I've been collecting (kay at this point its more like hoarding) CD's for a long time now and so I wanted to try my hand at doing some album reviews. Basically I'll be rating the cover art and each song on the album. Naturally I'm going to start with my all time favorite album. So without further delay, here's a review of the Mother Earth album.
The artwork for this album is what drew me in. At the time I had purchased this album, I was having trouble deciding which Within Temptation album I wanted more; Mother Earth or Heart Of Everything. In the end I went with this one Mother Earth because I was very much intrigued by the album cover. The black, green, and cream color scheme is beautiful. And Sharon's ensemble is beautiful; her dress and her crown. Even the way her hair is done up on the album is beautiful. And in the background there is this zodiac sort of circle that I wad intrigued by.
So obviously my expectations were high and I was not disappointed. Mother Earth, the song the album was named for, is the first track on the album. And boy was it a grand intro. The orchestral suite in the beginning was enchanting and the whole vibe was folklore-esque and had this medieval charm that I adored. I remember the first time I heard the song it was when I was wandering through the woods with a walkman cd player with clouds of little cottonwood seeds drifting by. It really helped to set the mood. And of course, Sharon's vocals are always extremely magical. For me this song had a very fresh sound and really opened by eyes to the genre as a whole. I especially liked this song because nature themes really resonate with me and this song was all about nature. My favorite part of the song had to be the breakdown where the choir came in.
The second song was just as powerful. Ice Queen was actually one of the first songs I heard by the band so it's particularly special to me. The intro was a bombastic orchestra followed by very powerful vocals that drew me in right off of the bat. The song also has a certain allure as it reminds me of one of my childhood favorite characters. And, just like Mother Earth, the nature theme really captured me. The ice queen is literally a giant metaphor for the mercilessness of winter. You just don't get that kind of creative lyrics in mainstream pop (not knocking pop of course, I do like that genre as well).
Song number three, Our Farewell, is my absolute favorite song and it has been since I heard it. This was the song that made me realize that Within Temptation is my favorite band. It's just such an emotional song. I don't cry easy but the first time I heard this one it made me tear up. Between the piano melody and the smooth and somber vocals it's hard not to. The whole song makes you think its kind of dismal and mournful but then in the end you're left with, "Rest your head and go to sleep. Because my child this is not our farewell
This is not our farewell." The way I've interpreted this song is that even in death or parting it's never truly the end and that means a lot to me.
Caged is the fourth song and it's another unique one in concept. Basically it's about a person who was lead on and the narrator's virginity was taken and after the person who'd taken it left the narrator. This left the narrator to believe that they could not be truly loved. What I adore about this song is that it has mostly clean vocals but then Sharon dips into some more guttural almost 80's rock vocals. The song also brings back that sort of medieval sound that I love so very well; in other words I was taken in right at the beginning instrumental part.
Song number 5 is called The Promise. Years after I first heard the song I began equating it with Regina Mills from Once Upon A Time. Before that and at first I wasn't super into this one. I still liked it but not as much as the others on the album. But after playing the CD over and over again until it started skipping and I had to buy a new one, it really grew on me. Again, the song's concept is very one of a kind; it's about a person who is trying to avenge their lover's passing. It's definitely worth a listen.
Never Ending Story is the track to follow. This one is another slower ballad piece. Like the song prior, I wasn't as into it at first. It wasn't until I really listened to the lyrics that it became a song that I truly adored. The song compares life to a story book which is a theme I always liked. The pacing and the softness of Sharon's vocals created a soothing almost bedtime story atmosphere that's on par with Nightwish's Imaginarium. This is definitely a song for a dreamer and that's probably why I like it as much as I do.
Song seven is Deceiver of Fools.This song is also very, very important to me. In essence it's about corrupt leaders and dark forces rising to power and being able to overcome them and try not to make the same mistake of letting them back in. Yes, this is a concept that has been tackled before--in fact it's been done a lot. What makes Deceiver of Fools interesting is that it's composed and sang in such a way that it feels like you're back in the middle ages or in a fantasy kingdom. It's like the song is talking about an old world king or queen. The reason this song holds a place in my heart is the lyric, "no light in the darkness is too small to see, there's always a sparkle of hope if you just believe." I feel like this is something I need to be reminded of because times get tough and it's hard to see that sometimes. I actually have a tattoo of the first part of those lyrics. So this song has definitely left its mark on me for sure, literally.
The eighth song is the intro. To be honest I think it's odd that they have their intro as track eight but it's still a wonderful one no less. It's a striking instrumental piece with nearly incoherent voices speaking very softly in the background. The focus is very much on the looping piano and orchestra bits with the voices as an undertone. and it really does set the tone of the album. It sounds like it could be the background music for a fantasy suspense movie.
Dark Wings is the song to follow and I really love this one too. It's basically a metaphor for death. And just like the rest of the album it's a very epic and fantastical sort of song. I very much adored the backing choir in this one, it really highlights Sharon's vocals. And the guitar solo was masterful. Also Sharon's Dutch accent really comes through in this song and its adorable. She has this tendency to pronounce 'th' words like 'they' with a 'd' so like 'dey are falling.' I love it lol.
The tenth song is In Perfect Harmony. If Never Ending Story didn't strike my daydreamer's soul, this one sure did. In fact I really strongly relate to this song. It's extremely enchanting and has elements of fantasy more than any other song on this album. It's about a child who lives among elfs and woodland creatures. And he's truly at peace with those creatures and the nature around him. This child is one with mother earth and this is just something I can relate to very well. On top of that it's just such an enthrallingly serene song. The flute and (I think) harp were breathtaking and made it that much more charming and kind of just draws a listener into the world that the song is set in. And the guitar solo was just right, like even though it was bold and intense it didn't break the mood of the song. And the choir about 5 minutes in was heavensent. Overall this song just completely bodes 100% right with me.
And finally comes World Of Make Believe, it's really the perfect follow up to In Perfect Harmony. It's another very fantasy, fairy tale kind of song. I completely adore each lyric in this song; the imagery is so stunning. "On golden wings she flies at night with her dress it's blinding white countless diamonds and her long blonde hair. The queen is coming so you better be aware. Her plums and flowers they're never the same. Blue and silver it's all her game.
Flying dragons and enchanted woods, she decides, she creates. It's her reality." I like to think that this one is literally about a daydreamer or an author who is crafting their own world--especially with lines like 'it's her reality.' Writing and daydreaming is what I am all about so this is another song that I can really relate heavily too. And the image the following puts into my head is just lovely; "Unicorns appear in her sight. The fireflies lead her trough these woods at night. In search of the legendary amulet." There's just such a story in these lyrics and that's hard to come by. I think that this was the absolute perfect way to end the album; it kind of made me feel as though this whole album was an author telling a tale one that started with nature and its power and ended with a soul that lived in harmony with the world around him.
All in all each and every song encompassed and added it's own page to the story that is the Mother Earth album. Thematically this has to be one of the most impressive albums I've ever had the pleasure of listening to. I don't think I've ever had an album with that many songs I related to. I certainly haven't had an album that left such a strong impression on me. I love every single track on this one and I have a genuine attachment to this album via the messages and the memories I have associated with the songs.
I sincerely love this album with all of my soul and urge everyone to listen to it; link