Those who like the gothic rock style of Within Temptation will want to check out the "Mother Earth Tour" double DVD (including bonus live CD). But before I start the review, let's first put something straight.

Within Temptation is not gothic rock. When I think of gothic rock I think of The Mission, of Sisters of Mercy, possibly even of Type-O-Negative. I think of people who are generally not very happy, who wear black make-up, and who wouldn't be caught dead smiling or even grinning. This whole gothic thing has taken off in the metal scene, for example with bands like Therion and Within Temptation that arguably have a few gothic ingredients in their music. The good thing is that their concerts are frequented by many girls wearing stunning-looking gothic-style dresses, some of them displaying proud cleavages. I am a man of flesh and blood, I cannot help my wandering eyes and my appreciation of said visuals. However, the mere fact that concert visitors tend to wear black make-up and the chicks have their boobies bulging out does not mean that the music is gothic.

Those who like the actually-not-at-all-gothic-rock style of Within Temptation, however, will still want to check out the "Mother Earth Tour" double DVD (including bonus live CD). After the "Mother Earth" mini DVD (reviewed to mixed feelings elsewhere), this is finally a full product.

The first DVD features a full performance culled together from Rock Werchter, Pukkelpop and Lowlands, all from the summer of 2002. "Deep Within" features Orphanage's George Oosterhoek on guest vocals, there is a fair amount of headbanging, and the director has miraculously made Sharon's limited gesticulatory vocabulary virtually non-irritating. Now this is exactly what I wanted! The final song, "Ice Queen", has the sound from Lowlands with visuals from all three concerts combined, which comes across a bit weird. Additionally, the first DVD features the three video clips Within Temptation have done so far: The amateuristic "The Dance", and the very professional "Ice Queen" and "Mother Earth".

The second DVD contains loads of documentaries, including the highlight where the band play the TMF Awards and Sharon looks like an Angel Just Descended From The Heavens in her astoundingly beautiful white dress. All this documentary background footage is pretty cool in general, including an acoustic version of "Ice Queen". Finally, the Broerenkerk performance (Zwolle, Netherlands) is featured here. The band was supported by a full choire here, however (and unfortunately) the choire is not audible in the mix. Additionally, there's an "Ice Queen" multi-angle feature (visuals switch between the three concerts that were recorded), a pretty modest photo gallery and a "Making of...Mother Earth" feature (already in MPEG form on the bonus CD of the original "Mother Earth" 2CD release).

Last but not least, let's not forget the bonus CD, which contains the complete (?) live performance from Lowlands. It's a very cool performance - Sharon's voice is excellent, except during her initial part of "Enter" (off-key!). There's a female guest vocalist on "Our Farewell" which I personally think doesn't fit very well, and at times she's faltering to say the least. "Deep Within" has George, "The Dance" is really cool. The production is very heavy, perhaps sacrificing the high end of the sound spectrum a tad too much. There's also an acoustic version of "Neverending Story", which as far as I am concerned is not the most essential part, though Sharon's vocals are exquisite.

The double DVD and CD come with a beautifully photographed booklet. A beautiful Java applet version of this booklet can be found here (link courtesy of Studio Mystica).



Written December 2002


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