Let me paint you a picture before I begin. Imagine me on a slow night in June, surfing the Web and feeding my addiction to Wikipedia. I come across a page on sub-genres of metal music and find a link for the page on “symphonic metal,” which catches my attention. At this point, I’m starting to enjoy the chords and deep-throated vocals of metal (thanks in no small part to the Adult Swim series Metalocalypse).
Click. There’s a sub-heading. Symphonic Gothic Metal? Hmm, sounds like something Tim Burton and Danny Elfman would create. I may have to check this out.
Thirty seconds later, I’m hooked. And in the spirit of generosity, I must share the feelings of grandeur that overwhelmed me upon my first listening.
The Song: A Soaring Voice Amid Black Backdrops
“Mother Earth” begins with gentle pipes and floating voices for the first few seconds, then cranks up the power to playing the same melody over with deep rocking guitars, drums, and synthesizers. Lead vocalist and songwriter Sharon den Adel provides a generally upbeat voice that goes “up to eleven” during the chorus, which is where I fell in love with this song in the first place. It’s that mystic blend of her soaring voice against the hard-hitting guitar chords and drum beats that gets me, a musical chiaroscuro–all the more so at 3:24, when den Adel, Robert Westerholt, and other vocals segue into a haunting reprise of the chorus.
The Music Video: Who’s Up For The More Epic Nature Walk Ever?!
The video for this song (although about a minute shorter than the song itself) is set in Lake Delsjön near Gothenburg, Sweden, giving us a very breathtaking scene for this song. In addition to her vocals, Sharon den Adel plays a fey spirit of the earth, clad in white and spreading enchantment and blessings upon the whole forest.
There’s also some great shots of a white horse running and a snow owl flying majestically, but just as majestic are the shots of the band playing in the middle of a clearing at day and night. Den Adel wears red and plays wonderfully to the camera, while guitarist Robert Westerholt, with his goatee and all-black getup, looks like such a badass standing opposite his longtime partner. And I can’t help but join in when they all start banging their heads in rhythm to the final notes at the end of the song.
The entire music video can be viewed at the bottom of this page.
Final Verdict: It’d Be A Great Anthem For Environmentalism
This is one of those songs that it’s easy–for me, anyway–to be a fanboy over. It’s just rocking and epic and fun, so I love it. But there’s also a nice element of natural beauty in both the lyrics and the video. They speak of the ancient spirit of the world, Mother Earth or Gaia–however you chose to see her. And unlike some other environment-friendly works, there’s no preaching, no we-must-save-the-earth-to-save-ourselves message. It’s just a love of the earth given the appropriate grandeur, as only a Dutch Gothic metal band can deliver.
“Mother Earth” and the album of the same name are both available for download from iTunes.
Bibliography: Within Temptation. “Mother Earth.” Mother Earth (album). CD. New York: Roadrunner Records, 2000; Warner Music Group, 2008.