DELAIN started as the project of former WITHIN TEMPTATION keyboarder Martijn Westerholt, but has now quickly grown into a full time band with the anticipated release of album number two entitled “April Rain”. The band has managed to get Marco Hietala of NIGHTWISH fame to produce some of the vocals, enlist a very talented female cello player on some of the tracks, and finally there´s Jacob Hansen engineering the album, although the powerful sound mix might be his work as well even if not listed. These facts ought to spur massive attention towards the album, the musical outcome is less staggering but quite enjoyable in the end.
“April Rain” is both very easy to like and easy to criticise. There´s no doubt about the skills of the band, their Symphonic Metal is extremely versatile while also having some key influences. You´re bound to hear the bombastic shades of WITHIN TEMPTATION of course, combined with the PANTERA calibre riffage of Hietala´s main band, completed with a strong, progressive flair of song writing reminiscient of AFTER FOREVER or EPICA without sounding too much alike. Add to this already flexible, genre rooted sound, the classy vocals of Charlotte Wessels, which definitely have some enticing qualities, and you have a heavy, catchy, melodic, symphonic sound.
As pointed out before, the band explores both ends of the aforementioned genre. There are a lot of balladesque tinged anthems with multiple guitar and vocal hooks, but also some heavier and more uptempo tracks with some growls done by the band´s guitarist Ronald Landa. So, yeah, in a nutshell, there are several tracks that have the potential to be chart hitters, while the remaining compositions are most likely to satisfy fans that enjoy a variety of atmospheres in their Metal music.
Having said that, and contrary to the current praise surrounding the band, I can´t find it in myself to say that I was overwhelmed by this album. I liked it, and although the performances, sound production and song writing are extremely well done, it all sounds safe in an less inspiring manner, even the heavier passages with harsh vocals lack a bit of edge.
A good album of versatile Symphonic Gothic Metal.
(Online July 18, 2009)