Review Summary: Delain are certainly not winning any awards for innovation, but they've made a damn good album all the same.
"Lucidity's" Delain is:
Martijn Westerholt-keyboards, orchestra arrangements
Charlotte Wessels-lead vocals
Marco Hietala (from Nightwish
)-bass, occasional lead vocals
Arlen van Weesenbeek (from God Dethroned
Ad Sluijter (from Epica
Guus Eikens (from Orphanage
Jan Yrlund (from Imperia
Delain was founded by the former Within Temptation
keyboardist, Martijn Westerholt, who left Within Temptation after becoming ill. Once he recovered, he decided to form a new band with lead vocalist Charlotte Wessels (also secondary songwriter) making music that, unsurprisingly, is in the same vein as Within Temptation. For this album, they decided to record with many others in well-established metal bands, not with other official members. Because of this, no song has the exact same lineup as another.
At this point, you might be turning away from this, because the description above sounds like it would not go over very well. However, I'm happy to say that it does work. While there are many different musicians participating, to the untrained ear, it likely would not sound that way. The songs all feel like they belong on the same album, and it sounds consistent throughout.
The first track "Sever" is a good opening track. This song has a powerful guitar sound, and makes good use of the symphonic elements. Charlotte Wessels gives a good vocal performance, as does Marco, and together they sound amazing. After two minutes, the rest of the song is instrumental, with the exception of some choir chanting (courtesy of Guus Eikens and Rosan van der Aa, both from Orphanage). This is a rather unusual song, due to it's structure, so this might not be enjoyed by all. Now the question is, will they keep the momentum going?
The next four songs manage to do so. "Frozen" is excellent and engaging. With interesting guitar work, haunting orchestral elements, and good lyrics and vocals, this is certainly a highlight of the album. "Silhouette of a Dancer" features more outstanding guitar, and more great vocals that do an excellent job of conveying emotion, plus death growls by Orphanage singer George Oosthoek, which, when mixed with Charlotte's sad-sounding vocals, provides the picture of anger and sadness at the same time.
The next track "No Compliance" has an amazing vocal performance, but not by Charlotte Wessels. This song is sung by Sharon den Adel from Within Temptation, and her dreamy-sounding voice fits this song like a glove. It briefly features another vocal spot by Marco, which helps the song along. This song is also notable for having the most heavy use of symphonic elements yet (on this album). This is definitely another highlight. The next song "See Me In Shadow" shows the return of Charlotte to the lead vocal spot, along with Liv Kristine, vocalist for Leaves' Eyes
This might just be Charlotte's best performance yet. However, Liv's vocals sound rather weak compared to Charlotte's, which slows the momentum down. "Shattered" fails to stand up to it's predecessors, and provides a near complete halt to the momentum.
Fortunately, "The Gathering" gets the ball rolling again. With an amazing duet between Charlotte and Marco, and an overall very epic sound, this is probably the best song on the album. However, the next two songs "Daylight Lucidity" and "Sleepwalker's Dream" once again, do not stand up to the great songs. It's not that they're bad, they just don't seem to shine through very much among the other great songs. However "Daylight Lucidity" features Marco again, as well as more choir vocals, which make it shine a little more.
"A Day For Ghosts" has Liv Kristine getting the main vocal spot. This time, her voice fits the song much more, possibly because it is faster than "See Me In Shadow." Liv has a very haunting quality to her voice, making it all the more appropriate. This song features Marco almost screaming his vocal part, but it really fits the song.
"Pristine" features George Oosthoek, although this time, he gets in front rather than just in the background, which kind of dampens the quality of the song, since the lyrics are nearly unintelligible. Otherwise, the song is just okay not great. George shows up for the last track "(Deep) Frozen" which is the song "Frozen" with an alternate chorus, with the new chorus sung by George. The lyrics are a little easier to understand this time.
Delain doesn't bring anything new to the table, but they make great use of what's already there. Overall, this is a very good symphonic metal album, with flaws throughout, but they are spaced out enough so certain sections don't suffer from being completely lackluster. I would definitely recommend this to fans of bands like Within Temptation, Nightwish, and Epica.
*Excellent singing throughout
*Well-done use of symphonic elements
*Several songs are rather boring compared to others
*Long instrumental sections on songs like "Sever" might not be enjoyed by some
*A rather weak ending