Published Apr 08, 2014Were they a weaker group, Dutch symphonic metal band Delain could easily fall prey to suffering from an identity crisis. The group are consistently compared to another Dutch power metal act, Within Temptation; they share a very similar aesthetic, and Delain founder Martijn Westerholt is the former keyboardist of Within Temptation (he was forced to quit due to suffering from Pfeiffer's disease).
What separates Delain from their spiritual parent group, and other similar acts like Epica, is not so much their style but their execution. Their fourth full-length record, The Human Contradiction, is their most vocal-focused effort to date. Lead vocalist Charlotte Wessels lacks the operatic power and command of some of her counterparts in other symphonic groups like Nightwish, but her passion makes her unique; the emotional authenticity in her voice is deeply moving, and well-suited to the record's tone. The Human Contradiction is a darker, heavier effort, and Wessels' ability to give all of herself in her performance helps support the gothic elements of the record beautifully.
Guest appearances add further richness and depth to the vocal performances, with George Oosthoek (ex-Orphanage) contributing harsh growls to "Tell Me, Mechanist," Marco Hietala singing on "Your Body is a Battleground" and "Sing To Me," and Alissa White-Gluz lending her pure, sumptuous tone to "The Tragedy of the Commons." If you're looking for dark, versatile power metal with a heavy focus on lushly produced, varied vocal performances, The Human Contradiction is a must-listen. (Napalm)