Delain - Lucidity

Source: DPRP

Tracklist: Sever (4:53), Frozen (4:43), Silhouette Of A Dancer (5:24), No Compliance (5:09), See Me In Shadows (4:40), Shattered (4:19), The Gathering (3:34), Daylight Lucidity (4:35), Sleepwalkers Dream (4:27), A Day For Ghosts (3:37), Pristine (4:31), Deep Frozen [bonus track](4:44)

Back in 2001 things were looking good for the Dutch symphonic metal band Within Temptation. The release of the second single Ice Queen, from the album Mother Earth, was their big breakthrough and the world lay at their feet. At that moment in time keyboard player Martijn Westerholt was diagnosed with Pfeiffer's disease and was not able to handle the busy schedule of the band. However immediately after his illness he started writing songs as a way to pass the time and the desire to make music on a professional level got stronger everyday and he finally decided to personally contact some talented musicians from well known bands to create his project Delain. The name Delain is inspired by Stephen King's book The Eyes of the Dragon.

Famous names helped recording this album among whom Marco Hietala (Nightwish), Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation), Ad Sluijter (Epica) and Liv Kristine (Leaves Eyes). But the real star of the album is 19-year old Charlotte Wessels. Martijn met her as she lived down the street from the house of Martijn's parents. She contributed to the lyrics and has a pleasant natural way of singing in contrary to the operatic style common to the symphonic metal genre. Starting out as a project Delain is currently a busy live band. Besides Martijn and Charlotte, Delain is completed by bass player Rob van der Loo (Sun Caged), guitar player and vocalist Ronald Landa and drummer Sander Zoer. Guitar player Ray van Lente recently left the band for personal reasons but will not be replaced.

Delain's sound is a mixture of Within Temptation (of course) and Epica. Especially the dark atmospheric keyboards from main song-writer Martijn define the sound of this album. Despite the high quality of this recording it's all very on the safe side. Absolutely no risks were taken and a few songs can easily be categorised as commercial material, with most of the songs around four and a half minutes and the song-structures are very predictable.

The opening song Sever immediately shows what to expect on this album. Heavy guitar parts drenched in keyboard are varied by slow parts with Charlotte singing beautifully. Frozen is the first single (released 21 May 2007) and is a very accessible song. Silhouette Of A Dancer is a slower and more atmospheric song with the chorus spiced up by grunts form George Oosthoek (Orphanage). No Compliance is the only song sung by Sharon den Adel and it's also the low point of the album in my opinion. The song lacks direction, it's not a ballad and it never starts rocking. The vocal parts of Sharon and Marc never really appeal to me.

The second single See Me In Shadows (release 23 July 2007) is a ballad of sheer beauty and marks the first highlight of the album. It's a duet between Charlotte and Liv Kristine and on this song Martijn rules the show with beautiful piano parts and atmospheric keyboards. Shattered is a straight forward song that holds nothing really interesting besides the fact that it's the bridge to the absolute highlight of the album. The Gathering is a rock song that blew me away the first time I heard it and after several spins it still does. It starts with a sing-a-long chorus followed by a powerful riff. After a vocal part and a bridge to the sing-a-long chorus we start all over again. After doing this twice the song steps up a tone and ends with the powerful riff drenched in keyboard. This is the most predictable song on this album but the bottom line: IT ROCKS.

Daylight Lucidity
and Sleepwalkers Dream are straightforward songs that never reach the level of The Gathering. On A Day For Ghosts it's clear that Ad plays the guitar and this song could easily be on a Epica record whilst Pristine is a heavy ending to the album with lot's of grunts from George Oosthoek. The bonus track Deep Frozen is simply the song Frozen with a different chorus.

Delain has produced a very good debut-album that provides high quality music, however if you are looking for ground breaking music then this album is not the place to find it. The songs follow a predictable pattern and all is very much on the safe side. For fans of symphonic metal, especially Within Temptation and Epica, this album must be present in your collection.

Conclusion: 8- out of 10



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