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DELAIN – The Human Contradiction
Napalm Records

Hoovering on top of the Dutch gothic scene are a few bands with world wide potential. Epica and Within Temptation set a high standard for Dutch loots on the growing three of symphonical metal. Undoubtly Delain is the third band with global appeal, distancing themselves from the other two names with a slaghtly darker and more pop rooted sound. Delain and their vocalist Charlotte Wessels focus on melodic apects rather than the turbulence and sonic packed dynamics the genre is known for. The reult “The Human Contradiction” lies in front of me.

After hiring ace guitarist Timo Somers (Vengeance) the band’s onstage presence became more persistent and dominating. With Charlotte Wessels as the focal point the band now feature dan attractive new guitarp layer swinging his axe boldly and being able to capture the attention with his powerful stage act and his dominant pressence in the band’s sound. It is that exact new power which must have been the point of departure on the new album with Delain sounding more powerful tha ever before. The compositions are more intensified and the arrangements are more infringing. The thrive of the guitarriffs is astonishing and powerful, perfectly backed by impressive flourished keyboards from Martijn Westerhold. His input on “The Human Contradiction” is more relevant than ever, the interaction with his new targetman is spot on. Delain’s music is more melancholic and symphonic than before with luring dark orchestration. Cast aside that, the band still managed to set an elusive high standard with ear mingling melodies. In the midst of all the musical perfection it is Wessels charming and graceful voice which is spellbinding. Her crystal clear voice balances on the thin line between the best in the genre and the best in pop. Think of Adele’s stunning abilities in combination with the passion of Sharon Den Adel (Within Temptation). Wessels is blessed with a nice tembre and good range, but knows her limitations which keeps her from overstretching. Her technique is sublime and she belts an A game on this new CD.

On top the band brought in some renowned names such as Marco Hietala (Nightwish), George Oosthoek (Orphanage) and Arch Enemy’s new vocalist Alissa White-Gluz. The duets with Wessels are astonishing esspecially Hietala hinting his more metallic side rather than his grunts. “Your Body is a Battleground” and “Sing to Me” are unique showcases of skill and grace with both vocalists on top of their game. On top is this album for sure. “Here come the Vultures” opens with a tender melodic hook that sets the high standard of the album. It’s captivating and sticky and should have easily shot up the charts in better times. The dark and melancholic outline is casting a dark shadow over the refined melodic hook, balancing out the dark and agile undertone. “Stardust” and “My Masquerade” are both insanely catchy tunes with an anthemic live feeling over it. These are songs which will definetely come alive in a club. The songs display the excellent interaction between Somers and Westerhold with the keys lined up perfectly with the spitting riffs. When Timo fires his jawdropping solos, orchestral arrangements supply a warm cushion to fall back into picking up intensely when the riffs are returning. Another wonderful track is “Tell Me, Mechanist” with Charlotte’s crystal clear vocals contrasting from the dark growls of Ootshoek. The dynamics in the song are brought to life vividly by the slapping bass and impressive drum rolls. Delain certainly displays growth musically as well as in terms of songwriting, taking on new directions as well. “Army of Dolls” features quite out of the ordinary structures with the classic Delain sound suddenly breaking down into a slow paced mid section that is lit up by unexpected keyboard and synthesizer loops.
Delain’s new CD shows a band on the rise, aiming high and reinventing and redefining their own unique sound. Perhaps for some this album comes across a bit to poppy, but with the melancholic underlining of the slickest tracks, Delain managed to avoid that label and is a recommended listen to those being prejudice. The band is stubbornly following their own path to stardom making them one of epic melodic rock’s finest bands in town. Delain’s “The Human Contradiction” is an album which will please fans from the entire melodic rock and metal spectrum…

90 out of 100

www.delain.nl