Mother Earth is the second studio album by Dutchsymphonic metal band Within Temptation. Originally released on 24 December 2000 in the Netherlands, and 21 August 2001 in other parts of Europe, it quickly became a success in the band's heartland, reaching platinum status in the Netherlands and Germany in addition to achieving TMF Awards in both the Netherlands and Belgium. As of 2011, the album reportedly sold 800,000 copies.
The album was licensed to be released in Germany and neighboring countries through GUN Records in January 2003 as a special extended edition with four bonus tracks. The same edition reached the United Kingdom through Sanctuary Records with a release in September 2004. The album was re-released by Roadrunner Records on 28 September 2007, with bonus live tracks.
On 5 August 2008, Mother Earth along with The Silent Force was released in the United States on Roadrunner Records.
By 1999 the band had built their own studio and had begun recording demos for the Mother Earth album there. The album itself was recorded in Studio RS29 in Waalwijk, the Netherlands. Oscar Holleman, who had produced and engineered The Dance, was again producer and one of the sound engineers was Stephen van Haestregt, future drummer for the band. Sharon recalls that "I had a day for each song, which is still not very much, but you can try out things. We also did some demos before the recordings, so there you can check if you like or dislike parts of a song, and so you have more time when it comes to recording". Ayreon's Arjen Lucassen provided the guitar solo for the track "Dark Wings".
The sound of Mother Earth was a departure for the band. In a 2008 interview with Faceculture, Sharon states that Mother Earth was "a little bit older, a little bit more knowledgeable about how we wanted to sound, even then, of course you grow, so we had a better picture of how we wanted to sound. We didn't want to have the grunt vocals anymore. We felt like everyone was using that as a gimmick, and we didn't want to have it in our music anymore because of that...and also we were very much enthralled by a movie at that time, Braveheart, which was very Celtic, and that's how our album became very Celtic because we were so in love with the soundtrack of the Braveheart movie. So inspired by that, the album came out that way...I still love that album very much...it came together in a very natural way. The songs were sometimes written in a day, it did take time to work it out more, the way it sounded in the end, but it was like the ideas and the whole concepts of certain songs were written mostly in one day, the chorus and the verses."
AllMusic rated the album 4 and a half stars, the reviewer calling it "easily one of the best releases of 2001", and praising it for its "mature and confident sound" and Sharon den Adel's "elusive and intangible presence", adding "The rise of goth/prog metal seemed to reach a peak at the turn of the century, with an endless supply of bands offering their own spin on the subgenre. Only a handful of these bands seem to have anything interesting or unique to offer... With the release of Mother Earth, there was little doubt that the cream of the crop had indeed risen to the top... A landmark release that set new standards for creativity, musicianship, and taste — not just for goth/prog metal, but for any style of music."