Delain – The Human Contradiction Review
April 19, 2014 | By: James Swan
Delain’s new album The Human Contradiction is put under the microscope…or in the ear? I don’t know, metaphors are hard.
Metal is a pretty unfair category, especially for bands like Delain.. To the masses it evokes a thrashing, masked Corey Taylor ranting pained metaphors into a mic. It does an injustice to the wide variety within (not to mention Corey Taylor). It’s akin to using the word mammal and everyone pictures a grizzly bear as opposed to a flying squirrel. There is nothing flighty or squirrely about The Human Contradiction. The usual blend of ethereal vocals, pounding drums, symphonic swells and roaring guitar are all present, but someones definitely been tweaking with the ratios.
From the start, we enter the usual dark fairytale realm in Here Come the Vultures, but the tinkly, ominous intro is blown away by the thunderous riffs. This is a good opener for the album, as the metal is definitely turned up throughout. This is their heaviest outing by far, possibly related to switching to Napalm Records.
As Charlotte told us in our interview, the songs have a loose inspiration from the book Lilith’s Brood. It’s hard not to hear the name Lilith and think of a thousand Cradle of Filth songs, but aside from some symphonic uses the bands are pretty far flung on the metal continent. This is a dark post-nuclear holocaust sic fi trilogy, not the mother of vampyres (the y makes it more gothy!). It has been stressed that not all the tracks can be pinned to a page in the book, so don’t go digging for cryptic references where there might be none.
On the deluxe album, you can hear a few alternate versions, usually absent of the growls and screams that put off those listeners with a Berlin wall firmly planted between rock and metal. The icing on the cake is a couple of live tracks; I have always been an opponent of these, as they usually feature washed out sound quality and show the reality that singers rarely achieve studio quality vocals live, without the atmosphere of the performance to cushion the blow. Charlotte bucks the trend, as mentioned in the review/interview of Delain’s recent gig in Glasgow. Hearing the high notes in April Rain handled with effortless clarity accompanied by the roar of a crowd is not just a testimony to the band’s ability, but that of the sound crew.
While I really liked their last album We Are The Others, there was a nagging fear that their sound was getting lighter and more accessible, with more electronic elements than rock. This is a return to Lucidity’s epic grandiosity tempered with April Rain’s heavier elements, then seasoned by several years of experience and maturity. As usual, you’re struck by the fact tat these would achieve far greater commercial success by omitting the more heavy elements. Their inclusion is a testament to the band’s own love of the genre.
A complaint would be while the album as a whole is great, I haven’t been grabbed by a particular song yet. Their single, Starlight, certainly wouldn’t occur to me as the most distinctive or best track. Another would be that this feels like a hybrid of previous works, but doesn’t have a new unique element.
If you don’t like Symphonic Rock, you probably aren’t reading this. Delain are currently supporting Within Temptation on tour as they push their new album Hydra. In a few years time, I wouldn’t be surprised if Delain surpassed WT and even rivalled Nightwish as the face of the genre.
You can buy the new album by clicking here – [itunes link=”https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-human-contradiction/id847594248?uo=4″ title=”Hc normal”]
Or get the deluxe version here – [itunes link=”https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/human-contradiction-deluxe/id847869433?uo=4″ title=”HC deluxe”]
Amazon Special Edition: