Apocalypse & Chill – Delain‘s 2020 offering – will soon hit the stores this February of 2020. It looks like we have a lot to say about this band. So, to avoid overloading the review in preparation, here’s a short abstract of our discoveries over time.
Delain, over more than a decade, enjoyed a pretty astonishing and fulminant success. They went from 0-60 mph in a felt millisecond, and kept that speed – and then some – for the length of their existence. Which – in itself – is not an easy feat. Yet, the RMR deck crew had its reservations about their deliveries as the story developed. Even if most members kept steadfast in their fanboyism for one of the most renowned bands in the Symphonic Metal arena.
You see, Delain really got into our good graces by the fast lane with Lucidity and April Rain. Those records brimmed with freshness, new ideas, and that energetic drive forward into a bright future yet unknown.
Of course, success mainly weighed on the shoulders of one Charlotte Wessels. A female front who morphed into one of the most respected metal vocalists of the Gothic and Symphonic Metal scene. And yes, Martijn Westerholt is and has been a driving force behind the band. But – hey – without all that female charisma, all that grey eminence behind the scene would not have cut any mustard.
Yet again, success is difficult to maintain, if your chosen path is one genre only and a hotly contested one to boot. And – to make matters worse – Delain quite closely stuck to their guns and never boldly experimented with new ideas.
Then, Gothic Metal and – later – Symphonic Metal quickly became mainstream. With a few very good players like Within Temptation, Epica or – again – Nightwish being at the very top of their game. And a friggin’ gazillion of posers and copycats that yearned for a piece of that particularly juicy pie.
This meant that Delain pretty much drank from the very same well all the others did, too. At the same time, the invaluable assistance of Marko Hietala (Nightwish, Tarot) waned. Which meant that a lot of the undeniable crunch from his direction simply evaporated.
This led to a distinct turn towards mainstream metal and the labels’ ideas on how Symphonic Metal ought to sound. With the result that The Human Contradiction got a very reserved review and We Are The Others actually never made it onto the blog. This particular record burrowed so much into that dreaded mainstream, it almost hurt.
Delain‘s style – sadly – became predictable like a vegetable grown in Holland. Moonbathers – with all its undeniable technical prowess – delivered food for the fan masses, but no excitement. Symphonic Metal, as the label ordered. Like eating pea soup all over. And then some.
Things got into more significant oomph territory once Hunter’s Moon hit our shores. It was a good thing to let Timo Somers and Merel Bechtold participate in the songwriting. Only that the latter left the building in the meantime, damn.
So, here we are, with pretty big hopes that the aforementioned Apocalypse & Chill will travel new roads. With a tune that will dazzle us and deliver new Symphonic Metal delights to our turntable. Or will Delain even dare an incursion into another genre? I guess we will find out. And soon.