Formed in 2002 by Martijn Westerholt, DELAIN began the journey to make its impact on the world of symphonic \m/etal. Westerholt (keys) picked up Charlotte Wessels (vocals) early on and now, with Timo Somers (guitars), Otto Schimmelpenninck van der Oije (bass) and Joey de Boer (drums) they have come out with what I feel is their best (sixth studio) production to date: Apocalypse & Chill (out now, Napalm Records).
Skirting the edge of their typical sound, DELAIN has come up with just enough creativity that one is left dangling from the edge of familiarity. The album is a bit heavier and definitely more visionary than their last Moonbathers (which I was not really fond of). They have put a ton of innovation into this new effort. Heavy on the synth and orchestral compositions, there is no denying this is a DELAIN work of art. I first heard them back about 2014 and have seen them twice live here in Dallas touring in second spot between NIGHTWISH and SABATON and then on dual tour with SABATON. DELAIN has one of the best choreographed shows I’ve seen.
“One Second” begins with a traditional angelic background with a soon-to-be-familiar earworm lyric “It takes a second just to fall in love”. Great punchy bass and drum synchronization into badass duel guitars and uncommon growls. It was a cool beginning. “We Had Everything” has a back and forth of Wessel’s angelic vocals and heavy guitars. The band breaks this tune into what seems like many different parts….beautiful vocals and a steady beat and then pounding into some excellent \m/etal guitar. “Chemical Redemption” starts with heavy guitar, then loosens up and slows to mellow keys, a beat and Wessel’s vocals, then back to 10,000 feet. An oscillating heavy to delicate roller coaster ride.
In the number four spot is “Burning Bridges,” quintessential DELAIN with a little added demonic vocals from the guys thrown in. Though not a huge fan of these types of vocals, they do add much color and portray a visual message unlike anything else. “Vengeance” (featuring Yannis Papadopoulos of BEAST IN BLACK) is a symphonic \m/etal masterpiece. The music is perfect for the lyrics and is probably my favorite on the album. So in this journey of life, filling in the empty spaces with kindness might be the theme of “To Live is To Die”.The end of the world might be right around the corner, “We all knew THIS day would come” so “Let’s Dance” and run like hell? But to where?
Slowing things down a bit is “Creatures”. Great, twisted lyrics make it difficult to wrap one’s head around. My only complaint is that Wessel’s vocals needed to be a bit louder as I had difficulty clearly hearing them. What’s a symphonic album without a love ballad? Thall shalt not be disappointed with “Ghost House Heart”. “Legions Of The Lost” begins with a Latin phrase which means “While I breathe, I hope” or “Dum spiro spero”. While there are several references to this phrase, if I were to interpret the lyrics, the song is about the unfair treatment of the people of South Africa, but you be the judge.
Completing the disc is “Combustion”, an interesting instrumental you just need to experience for yourself. Throughout the album and almost every song there are hints of either an historic Anglo Saxon or angelic battle, or Apocalypse and Chill. Feast or famine. Right or wrong. Yes or no. DELAIN has obviously put a ton of work into this new album and it’s a great roller coaster ride. Salude’.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM
-MARK “\M/ETAL \M/ESSIAH” EHRLICH