Within Temptation is one of the finest bands to come out of the Netherlands. Their singer Sharon den Adel is a Beauty (yes with a capital B) who can sing most excellently. They write cool songs, and I think their "Ice Queen" single deserved to get popular because it is at once an excellent and fairly easily accessible song. In July, DSFA released the "Mother Earth" mini DVD for 6 or 7 Euros, which is really quite cheap. Obviously I got it right away - I need my daily dose of Sharon, and it's always better to see her moving rather than see her on pictures or just hear her voice...

The DVD consists of three parts. First there's the "Mother Earth" video clip. This is very professional, very well done, beautiful, and features a truly angelic Sharon. This is the kind of stuff that fits very well with their gothic/fairytale metal. Thumbs up so far.

The second section contains four live tracks from a show in France (Paris, I think). The songs are "Mother Earth", "Ice Queen", "Restless" and "Caged". The sound is pretty good and there is plenty of emphasis on Sharon (logically). However, over the past couple of months Sharon's stage presentation has become quite irritating. It's been getting worse over time - constantly waving her arms about, accenting every syllable with a pointing finger. Once you notice that she really does only three things (the pointing in the air, the grabbing of an imaginary thing to clutch it to her chest, and the extending of an outstretched hand), you find yourself almost screaming, "restrain yourself or get a larger mime vocabulary!" Well, I do, anyway. The live registration is pretty faithful, however I find myself not enjoying it quite as much as I could have - on account of Sharon's limited stage act. "Just sing when you have to, bang you head when you can, and that's fine with me." How's that for advice?

It needs to be mentioned that the actual DVD menu design is not userfriendly at all. You cannot play all songs automatically, and every time a song ends the menu cursor is right back at the topmost of the list (instead of, say, the next). It would have been a piece of cake to implement this better.

The third part is a documentary ("back stage") of Within Tempation's recent week of touring through France. In itself this is quite interesting, though the journalist chappie is extremely unprofessional and immature - he seems rather more interested in whether the band likes him than in asking interesting questions. The whole thing has a distinctly home-video, amateur quality: Cameramen laughing, their camera shaking; people acting crazy when the camera is on (including the journalist chap). Not very professional at all. There's one minute that has no sound at all, and at the end it just cuts off smack in the middle of an interview reply and returns to the main menu.

My general impression of the journalist guy - for lack of a better phrase - was probably not helped by the fact that he looked uncannily like the guy who walked off with my now ex-wife. But hey, that's just me giving room for my remaining bitterness to thrash around unchecked.

All in all, this DVD could have been better with only marginally more work (if at all). I wonder, however, what caused them to produce this mini DVD when they have a full live performance sitting somewhere: They recorded a performance in a church in Zwolle earlier this year for later release. The video clip is nice to see once or twice, the live footage is nice (but bugs me endlessly, as said before) and the documentary (had it been complete) is interesting to watch once. Still, it's a really cheap DVD so it's practically like looking a gift horse in the mouth.

Well hey.



Written August 2002


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