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Delain: The Human Contradiction

This is a pretty important release for Dutch metallers Delain. If one includes Interlude then this is their fifth album and much momentum has been built up thus far but a break into the mainstream is almost definitely required in order to reach the next step. Currently the band finds themselves supporting the mighty Within Temptation who have seamlessly made the transition into the charts and larger venues. Can Delain follow them? I think so.

That said, I'm not sure that The Human Contradiction is their best album but that is more because they have been remarkably consistent since 2006's Lucidity. Perhaps The Human Contradiction is the heaviest record in their cannon but the epic/Gothic sweep of their music remains very much intact. Marco Hietala, George Oosthoek and Alissa White-Gluz (Angela Gossow's replacement in Arch Enemy) make guest appearances and songs such as "Stardust" very much give the band a chance to show what they can do in terms of concise, radio-friendly (as much as metal can be)tunes alongside the excellent "Your Body is a Battleground". I fully expect this album to take Delain onto larger stages.

Track Listing:
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

Added: April 19th 2014
Reviewer: Simon Bray
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 3666
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Delain: The Human Contradiction
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2014-04-19 08:11:23
My Score:

It has been interesting to read the, as ever, insightful comments above from my colleague Simon with regards the fifth album, The Human Contradiction, from Dutch Symphonic Metallers Delain, because only last night as I left the Academy in Glasgow having witnessed Within Temptation and their support act, Delain, did I comment that it may be make or break time for this band.

Simon believes (and it is easy to hear why) that THC will find Delain begin the move from stunning support band to full blown headline status, however while completely agreeing with his thrust, I can't help but come down on the other side of the argument. Why? Well, looking at the long-term actions of Within Temptation is possibly the best marker, with the now Wembley Arena sized act subtly, yet noticeably altering their approach to really begin to knock down mainstream Metal barriers. In fact listening live to the difference in style between the more overtly Symphonic soarings that early WT is (corset) laced with and the more overtly Melodic Rock tones of The Unforgiving and Hydra, the evolution became more apparent. Possibly to go "over the top" Delain will need a similar, if not copycat, shift; even if there are at times strong similarities between what The Human Contradiction offers up and the sounds that sent Nightwish stratospheric and Evanesence to chart success. That's not to say that what Delain are doing is in anyway bad, or in fact in need of massive change to make a strong and lasting impact with the Symp-hardcore (the Within Temptation crowd did seriously lap up their fare both old and new in Glasgow) ...although to move further afield...?

The real star of the Delain show is Charlotte Wessels, her voice soaring, piercing, forceful, yet always controlled, always ear catching and always for the song. "My Masquerade" offers her the opportunity to keep things low and atmospheric, "Stardust" (my personal highlight), more vocally booming and riffingly punching, while "Here Come The Vultures" introduces the album in true, music box spinning fashion, before evolving into a chest puffing strut of Kamelot meets Nightwish - very clever indeed.

Yet for all the bristling, if possibly a touch obvious, guitars and set for stun singing, the beats remain deceptively simple, with all too often Tim Kuper happy to lay down a simple boom-smack-boom-a-boom-smack-boom-smack-boom-a-boom-smack, kick-drum-snare trade off. The result is that vastly differing songs can at times feel too similar and lacking in dynamics - an admittedly odd thought with classical voices, strings, synths, guitar, bass and drums involved throughout - but one I can't get away from. Still, it is the only real complaint right across the nine tracks on this album, which does, in fairness make a harder impact having witnessed the band perform some of it live.

So the question remains, will The Human Contradiction move Delain from 45 minutes at the start of the night, to 90 closing the show? Only time will tell if Simon's hunch is correct. I hope it is, for Delain are a classy band and this is a really good album, but it possibly needed to be great...

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