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Delain: April Rain

Plenty of hype surrounding this one, another in a long line of strong female fronted symphonic, gothic metal bands ready to break big into the mainstream metal scene. April Rain is the sophomore release from Dutch band Delain, created a few years back by former Within Temptation keyboard player Martijn Westerholt and starring the vocal talents of the stunning Charlotte Wessels. Comparisons to mid-period The Gathering, Within Temptation, Nightwish, After Forever, and Epica are inevitable, and let's face it, Delain are not going to win any awards for originality, but that doesn't mean that April Rain isn't an immensely enjoyable platter of emotional, symphonic metal.

It's hard not to be swept away by the opening title track (the band also shot a video for this one) or the orchestral "Stay Forever", two tunes that have irresistible melodies that will stick in your head for days, fueled by Charlotte's soaring vocals and no shortage of heavy riffage and symphonic keyboards. The production, mixing, and mastering on this album is near perfect, and really, this is one of the best sounding CDs you will probably hear this year (thanks to the team of Westerholt, Jacob Hansen, and Eroc), with all the instrumental crystal clear in the mix and packing plenty of punch. Honestly, there's no weak tracks here, though some other highlights to look out for are the bombastic "Control the Storm" (featuring some guest vocals from Nightwish bassist Marco Hietala), the effective mix of slamming metal with emotional goth on "Virtue and Vice" (complete with some hefty growls from guitarist Ronald Landa), the raging power metal anthem "Go Away", and the absolutely gorgeous "Start Swimming", which is a great vehicle for all that Wessels has to offer. The US release comes with the bonus track "Come Closer", a pretty ballad with huge, orchestral synths, heavy riffs, and dreamy vocals from Wessels.

It's hard not to get swept away by April Rain, an album that is sure to strike a chord with the audience who clamor for this kind of thing. If you're going to say "not another female fronted symphonic gothic metal band!", take a deep breath, give April Rain a listen, then form your opinion. This is really enjoyable stuff from start to finish, lots of heavy crunch for the metal crowd, enough keyboard flourishes for the prog crowd, and plenty commercial sounding to grab some of the women out there.

And, if you have a 'thing' for red-heads, check out the video.

Track Listing
1) April Rain
2) Stay Forever
3) Invidia
4) Control the Storm
5) On the Other Side
6) Virtue and Vice
7) Go Away
8) Start Swimming
9) Lost
10) I'll Reach You
11) Nothing Left
12) Come Closer-bonus track

Added: June 19th 2009
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: The Lasers Edge
Hits: 3766
Language: english

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