DELAIN – Moonbathers (Album Review)

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Coinciding with their 10 year anniversary on August 26, 2016, Delain from the Netherlands, will be releasing their 5th studio album – Moonbathers.

I first experienced Delain in 2014 with their single release “Stardust” from the album The Human Contradiction. With the chance to see them twice on that tour I became a huge fan and filled my CD collection with all their releases.

Feels like we have been waiting a long time for this new set of songs and now the time has come to get my advance copy. What a treat it has been playing this over and over for the last week.

The band was created by former Within Temptation keyboardist Martin Westerholt and vocalist Charlotte Wessels. Delain has gone through a few line-up changes over the years. Otto Schimmelpenninck Van Der Oije on bass, backing vocals and harsh vocals since 2010, Timo Somers on guitar and backing vocals since 2011, Ruben Israel on drums since 2014 (Live 2013) and in 2015 Delain added a second female to the band with Merel Bechtold on guitar who also played live with Delain in 2014-2015.

Moonbathers features 11 new tracks through Napalm Records, which will be released in 6 different formats including a limited edition media book, which will have a bonus disk including 6 songs, 4 live and 2 Orchestra.

Starting off the album is “Hands Of Gold” featuring Alissa White-Gluz. After the first listen I wasn’t too sure with Alissa‘s growls and vocals making this a very different sound for Delain. The song easily grew on me as a classic Delain sound with a little variety. This is the heaviest song on the album and starts the pace off with hit after hit.

The single “Glory And The Scum” has been a fan pleaser throughout social media. This is one of my favourite songs on the album. Dark and mysterious with lots of orchestral texture showing the bands growth throughout the years.

“Suckerpunch”, which was released earlier in the year on the EP Lunar Prelude, is also included on the Moonbathers album. When I first heard this track from the EP, I was excited to see what Delain would do on their next full-length album. “Suckerpunch” gives us a great mixture of melodic, rock and symphonic sound that is the signature sound of Delain.

Delain 1Time to slow things down with “The Hurricane”. A wonderful power ballad. Wessels usually shines whenever she sings but the musicality of this song has the band doing a wonderful work of art supporting such a powerful voice.

Continuing with the slower pace is “Chrysalis – The Last Breath”. Wessels is breathtaking with this incredible songwriting, in both lyrical and instrumental. I could see this making a great video production.

The next song is the icing on the cake for me. “Fire With Fire” is a faster-paced track that is pure rock and radiantly written about being strong and kind and don’t let others bring you down.

“Pendulum” starts with a heavier sound with growls by Otto throughout, sharing the mic with Wessels.

“Danse Macabre” a dark mellow track with some heavy riffs. Well sung by Wessels and fits well with the variety of sound on this album.

Next up is the remake of Queen‘s “Scandal” from their The Miracle CD. Delain has really made this their own and are grateful to have had Brian May‘s blessing. This Queen track was released as the fourth single from their 1989 album The Miracle and peaked at #25 in the UK. The single was released in the United States but failed to chart. Delain has revived it once again.

“Turn The Lights Out” also appeared on the Lunar Prelude EP. Another reason why I was so excited for this new CD after hearing the EP released earlier in the year. Delain CharlotteWhatever Delain comes out with it has the listener intrigued by the musical style of this band.

To close off the album is “The Monarch”. Mostly instrumental and a wonderful finish to this much-anticipated album of 2016.

This album has topped anything they have ever done and I would be surprised if it doesn’t end up being their biggest selling release. Although with two tracks from their EP earlier this year and a cover track, I would have preferred to hear newer material.

Overall, this is an incredible collaboration of musical production which stays with their roots, using a mixture of the darker, mysterious lyrics with sound keeping a refreshing ray of light within to make you smile.

There will be a newly remastered version of Lucidity coming out to celebrate its tenth anniversary in October, and then PledgeMusic funded 10th-anniversary show and DVD recording coming up.

There will be a tour once again as this band keeps on touring. I am waiting in anticipation for the North American announcement to see where they will be playing. Crossing my fingers this will be a headline show as after 10 years it is well deserved.

Shawn “Animalize” Irwin

BUY: Delain – Moonbathers

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