I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a closet goth. I love Tim Burton movies with Danny Elfman scores, I love a good bit of orchestration in my metal and Cradle of Filth are one of my favourite bands. But then I also love Frozen, which has helped somewhat to raise my hopes for Within Temptation‘s appearance on the main stage after a 6 year Download absence.

With new album “Hydra” tucked under their belts and a storming tour that saw them conquer arenas this past spring, Within Temptation have returned a much more focused and fierce prospect than they were previously.

It seems that since the release of “The Silent Force” in 2005 the band have been streamlining their sound, making it more metal and hard-edged, and it has helped them reach new heights. However, it has also seen the band produce some of the best music of their career, and wisely the band sticks to their latter material for today’s set. Within Temptation have also stepped up their production and show as well, with a nice “Hydra” themed back drop, video screens and fire and ice too, complimenting the band’s music perfectly.

Within Temptation themselves are on fine form at the moment, and dare I say it, the peak of their powers, opening with a relentless version of ‘Let us Burn’ complete with pyro. Their hour-long set goes from strength to strength, and even with the sound being low in the mix on the video screens, meaning that when they played songs such as ‘Dangerous’, ‘And We Run’, and ‘Paradise (what about us)’, it was a little hard to hear the guest vocals over the PA but even that wasn’t enough to slow the momentum.

Ending on a callback to their roots with ‘Ice Queen’ and the genuine sense that one day they could move up to the top of the Download totem pole. Within Temptation brought a touch of magic to Friday at Download and proved once again that when symphonic metal is done right, it’s something that is a sight to behold.

Download Festival – Official Website

Photo credit: Danny North