I discovered Delain by accident, but I was intrigued that it was started by Martijn Westerholt, the brother of Within Temptation co-founder Robert Westerholt. I’m definitely getting some WT vibes from it, which I happen to love, so that’s good. But the truly refreshing part of Delain, besides the phenomenal and rockin’ composition, is the voice of Charlotte Wessels. It’s completely pleasing to listen to, but it is as fully capable of being powerful as it is being beautiful. Her range is effortlessly wide, though she never veers into the “opera” territory that is so widely used in the symphonic metal territory. There are many guest musicians on here, and it was a pleasant surprise to hear so many familiar voices. This debut album of Delain’s is in my opinion, practically perfect.
1. “Sever” – An amazing opener to this incredible album. It starts off with an orchestral intro, then the inimitable Charlotte Wessels enters, followed by Marco Hiatala of Nightwish and a fantastically epic choir.
2. “Frozen” – The first single; it begins with some haunting bells, and then the guitars enter. The chorus is extremely catchy, with a continuous “answer me” getting stuck in one’s head. The choir provides a stunningly beautiful bridge, followed by a stand-out guitar solo.
3. “Silhouette of a Dancer” – This one scared the heck out of me the first time I listened to it, but now I think it rocks. I was taken aback by the intensely sinister vocals of George Oosthoek, who growls menacingly yet adeptly opposite Charlotte’s vocals. Not to be missed!
4. “No Compliance” – This song is entirely sung by Sharon den Adel of Within Temptation and Marco. It’s pretty dark, and I think it’s slowly growing on me. Initially I wasn’t too sure what to make of it, because my first listen didn’t really meet my expectations. I was willing to give it a chance, though, and it is a rather good song, just perhaps not as strong as others on the album.
5. “See Me in Shadow” – Second single; Liv Kristine of Leaves’ Eyes accompanies Charlotte, and her light vocals help make the song as melancholy and achingly beautiful as it is.
6. “Shattered” – This song features Charlotte creating beautiful backing vocals for the choruses. It is very energetic and catchy, and would probably be a great song to listen to while working out.
7. “The Gathering” – I cannot get this song out of my head; it’s absolutely infectious. Marco’s voice blends so well with Charlotte’s in this one, and the whole atmosphere seems almost like folk music.
8. “Daylight Lucidity” – Charlotte creates some gorgeous harmonies with herself in the chorus, then Marco and the epic choir join in once again.
9. “Sleepwalker’s Dream” – My personal favorite, and the song that got me hooked onto Delain. The intro features some fantastic orchestral work, and then leads into an energetic chorus that features Charlotte reaching some stunningly beautiful and crystal-pure high notes. I never get tired of hearing them.
10. “Day for Ghosts” – Marco and Liv Kristine once again take charge for this song. It begins with a creepy piano solo that escalates into a burst of overwhelming orchestral and vocal glory. The intensity doesn’t let up either, as the choir joins in to echo the vocal lines of Liv.
11.”Pristine” – The stunning finale. It’s epic with the choir, haunting with the instrumentation, creepy with Oosthoek’s voice returning, and beautiful with Charlotte’s voice and harmonies.
12. “(Deep) Frozen” (Bonus track) – This seems to be a sister song to “Frozen,” or at least an alternative version. Oosthoek is here once again on the choruses, creating a much more sinister tone than its counterpart. Yet, this recycled material still manages to seem original, which can only be attributed to Delain’s brilliant musicianship.
Adding this masterpiece of an album to your collection is sure to leave you more than satisfied. You won’t be disappointed!