Delain - Lucidity 4/5

Reviewed: 1-26-07





Tracklist:

1. Sever
2. Frozen
3. Silhouette of a dancer
4. No compliance
5. See me in shadow
6. Shattered
7. The gathering
8. Daylight lucidity
9. Sleepwalkers dream
10. A day for ghosts
11. Pristine
12. Deep frozen (bonus track)


Delain is a new band that was formed by Martijn Westerholt, the ex-Within Temptation keyboardist (who had to leave because of health problems at the time). The band contains guest musicians from all over the world and they quickly drew my interest. As you would guess, Delain is female fronted and their style is symphonic/gothic metal similar to Within Temptation, so Xandria, Elis, Asrai and Sengir comparisons also apply, and there are even a few moments that bring Nightwish 'Once'-era to mind. At times I'm reminded of Satyrian and Catafalque, but Delain isn't really of the "beauty and the beast" variety, so the first list of bands is much more accurate.

Some male vocals do exist however, and there are a number of them (most notably is Marco Hietala of Nightwish/Tarot fame, who's actually heard more than the others). They have more of an occasional presence though, leaving the vocal duties for the wonderful Charlotte Wessels, who was apparently a part of the "beauty and the beast" band To Elysium, but she doesn't sing on the band's first 2 CDs ('Dearest vile' and 'Nightmare's nest') that I have, so perhaps she parted with the band before they got started. Charlotte's really got a beautiful voice and fans of the bands I've mentioned thus far will be more than pleased with her performance. She sings on all but 2 songs, which are track 4 "No compliance" (sung by Sharon den Adel of Within Temptation!) and track 10 "A day for ghosts" (sung by Liv Kristine of Leaves' Eyes/ex-Theatre of Tragedy).

Musically, the band's thick/heavy and slow to mid-paced style of symphonic/gothic metal works very well. The only fast song is the previously mentioned "A day for ghosts" (which sounds a lot like a Leaves' Eyes song, probably due mostly to Liv's vocals), but there are some moments of speed throughout other songs. Thankfully, guitar solos are present and it's an aspect of the CD that I've been quite surprised with. There are a number of guest guitarists, including Ad Sluyter (Epica), Jan Yrlund (Imperia/Satyrian/others), the previously mentioned Marco Hietela (on bass), and others. The many musicians have fit together nicely and 'Lucidity' flows consistently well, as (despite the many contributors) the CD does not sound like a bunch of random songs.

In addition, there is not a weak song to be found on 'Lucidity' and it contains a polished production. So it's a bit difficult to pick highlights, but I should mention that track 6 "Shattered", the fun sing-a-long track 7 "The gathering", the highly symphonic track 9 "Sleepwalkers dream" and the final "Pristine" are my personal favorites. I also like the slow track 5 "See me in shadow", which features both Charlotte and Liv in dueling fashion. As a final mention, the CD features a bonus track "Deep frozen", which is the "beauty and the beast" version of track 2 "Frozen". As a whole, 'Lucidity' is a tremendous start for Delain and the CD is one that I highly recommend to fans of female fronted symphonic/gothic metal.



CLINT




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