilemmas inspire us. There were things happening that are more or less common, but also lots of strange things. There’s always a war going on somewhere, unfortunately. You can imprint it on anything in the world, at any time, but because all of these things happened so rapidly after each other you could think ‘oh my god, it could have been written yesterday.’   

Over the last year or so you’ve released four new songs from your next album, which you’ve promised will be released in 2023. Don’t Pray For Me, in particular, seems to be another timely social commentary and feels like a continuation of what you started on ‘Resist.’

I wrote an essay for a metal magazine a year ago, for international women’s day, and talked about my views on abortion, that you should do more about prevention instead of, for instance, like in Poland where the law’s changing. I’m not from Poland but, because I did that essay, I know what’s happening, and also in America, same kind of thing, where they’re changing the laws. Especially for kids in schools—they’re not allowed to have sex education any more because of these religious parties. 

What I find difficult, like in America, is they try to make laws for everyone from a religious perspective. I find that very dangerous because religion can be beautiful, but don’t push it on people who might not believe, or believe something different, don’t feel comfortable with it or are struggling to become who they need to be and it’s taking the oxygen out of life. Especially for kids growing up, having a difficult time, trying to be who they want to be and living in very religious communities where they are being told they’re bad if they don’t believe the way others believe. I’m very much about pro-individual freedom, thinking for yourself, making your own choices, finding your own way in life. It’s so important and we’re going back in time with these laws. It’s not a positive development.  Don’t Pray For Me is about that.          

What was it about the sound of German metalcore act Annisokay that made you want to collaborate with them on Shed My Skin?

They’re this very enthusiastic band that do everything themselves. The singer writes most of the songs, he makes the videos. They’re a whole self-made band and have an enormous sound, so refreshing and positive. Such humble people and very energetic on stage. Everything you want to see in a band. They inspired us to write something in that corner of the music genre and when we did we thought ‘why not ask them to join us?’ We loved doing the song with those guys. We’re going to see them in Germany again and are hoping they will join us onstage. We’ve got to ask them.      

Both those tracks, alongside The Purge and Entertain You, are going to be on the next album, but if it’s a 10 song effort fans will already have heard a lot of it, and therefore won’t be getting as much new material, once the record arrives. Does that factor into your thinking?

There’s still a big part of our fan base that wants a physical product. I think they’d be disappointed if they didn’t get that. But we’re gonna write new songs that will not be released. The reason you’ve already heard those four was because we wanted to release something for the difficult times during the pandemic. We already had that plan in mind beforehand because we’d released ‘Resist’ in ‘19 but had been playing it since ‘18. So I wanted to bring something new to the table and that’s why we wrote Entertain You. When the pandemic began we started releasing more than we intended to, but it’s been a good thing because we saw a lot of exposure for different songs, from different sides, and that was cool because it did keep the band alive. Meaning that we could do something during those difficult times in a positive way for us and our fans.       

You described 'Resist' as “your take on metal in a new way: to give modern music its rebellious edge” and said it was one small step and you wanted to take things even further in future. What new stylistic boundaries are you pushing on the new album?  

We try to challenge ourselves to still sound like Within Temptation but in a new jacket every time. Entertain You is completely out of the ordinary. Very energetic but rhythmically quite different. It’s the way we try to challenge ourselves. Trying to find different music genres to integrate into our music. It’s not like we think we can change music, it sounds a bit arrogant if you’re really like that, but we want to find different music genres to inspire us to make a different version of ourselves every time. And renew ourselves to sound like a band from 2022 instead of 2000.  

Last time out the orchestral parts were more minimalistic and subtle. Will that be the case again or would you like to combine the ‘Resist’ approach with your classic symphonic backdrop?

It’s going to be more like the ‘Resist’ album, but a bit older as well. Don’t Pray For Me has this new vibe but with an orchestral sound that’s a bit more like ‘Mother Earth.’ So it’s trying to find a little bit of the old as well, because we do feel it’s nice to bring back some orchestral parts and find a good form for that. 

Looking back on the last 25 years, how does it feel to have been one of the group’s who’ve pioneered a genre of music that’s gone from being quite a cult thing to a huge attraction, where bands of your ilk are headlining arenas and festivals?

People ask me this question more regularly lately because we have passed 25 years, but I never reflected on that because I’ve always looked forwards instead of to the past. It’s beautiful that we were part of a development that happened during that time and didn’t realise that we were. Looking back it’s more clear. You see with more perspective. It’s beautiful that we were part of that and hopefully planted some seeds in little girls' minds who are trying to make their way now. If you can inspire other people, that’s the most beautiful thing you can do as a band. To pass that musical vibe onto a new generation.  

Within Temptation Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sat November 12 2022 - ZURICH Hallenstadion (Switzerland)

Mon November 14 2022 - LONDON O2 Arena
Tue November 15 2022 - BIRMINGHAM Utilita Arena
Thu November 17 2022 - GLASGOW OVO Arena
Sat November 19 2022 - LEEDS first direct Arena

Mon November 21 2022 - BRUSSELS Palais 12 (Belgium)
Tue November 22 2022 - BRUSSELS Palais 12 (Belgium)
Wed November 23 2022 - FRANKFURT Festhalle (Germany)
Fri November 25 2022 - DUSSELDORF Mitsubishi Electric Halle (Germany)
Sun November 27 2022 - PARIS Accor Arena (France)
Tue November 29 2022 - AMSTERDAM Ziggo Dome (Netherlands)
Wed November 30 2022 - AMSTERDAM Ziggo Dome (Netherlands)
Thu December 01 2022 - ESCH SUR ALZETTE Rockhal (Luxembourg)
Sat December 03 2022 - LEIPZIG Quarterback Immobilen Arena (Germany)
Mon December 05 2022 - GLIWICE Arena (Poland)
Wed December 07 2022 - HAMBURG Sporthalle (Germany)
Thu December 08 2022 - BERLIN Velodrom (Germany)

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