Before I start this review, let me make one thing clear: I love this album. It is so much fun to listen to.
Now, the first I heard of this band was when I heard they were founded by the former keyboardist of Within Temptation. Then I heard this album had Marco Hietala doing some guest vocals on a couple songs. After hearing these things, I was greatly intrigued. After buying the album and listening to them for a good month or so now, I can pretty safely say that they’re not really like either band. I’d more closely equate them to a darker version of Visions of Atlantis or Edenbridge, although they still have a unique enough sound to be distiguishable from all the other Symphonic Metal bands.
That’s probably because they seem to place more emphasis on the “Metal” part of that label than most other bands of the genre. The vocals are your standard-fare alto female combined with various male vocal parts, both growled and sung. They are much heavier than most Symphonic Metal bands and are not shy with the breakdowns (hence the title of this review), and when combined with the epic choir/strings played on the keyboards, it all combines to create some really powerful music. The breakdown in “Go Away” especially lends itself to this point; I could listen to that one part over and over for a long time.
Which brings me to my first complaint with the band. It’s more of my own personal preference, but I would love it if these songs were longer. I’ve been inundated with Nightwish and Epica, which makes me really used to an average of six or seven minutes per song. Delain only has one that’s over five minutes, and it’s the slowest one (not that that’s a problem). Again, probably my own preference, but I think they’d do a lot better if they could lengthen some of their songs.
My main problem with the music, though, is that it seems to lack maturity or range. Delain seems content with bringing you the adrenaline rush more commonly associated with the heavier sub-genres of metal, without looking to evoke a wider range of emotions. Say what you will about Nightwish’s Dark Passion Play, but you can’t really deny that it can take you from tension and suspense, to anger, to sadness, and ultimately to triumph. Delain just doesn’t do that. They almost perfectly mix heavier metal stylings with symphonic elements to create amazingly powerful music, but it lacks the depth of most Symphonic Metal.
That said though, this is still some really great music and is absolutely worth the purchase.