Review: Delain – 'Moonbathers'

Take a step back. Shake your head at what we have become. We’re the glory and the scum”, before it breaks into some slamming guitars, resulting in involuntary head bobbing. In contrast to the darkness of ‘The Glory And The Scum’ there is some light on ‘Suckerpunch’ (which, along with the excellent ‘Turn The Lights Out’, also featured on the ‘Lunar Prelude’ EP). Catchy melodies, hooks to die for, and riffage to please the most ardent plank spanker. The lyrics again seem quite dark and mysterious; ”His frost performed its art, and it has stained my tainted heart. Just leave me to my solitude, It’s where I feel at home”, but the sheer joy of the music means the song never becomes maudlin. Congratulations to Delain on reaching the milestone of over one million views of the video on YouTube, an astonishing feat. The lighter mood continues with ‘The Hurricane’ and ‘Chrysalis The Last Breath’, two songs that could have come straight out of Charlotte’s side project Phantasma (whose ‘Deviant Hearts’ album is not to be missed). The former is a slow-burning gem, where the heartfelt vocals shine throughout as the guitars gradually build. The latter is an out-and-out ballad with an ethereal vocal performance from Wessels, who is quickly becoming one of the most passionate and sincere vocalists around. ‘Fire With Fire’ brings the power back with a great drum sound. The song breaks away from the traditional ‘verse-bridge-chorus-verse’, instead taking many twists and turns, and is one of many highlights on the album. ’Pendulum’ begins with some gnarly death growls and speedy riffs, before it changes tack and settles on a more traditional rock sound. The riffs don’t wander far though, remaining firmly in the foreground. ’Danse Macabre’ has a great heavy keyboard sound, and again, the guitars are pushed to the front. The mysterious intro from Wessels is alluring, and remains with the listener for some time after. Taking on a Queen song requires balls! In the live setting, the adrenalin will usually take over, but it’s a different prospect altogether when you put it out on an album for all to pick to pieces. Personally I think Delain should be given credit for tackling a lesser-known Queen song… and pulling it off. ’Scandal’ featured on Queen’s ‘The Miracle’ album, and saw the band at their angriest, having to deal with the tabloids hounding Freddie Mercury through his illness and Brian May’s marriage breakdown. Delain’s version is faster and grittier, while still retaining some of the 80’s keyboard sound. A middle finger to the red tops, that is still relevant even today. The album ends with what can only be described as a tribute to Ennio Morricone. ’The Monarch’ is simply stunning in it’s depth and execution. Beginning with a homage to the spaghetti western classic, ‘The Ecstacy Of Gold’, it builds into a mixture of orchestral and rock, with only a fleeting glimpse of vocals. A left field choice to end the album, for sure, but given the usage of arrangements throughout ‘Moonbathers’, it’s hardly surprising. Album number five bears all the hallmarks of a band destined for greater things. A deeply personal and astonishing album. ’Moonbathers’ is released August 26th through Napalm Records. Review: Dave Stott]]>

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