Crime Records

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Delain - The Human Contradiction

Delain - The Human Contradiction

1. Here Come The Vultures
2. Your body Is A Battleground
3. Stardust
4. My Masquerade
5. Tell Me, Mechanist
6. Sing To Me
7. Army Of Dolls
8.  Lullaby
9. The Tragedy Of The Commons
10. Scarlett
11. Don’t Let Go

Delain is a symphonic metal band hailing from Holland.  It is the brainchild of former Within Temptation keyboardist Martijn Westerhold and Charlotte Wessels and has garnered quite the following since.  With three very good albums already under their belt they bring us “Human Contradiction” but how does it measure up? Will it titterlate the grey matter into transporting me to another realm, a fantasy world?  Or will it be like entering a kind of hell?  

The opening track, “Here Come The Vultures”, has Charlotte Wessels excellent classic sounding voice, singing a beautiful intro.  This is only to lull you into a sense of false security as at the 44 second mark we have riffage.  And it’s powerful.  I loved this song.  It’s catchy but in a very good way and opens the album with the promise of good things to come.

“Your Body Is A Battleground” opens with a quadraphonic electronic pulse which moves from one ear to the other before it opens with more powerful guitar work.  One Marco Hietala of Nightwish (Another symph-metal band I adore) also lends his trademark coarse vocals to this track.  The song is single short but excellent in its delivery of catchy riffs and a very catchy chorus with a great little soaring guitar solo.

“Stardust” is utterly catchy, almost anthemic and appears to be more in keeping with their usual formula.  This track, I would imagine, is going to be part of their next live set and for good reason.  It’s a song you can nod your head to.

“My Masquerade” starts with an ethereal sounding intro which is joined by much softer guitars than previous tracks, at least until the chorus.  The chorus has male backing vocals which are reminiscent of Paradise Lost.  The track as a whole seems more downbeat than the others but it’s still catchy and well executed.  It’s a good mix of soft guitars and hard guitars and is more diverse, rhythmically than previous tracks.  Yet another great track on this, so far, very good album.

“Tell me, mechanist” has the obligatory heavy riffs and wonderfully lush and, dare I say, luxuriant keyboarding. It also has the guest vocal growls of George Oosthoek.

Marco Hietala lends yet more wallpaper stripping vocals to “Sing To Me”, which is another dark track.  It’s powerful and well crafted just like all the other tracks.  This one also sound a little like it could have been written by Nightwish, which isn’t a bad thing at all.

An almost 80’s like electronic intro opens “Army Of Dolls” but stops short at 15 seconds to plunge into some more heavy guitar work. I love this song and not just because of the performance given by the band but because of the subject matter, which i construe to be a blast against the shallow world we live in where beauty and looking “perfect” are more valued than substance and happiness.

“Lullaby” is as beautiful as it’s heavy.  Again with excellent performances from all members, while Charlotte’s vocals particularly have the power to move you here.

“The Tragedy Of The Commons” sees former The Agonist and current Arch Enemy singer Alissa White-Gluz lending a hand.  Her vocals, as you can imagine, contrast with those of Wessler’s but work exceptionally well together and in the format of the track.  It’s yet another great track with very well done choral elements that lands to give the song a rich and emotional feel.

A wonderful piece of piano accompaniment joins Charlotte’s beautiful voice on “Scarlett”.  I think this track is very beautiful and shows that Delain are a serious band with very real musical and writing skills.  It certainly shows that the band are on top of their game and know what they are about and, indeed, doing.

Another bonus track “Don’t Let Go” appears to be a fusion of metal, symphonic and electronica.  Indeed, some points of the track sound as if they could be performed by Rammstein’s synth master, Flake, while others wouldn’t be seen as amiss in modern pop.  I don’t mean to detract from the track at all, I’m just pointing out that their ability to explore different styles is great and that they put the more poppier elements to good use.

So, in conclusion, the album is very well written and performed.  The band appear to be stepping away from the over zealous amounts of keyboard and have much better riffs than previous albums.  Many people say that Delain and similar bands are poppish and shouldn’t be classed as “true” metal.  I say to these “What is true metal?”.  I also put it to them that if music like this was in the charts (I speak as a UK resident) then I would have the radio on constantly.  Although I had listened to Delain previously I had never really been a fan.  But, after listening to this release I think it’s safe to say that I now am.

A very good 8 out of 10