I’ve lost count on how often I listened to Delain and couldn’t really find anything special about them, despite their music being consistently well-made. I’ve even seen them live and once again, their performance felt rather mediocre. But Delain managed to really surprise me with their 2014 release “The Human Contradiction”, and let me tell you, they did again with their upcoming record “Moonbathers”. There was one thing that came to my mind immediately when I first listened to the new record: Move back, Nightwish – while the alleged greatest symphonic metal band in the world seems to be losing momentum, Delain are kicking ass like never before.
So after such a statement, where do I start? First of all, “Moonbathers” definitely showcases Delain’s confidence as musicians and how they’ve been growing as a band. I’m also really glad that they found their way back to metal – the new record is heavier, more bombastic and very energetic.
It is also a collection of thoroughly beautiful songs that will all probably sound awesome live. The album starts with the bombastic tracks “Hands Of Gold” and “The Glory And The Scum”, then continues with the modern metal hymn “Suckerpunch”. “The Hurricane” is one of my favorite tracks off “Moonbathers”; it is simply stunning (also lyrically), full of emotion and builds up very nicely towards the end. Both this song and “Chrysalis – The Last Breath” are great examples of what Charlotte [Wessels, vocals] is capable of doing with her voice. It is indeed very interesting to hear that she is trying to further push her voice with every album, not only in terms of vocal range, but also in terms of intonation and emotion. She has become a very versatile singer over the years and I admire her more and more with every new release.
“Fire With Fire” is a very straight-forward and energetic track, it is simply made for live shows. “Pendulum”, as well as “Danse Macabre”, leans more towards the modern metal side again. Additionally, the Queen cover “Scandal” turned out quite well. I personally think that it is one of the hardest things to cover a Queen song, but Delain did a great job with this cover by adding their own sound to such a classic. Finally, the last two tracks “Turn The Lights Out” and “The Monarch” round out the album neatly.
After Delain’s last two records, but especially after listening to “Moonbathers” on repeat, I think it is safe to say that I finally understand what is special about Delain. There are not many bands out there that manage to grow with every album while maintaining a very distinct sound. And it is even more impressing how such a well-conceived record as “Moonbathers” can sound so artless and genuine: From the song structures and melodies to Charlotte Wessels’ vocals, it never seems as if this band is trying to sound like anything or anyone else than themselves.
I’ll put my head above the parapet and state that “Moonbathers” is Delain’s strongest output to date: You will find some of the best elements from previous records and a well-balanced mix of modern, symphonic and heavy metal on this beautiful record, which simply leaves nothing to be desired.
1. Hands Of Gold (feat. Alissa White-Gluz)
2. The Glory And The Scum
4. The Hurricane
5. Chrysalis – The Last Breath
6. Fire With Fire
8. Danse Macabre
10. Turn The Lights Out
11. The Monarch
Label: Napalm Records