If anyone knows me well they know my love for the Dutch symphonic metal/rock band Within Temptation, and when they release something new I never hesitate to buy, especially when it comes to their live DVD’s/CD’s.
Let Us Burn is Within Temptation’s fourth live DVD and like their predecessors it certainly doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the varied content of this special package. Not only does the DVD contain the last European concert from their latest tour and album Hydra but it includes the high anticipated Elements concert the band performed in 2012 in honour of their 15 years of success. Alongside this the band included a double CD of both concerts which to me is the true highlight of any Within Temptation DVD because this is what the band do best, perform live and bring another side to their enchanting and powerful music.
This was the first of the two concerts I watched as I had always wanted to see how this special event had played out live and I was pleased to hear Within Temptation were finally going to let the rest of the world see it. Like their concert The Black Symphony, the band used a live orchestra to really bring all the elements (no pun intended) of their music to life. But upon watching the concert I can see why Within Temptation were initially against releasing this as a solo DVD and why they felt it didn’t work as well as hoped. The cut between shots is choppy and quick at best with cameras placed in odd places that made it feel amateur in terms of direction. It’s clear that the band have tried their best to conceal elements of the concert that just fell flat on it’s face (the dancers) along with the largely negative feedback from the fans. Personally I feel The Unforgiving is the weakest album in Within Temptation’s discography and I don’t think it translates as well when it comes to being played live. The one thing I did find beautiful about Elements was how well the band worked together, everything seemed incredibly equal. Sharon den Adel may have been the star of the show with her flawless vocals and theatrical costumes that made her look gorgeous, the rest of the band weren’t forgotten about either. Both Ruud, Stefan and even Robert had their moments in the spotlight along with Martijn exchanging his keyboards for a beautiful white grand piano for the tearjerking ballads Within Temptation are so good at producing. All in all, the ‘Elements’ the band tried to bring together as a 15 year celebration were there, it just sadly didn’t translate well when it came to the finished project.
The second concert on the DVD gave the fans a reminder that Within Temptation can still put on an amazing show without all the glitz and the glamour of Elements. This concert was the last of the European ‘Hydra’ tour and to me it’s the best out of the two. The show starts off with a powerful force that just keeps going right up until the end and throughout it just doesn’t disappoint. You can tell this concert was well thought out in terms of camera angles that include one from on top of the stage showing the pyrotechnics and the crowds reactions in unison. You instantly feel like you’re a part of the show, as the camera pans across all six band members and brings back the special slow motion effect that times in perfectly with the music. Unlike The Unforgiving, Hydra is one of Within Temptation’s strongest albums and it works superbly well live and the songs chosen really do show you the various sides of this ever expanding band. Once again Sharon’s vocals are magical, effortlessly she can switch between being a powerhouse to angelic without a second thought. The setlist (although cut for the live CD) takes you on a nostalgic ride between albums that shows you all the varying sides of Within Temptation and reminds you why they are still as popular as ever today. To me this concert was perfect, not only for the fans who went to see the band live this year on their Hydra tour, but for those who sadly couldn’t. Like I said before you really do feel like you’re a part of this concert as you watch it and hearing Hydra live brings another sparkle to their latest album that makes you fall in love with their music all over again.
Lastly, I have to mention the double live CD that accompanies this DVD, Within Temptation have always been the best when it comes to recording their live music. Everything is crisp and clear in terms of the music, Sharon’s vocals and when and when not use to the live audience. Listening to both CD’s through my headphones yet again brought to life the music of this band and it instantly transports you back to their concerts. My only negative comment to make is that I could’ve done without two versions of a few of the songs. Instead I’d love to have heard live versions of their cover songs that I know were played at both concerts as they both seem to be fan favourites, but you can’t win them all. No matter what you may love or hate about Let Us Burn, this DVD is just as amazing as the others and Within Temptation have again showed us that they are a force to be reckoned with and they’re not going anywhere, any time soon.