|CD REVIEW Delain|
Band : Delain
Before starting àny review (and that frequently before even having listened to an album), your truly always makes it a point to gather as much possible information as possible about the band and its members...and this also includes checking on what other people may have written about previous work of the artists in question. With this Dutch Symphonic Goth Metal band, I could fall back on the reviews (of debut album Lucidity posted 11/10/2006, and of the sophomore April Rain posted 10/03/2009) done by colleagues, and one thing which surprised me, is that in both reviews Delain's lead singer Charlotte Wessels only seems to come into the picture with the debut album, and even then seen as a secondary member of the band, even though she was recruited on a permanent basis in 2005 (that was after Martijn sacked the complete original line-up). In fact, along with Martijn and drummer Sander Zoer (whom joined in 2006, but àfter the debut album's release) she's been part of the core of the band ever since.
Well, now thàt point has been set straight (otherwise perfect story of the band can be read in the 2009 review), let's see what happened with the band after the 2009 album's release. For starters, in the Dutch charts the album hit the #1 spot in the Alternative Top 30, and went to #14 in the regular Album Top 100. Abroad, the album hit the charts in Germany (#96), Switzerland (#91), France (#88) and excelled in Japan (#19). Evidently, extensive touring was done to promote the album, the band hitting new territories with the US and Mexico, and playing at several important European festivals including Hellfest, Lowlands, Wacken Open Air and Sonisphere. In March 2010, Otto Schimmelpenninck van der Oije was announced as the band's new bassist (their previous one not able to continue with Delain due to time constraints), and in October of the same year the band announced they were parting ways with their guitarist Ewout Pieters. The then 19 year-old Timo Somers [son of Vengeance guitarist Jan Somers and also with Vengeance from 2008 to 2010 (when they departed at the same time), he was asked to join the Zylver project in 2011, the line-up of which is made up of some of Holland's best session musicians (they release their debut album somewhere this summer), and he is currently finalising work on his instrumental solo album (featuring famous drummer Atma Anur, Vengeance's bassist Barend Courbois, and other guests) which should also be released later in the year] takes over his duties in April 2011 (in time for his first European tour with the band).
Delain started working on new material as soon as earliest 2010 (so announced in February), and actually premiered 3 songs (”Get The Devil Out Of Me”, “Milk And Honey”, and the still unreleased “Manson”) during their 2011 shows. Through the “grapevine” I'd heard wicked things about this band's in the past...to some of my friends, there was a big possibility that their contract with Roadrunner was mainly due to the fact that Charlotte's daddy is none other that the label's Dutch CEO, Cees Wessels...and I'm glad to find those voices dumbed by the band's achievements over the years! Sure, there IS a commercial quality about this band. Guitar (with some progressive elements, but not excessively so) is used mainly with a down-tuned sound to achieve a heaviness in the songs and hardly has any lead parts, which are reserved for the keyboardist, but the guitar lines are all catchy...bring a certain groove to the songs, and the keyboards have a double function, also providing the non-solo parts with elaborate atmospheric (neo-classical) sounds (occasionally synthetic, fleetingly closer to the Dance genre). Charlotte may have a somewhat limited range in her voice (although she proves being able to reach the higher note on this album a couple of times), but she uses her voice admirably...not one half false note on the album due to having forced her voice! All together, the album has enough qualities for yours truly (with a longtime aversion for the “commercial” bands) to actually like what Delain offers here! Special attention is warranted for the album title song, inspired by the Sophie Lancaster case (you know, that British Goth girl that got beaten up for looking different, and which eventually dies from the injuries sustained). Far from being a protest song against what happened, it is a call for youngsters of all nations to break out of their uniformed shells, and claim their own uniqueness.
Originally, the album was supposed to be released in early 2012, but with Warner Music buying out the label in late 2011 the release date was postponed (personally, I really don't see why, because We Are The Others has enough qualities to ensure certain sales figures...besides, such delays bring the risk that an album could be leaked. Oh well, with leading single “Get The Devil Out Of Me” having been released on April 13th, the album is now out as well. Those among you still needing to make their acquaintance with this band best check the video section at the band's own (www.) delain.nl (for more audio, also check the downloads section). People wanting to know what's on the new album will have to make due with samples (“Like” the band's official facebook page to hear teaser clips...or check out the album's page on your trusted online sales websites – they usually provide 30-second samples of àll songs on an album). At the time of my checking the Net, no full-length songs off the album were available.