Within Temptation – ‘We refused Eurovision, we don’t need it’

“I don’t see us as a political band at all,” Sharon den Adel reasoned. “Although we’ve always been engaged with politics, inspired by and engaged with it, in the past, when we were just starting, we were afraid of speaking out about what we were inspired by.”

Within Temptation must have seen it all by now. The band have been selling out venues around the world for almost three full decades, and while their latest record, Bleed Out, is a continuation of their epic, symphonic, Earth-shattering music mastery, it is tinged with something new.

Frontwoman Sharon exclusively told Express.co.uk that Bleed Out cautiously hones in on today’s politics because it is something she felt the band “had” to do.

Before this, though, she confessed: “Politics was not cool, we were more into this escapism kind of vibe. And talking about politics really brings you back down to Earth. So, we [could] talk about it for ourselves in metaphors but not directly.”

“This time around,” she went on. “It felt like there was so much happening. If we don’t address it… we just can’t look away again.”

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As a result, Bleed Out has a few standout tracks that are directly related to some political issues. Don’t Pray For Me delves into women’s rights around the world, and the various abortion rules different countries hold. Meanwhile, Entertain You points out “offences, victimisation, and exploitation”. The band continued: “That happens every day, and is mainly justified in the name of economic necessity, politics, religion, culture, sex, and race.”

Over lunch in central London, Sharon mused: “I feel many people are having more opinions about everything, these days. [They are] more outspoken. Not just bands or music, but people in general. I feel the moment is here to address certain things that maybe we haven’t yet.” Sharon added: “Maybe we can’t change anything… but in a small way we can contribute.”

On top of wanting to make a difference, Within Temptation’s change in mantra ultimately comes down to one other thing. “I do realise the older I get,” Sharon said. “What is the legacy you want to leave behind? Are you going to be a band that didn’t say anything when it was so crucial to do so? It’s for myself; I want to look at myself in the mirror and feel good about what I’m doing. You can do so much more than just make music – you can do so much good. This album is – for that reason only – the most precious album we have released so far.”

Sharon has proven Within Temptation means every word of this, as well. The band have spent the last four years perfecting Bleed Out, crafting its music and lyrics to be able to date on these delicate political and social issues.

If Within Temptation simply wanted fame and fortune, Sharon admits they’ve had the opportunity – multiple times – but turned it down.

“We’ve been asked by the official Eurovision [team] in the Netherlands to [compete] a few times already,” she admitted, before confirming they’ve turned it down every time.

Sharon claims the Eurovision Song Contest bosses told her: “Let’s make it happen. You have so many friends around the world, they’ll vote for you!”

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“So actually,” Sharon went on. “What they’re saying is they’re going to use you to win it! But they’re not supporting us on radio stations in the Netherlands … I don’t want to do it because of that reason.” She added: “You don’t win, you only lose.”

It’s no real surprise Within Temptation has been invited to join Eurovision, considering their gargantuan live shows involve flames, giant heads, monumental light shows and endless surprises. They also would not be the only established band to join the line-up in recent years. Renowned metal band Lord of the Lost represented Germany earlier this year while prog-metal pioneers Voyager played for Australia.

“Nowadays there’s a lot of cool bands doing Eurovision,” Sharon continued. “Because they think it might open doors for them.” But Within Temptation doesn’t need that? “No,” she confirmed. “Exactly.”

She’s not wrong. The Dutch rockers have almost sold out an entire UK arena tour, which kicks off in November 2024. Eurovision would surely be nice for them, she admitted, but they’re doing just fine without it.

“We’re doing what we’re doing and I love what we do,” she went on. “And it’s authentic.”

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