"It’s your opinion as an artist. That’s what art is for. That’s what makes it interesting.” Within Temptation explain why the 'keep politics out of music' argument is stupid as hell

Sharon Den Adel
(Image credit: Future (Tim Troncke))

On their emotionally and politically-charged new album, Bleed Out, Dutch symphonic metal icons Within Temptation are digging deep into some of the current global issues that matter the most to them, ranging from the Russian invasion of Ukraine to abortion rights for women and the death of Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, who was arrested for allegedly breaking hijab rules and died in custody under extremely suspicious circumstances.

Speaking exclusively to Metal Hammer in our latest issue, Sharon den Adel and Robert Westerholt reveal that the band's decision to be more forthcoming in their tackling of political issues in recent years (even if they are hesitant to call Bleed Out a 'political album') has drawn some depressing reactions.

"I deleted a message on Facebook," Sharon reveals, explaining that a fan (or, rather, a troll) had taken exception to Within Temptations 2019 single Raise Your Banner, which has been dedicated to Ukraine at the band's recent live shows. 

“He said, ‘You’re preaching about freedom and then you preach war. You slut,'" she tells us, explaining that the 'fan' was complaining about a particular lyric in the song: 'Blood for freedom'.

“It means you would give your life to have freedom,”  Sharon points out. “So, if he had put five minutes of effort into reading the lyrics, then he would know Raise Your Banner is taking a stand.”

“What annoys me a lot is that people say, ‘Don’t talk about politics’,” adds Robert. “It’s not even politics. It’s your opinion as an artist. Artists have opinions. That’s what art is for. That’s what makes it interesting.”

Sharon also discusses the reaction that greeted an opinion piece she wrote for Kerrang! for International Women's Day, in which the singer explained the imporance of access to abortion.

“There were people who didn’t understand my point of view,” she says. “Not everybody is in the same place at the same time when you write an article like that. But backlash is also a good thing, because then it gets the attention that it needs.

“We were fighting for that and talking about it [when I was in my teens], and we’re still fighting the same battles,” she says of the issues facing women today. “It doesn’t seem like we have stepped forward yet.”

For more from Within Temptation, you can pick up the latest issue of Metal Hammer, out now. Their new album Bleed Out is out October 20.

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He has also presented and produced the Metal Hammer Podcast, presented the Metal Hammer Radio Show and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.