There was a collective gasp in the world of gothic metal a couple years ago when thousands of fans caught news of vocalist Tarja Turunen leaving arguably the biggest band in the genre--Nightwish. You can find tons of bands playing power metal with symphonics, but only a handful were near the caliber of the aforementioned. Within Temptation obtained some international success with 2001's "Mother Earth" and the excellent single "Ice Queen", but have scored even bigger with "The Heart of Everything". Vocalist Sharon den Adel seems to have toned down the operatics for a more traditional delivery this time. She's a fairly high-pitched soprano, but THOE has commercial refinements on all levels for more mass appeal. "The Howling" is beautifully layered and "All I Need" is a lament with shoulder-to-cry-on 'hit single' all over it. Overall it's not heavy on the metal, but its production is stellar (as it needs to be) and if you hear a collective sigh on the wind, it's the pleasure of fans enjoying an hour of gorgeous orchestral metal.
Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details