WITHIN TEMPTATION's SHARON DEN ADEL: 'Some People Stopped Following Us' Because We Became More Outspoken On World Issues

April 2, 2024

On April 5, Dutch metallers WITHIN TEMPTATION will release their brand-new song, "A Fool's Parade", which marks a collaboration with the talented Ukrainian producer Alex Yarmak. According to a press release from WITHIN TEMPTATION's publicist, "A Fool's Parade" "highlights Russia's pretense regarding the war, and condemns its lies, ongoing crimes and brutal intentions."

The song, released as a harbinger of the much-anticipated "Bleed Out 2024 Tour", is a powerful expression of what the press release calls "WITHIN TEMPTATION's commitment to continue shedding light on the ongoing existential struggle that Ukraine is facing against Russia's cruel invasion."

For the recording of the accompanying music video for "A Fool's Parade", Sharon Den Adel — the frontwoman of WITHIN TEMPTATION — recently spent time in Kyiv, Ukraine. The music video was directed by renowned Ukrainian video director Indy Hait.

With involvement in initiatives such as the Ukraine Aid OPS foundation, WITHIN TEMPTATION aims to keep drawing attention to Europe's much-needed support for Ukraine's defense.

During her stay in Kyiv, Sharon spoke to Metal Pilgrim about WITHIN TEMPTATION's decision to use its platform to draw attention to a variety of issues, including the plight of women fighting for their rights in Iran.

Sharon said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "We never cared about what people wanted us to say or not to say. We always did what we wanted to do. But the older you get and the more confident you get in being who you are and what you stand for, you're more expressive. And I also feel like I have nothing to [lose] — well, of course, you have something to lose when you speak out about things like this, because it can always backlash, of course. And it's very delicate to choose the right words for things. But I try to prepare myself really well. And I hope eventually that pays off, meaning the people get the message. Some people stopped following us because we started supporting [certain causes] and being more outspoken. They say, 'You can't be political as a band.' I don't agree because everybody has an opinion and everybody's loud, and that's also society today. As you see on social media, it's like there's no filter on anything. I'm not saying that I need to overshout other people, but more like I still wanna stand for my opinion and hopefully make people think about it."

Den Adel went on to say that "you also have to choose your battles" in terms of which issues to focus on when coming up with lyrical themes for songs. "[The Russia-Ukraine war] is happening in Europe, and we are a European band. And so we also got a lot of times the question, 'What about this country? What about this situation?' And there's also a lot of awful things happening in different parts of the world. And also in interviews, I will talk about it when people ask me, but I won't do it on the social media because you get in discussion and it becomes one big fight with pro and against certain subjects. For me, in interviews, I do respond to that as well. But I also have to pick my battles. If I take on all the injustice of the world, it will fade away for the thing that I, at the moment, am inspired about most. And the last album that we did, with 'Bleed Out', we have focused on certain parts of the world, like Iran — there's one song, 'Bleed Out', is about that — but a lot of songs, actually, are about the Ukraine, because we're in the same region — it's a two-hours flight from Amsterdam to Kiev. So, I hope people understand that we are picking our battles — something that's closer. Everybody has to do that. But also, like I said, if I talk about every problem in the world, it doesn't come across as authentic and honest either, because it's, like, you're a saint or something, which I'm not."

In a June 2023 interview with James Wilson-Taylor of Rock Sound, Den Adel spoke about the lyrical inspiration for WITHIN TEMPTATION's "Wireless" single: "When the war started in the Ukraine, we were in the studio writing songs, And it's one of the songs that we wrote. And it is about war, of course. It's about a soldier going to war and thinking he's going to liberate people, do good stuff and be a hero and everything, but then he finds out that he's been lied to by media but also government. And then he finds that he can't go back because he's already in his army gear, for instance. You can't go forward, you can't go backward because you have your buddies next to you and you'll all die in the field. And in front of you, you have a mission impossible almost."

The Dutch singer continued: "So that's what we try to do — maybe also shine a light on certain situations within the war. It's just we're storytellers — it's like amplifying a certain kind of emotion that people could feel in this situation."

Asked how she and her bandmates decided to use Russia's invasion of Ukraine as inspiration for one of their songs, Sharon said: "Well, from my point of view, it's not just their war. I really believe what some people are saying — it's really our war as well. Because it's next to us. They already said, they're not gonna stop at Ukraine; they're gonna go further. And a couple of hours flying from my home, it's already Kyiv. So it's also our war. I think we should be aware of the fact that this is a danger for all of us. They won't stop. And hopefully — we wanna keep this a little bit alive in our own small way by writing about it and talking about it and waving a flag on stage about it."

In March 2022, WITHIN TEMPTATION was one of the artists who took part in a telethon concert in support of Ukraine. "Save Ukraine - #StopWar" united more than 20 countries and bring together more than 50 participants. The marathon was broadcast from Warsaw on the Polish TV channel TVP. In addition, broadcasters from many countries around the world rebroadcasted the marathon on their local channels.

In an interview with Greece's Rock Overdose, Den Adel stated about her band's participation in the event: "For us, it was an honor to be asked for it. I think as a band and as people, we really value freedom of speech and freedom and democracy. I think as a band, people sometimes say, 'Don't be so political,' people say, 'Don't be so expressive and don't take a side on things.' But as a musician, I think it's important to represent who you are, not just in music but really stand for what you make and what you are saying in your lyrics in a way. And things that are happening in the world inspire us to write music, and then you also have to take a stance and what side you are. I think when it's so obvious where there's an aggressor and where there is a country being violated, invaded, you should take a stance and then it makes it much easier even to be very clear about where you stand in this whole conflict. Of course, it's something that we are keeping ourselves updated with every day because we find it very sad to see that a country that wants to be a democracy is invaded this way. So we are very honored to be asked also to play for this event, this marathon, and happy to do it."

Released last October, WITHIN TEMPTATION's latest album, "Bleed Out", signifies a bold leap forward for the band. From contemporary, hard-hitting, and djenty riffs to soaring melodies displaying their symphonic roots, WITHIN TEMPTATION has created a sonic journey that fuses diverse musical styles and thought-provoking themes. This is an album that is as epic as it is unflinchingly outspoken, and now more than ever, this is a band who isn't afraid to make a stand on issues the members care about.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, WITHIN TEMPTATION have shifted their focus from writing about personal emotions and societal subjects to tackling global injustices and reflecting the tumultuous state of the world in a way that other artists seem unable or unwilling to do.

While songs such as "Wireless" and "We Go To War" examine the authoritarian aggression on display in Ukraine and other warzones, the title track itself addresses the plight of women fighting for their rights in Iran after the murder of Mahsa Amini.

The album also grapples with the complex issues around a woman's right to choose in recent single "Don't Pray For Me" and throughout, this impassioned and political focus is reflected in the intensity and heaviness of the music. Embracing a new era of musical exploration and lyrical depth, WITHIN TEMPTATION have pushed boundaries and showcased their artistic evolution, delivering a fist-in-the-air proclamation of both their moral convictions and their fearless approach to music.

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