Lucidity is the first time the Dutch boys and girls of Delain really started to manifest themselves. And – WHAM – they produce something this good and with their very own brand. This is astonishing in a way, and yet again not surprising.
The band was founded by Martijn Westerholt back in 2002, who – I am told – had to leave Within Temptation after Mother Earth for health reasons. Most definitely, the change has been a good thing. And – as the saying goes – sometimes things seem to happen for a reason.
As of the first track Sever you can feel that the influence of Within Temptation and Nightwish with a hint of Lacuna Coil undoubtedly is there. But they also – equally undoubtedly – found their very own sound in the process. The prevalent freshness of the record impressed me greatly, and straight from the beginning. A quality that nicely carried over into the follow-on record April Rain. Even if the latter somehow lost steam.
Lucidity presents itself in a laid back, very musical Gothic Metal robe, together with genuine symphonic elements. A great mix of darker sections, complete with some death grunts. Those nicely coexist in the same space than the very light and airy parts, then again followed by very good metal solos and some sturdy riffing. And then there is Marco Hietala from Nightwish and Tarot again, who managed to put some spice into some of the songs.
All this is very well connected by their front vocalist Charlotte Wessels, who fits the style of music perfectly in this record. She joined from her former band To Elysium to a band she thought would be a one-time studio project. How wrong things turn out to be sometimes. In the end, you would not want another voice for this specific set of tracks.
The album starts very well with the aforementioned Sever. The following track Frozen finally gets the Lucidity the magic, speed, and oomph it needs. To hit it off like that straight from the start really speaks of the quality of the musicians. And no doubt, looking at the list of guest musicians on top of the players already mentioned. And you find great names, like Ad Sluijter (ex Epica), Liv Kristine (ex Leaves’ Eyes) and Ariën van Weesenbeek.
The kind of sad ballad See Me in Shadows – the track jointly performed with Liv Kristine – is followed by a few rockier songs. The most noteworthy being The Gathering. The last, or second before last, if you have the bonus track, is Pristine. A perfect mix of the Beauty and the Beast theme and very likable.
To wrap this up, Lucidity proved to be a thunderous start for Delain. One that – somewhat unexpectedly – led to a pretty stellar career going forward. I quite marvelled at the musical prowess and this youthful freshness that abounds on the record.
Unfortunately, the almost overwhelming influence of Within Temptation makes itself known a tad too much still. This, however, does in no way diminish the great quality and talent displayed in a debut album, no less. This is like the start of a race car, going from 0-60 mph in 2 seconds.
Not many bands have managed that in this form. Chapeau.
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