.@planetmosh gets to grips with the new @delainmusic release.
Within Temptation may be the undisputed torchbearers for the Dutch metal scene right now, but Delain are also causing tremors of their own. Having formed out of their fellow countrymen in 2002 (founding member Martijn Westerholt played keyboards in WT), they have gone from strength to strength and their fourth album, The Human Contradiction, is released on April 4th via Napalm Records. Considering this is a band which was initially never meant to play live and just cater for Westerholt’s creative needs, it’s not too shabby a progression.
Continuing to grow in stature as well is frontwoman Charlotte Wessels, to the point that she is the real star of the album. She might not have the range of other symphonic metal singers like Sharon den Adel or Tarja Turunen but she is certainly not content with remaining in her rivals’ shadow. Indeed, her tone and style give opening track ‘Here Comes the Vultures’ a very sinister air, which leaves you with hairs beginning to creep on the back of your neck. What’s important though is that it works with the overall style of the band, which is definitely developing towards a more edgier and heavier sound than something more epic and soaring that would be traditionally associated with their particular subgenre of metal.
The vast majority of the tracks are less than five minutes long which gives them a lot of punch and avoids the ever-present pitfall of becoming too self-indulgent. Even when they do showcase the archetypal styles of symphony, like the opening to ‘My Masquerade’, it merely serves to immerse you in the song and then take you on a journey far different to what you might expect. The riffs and hooks have a lot more ‘chug’ to them (check out ‘Tell Me, Mechanist’ to understand what I mean) and it is lovingly balanced to the point that you could sit back and enjoy the song or bang your head like a nutter and both responses would be entirely appropriate. Once more, Marco Hietala from Nightwish provides guest vocals and his back-and-forth with Charlotte on ‘Your Body is Battleground’ is a definite highlight. Elsewhere, former Orphanage member George Oosthoek provides the ‘death growls’ you hear on the aforementioned …Mechanist, whilst ex-TheAgonist and newly-announced Arch Enemy singer Alissa White-Gluz lends both her clean and growling pipes to closing track ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’.
What we have here is a band very much in the ascendancy bringing out a record that is appropriately evolved and well-measured. They might be Within Temptation’s main support on tour this time around, but if the headliners aren’t careful, Delain will take their crown with ease if The Human Contradiction is anything to go by.
Martijn Westerholt – keyboards
Charlotte Wessels – vocals
Sander Zoer – drums
Otto Schimmelpenninck van der Oije – bass guitar
Timo Somers – guitar
1) Here Come the Vultures
2) Your Body is a Battleground
4) My Masquerade
5) Tell Me, Mechanist
6) Sing to Me
7) Army of Dolls
9) The Tragedy of the Commons