Delain and Within Temptation gig review
April 19, 2014 | By: James Swan
Delain and Within Temptation have a complicated origin story. But they make one hell of a pairing at a live performance.
There are three main names in the subsubsubgrenre of symphonic metal at the moment: Nightwish, Within Temptation and Delain. (With a nod to contenders like Epica and Sirenia). Two of the Northern Europe trio are touring to promote their respective new albums, and they graced Glasgow’s O2 academy with their presence. We contacted Delain’s management and were granted a photo pass and interview!
Pictures first. Scroll down for the review!
Delain had none of that support band meek introduction or cheeky bravado; this was two bands touring with each other, not “opening for.” They were greeted with the same awestruck applause as they strolled on. They held the crowd like benevolent nobles, moments before their reigning queen took to the stage.
A band that sets their music by the angelic quality of their lead vocals has some pressure to achieve good live results. There was, to my great surprise, no noticeable dip in quality between the studio album and the Glasgow performance. The only exception was the occasional missed beat, as studio mixing frequently has chorus melodies start while the last note of the bridge is still being sung; if you want to hear this live without a backing track, you’re expecting way too much. Occasionally Charlotte would crouch down to hit the highest, strongest notes, with her hair obscuring her face; it’s a good tactic, as it requires some alarming facial contortions at times that can draw you of the performance.
At the end of Not Enough, the haunting, operatic vocals were done perfectly, and to watch, effortlessly. There was a good balance of old material and new, especially as they’ve reached that point that the audience expect a fair amount of their back catalogue. Sleepwalker’s Dream, April Rain, We Are the Others and of course The Gathering all got their fair due.
It would be interesting to see how Delain handle a full 90 minute set, now they’ve got four albums to pick from. Given their band members lineage and past collaborations, you’d think it wouldn’t be too difficult to secure a cover or two from some of the others. I think they could rock the hell out of I Wish I Had An Angel.
Within Temptation have been on the scene far longer than anyone really thinks about; founded in 1996, that gives them nearly two decades of writing, producing and touring. As another band whose focus is angelic vocals around demonic music, following the younger Charlotte from Delain must be a daunting challenge. You wouldn’t know it listening to Sharon den Adel; she may be turning forty this year, but she maintains a live quality that surpasses the middle albums if not the last, as pointed out in our review of Hydra.
In Hydra her vocals seemed to match the more whispering high notes of the Silent Force than the almost wailing nature of the Unforgiven. This same quality was present at the live show; it was like hearing Sharon twenty years ago.
Within Temptation’s last album was full of collaborations with genre veterans like Howard Jones, Tarja Turunen and oddly, Xzibit. They also covered a fair amount of recent mainstream songs, but crafted in their dark symphonic style. Radioactive was especially suited to Within Temptation’s style. Live though, it presents a challenge; they performed all the songs listed, but without the featured artists. Instead, they appeared on large screens in the background as backing tracks. While on one hand this is an understandable omission, given the impracticality of carting around these other artists to perform one song each for Within Temptation, it removes some of the organic quality of live music; they can’t hold the last note of the chorus for an extra bar for effect as Xzibit’s going to start rapping at the set time. It also makes any errors all the more deadly, for the same reason. Having said that, there none; this is a team of professionals who blended the backing tracks effortlessly with their live music.
Dangerous from their new album Hydra was particularly well suited to the live show. The thundering guitar and drums really got the crowd into a frenzy. Run, the Xzibit collaboration, has a particularly strong resemblance to their early catalogue, making it a great choice for transition in the set.
Angels was particularly impressive. As their biggest hit, their is pressure to pull it off. You can tell how it’s going to be sung right from the opening phrase, with it’s horrificaly high fifth jump; Sharon nailed it, and the rest of the song followed with ease.
We’ll be keen to see these bands the next time they come through Glasgow. In the meantime, you can listen to Delain’s stuff by clicking here – [itunes link=”https://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/delain/id184414833?uo=4″ title=”delain all”]
and Within Temptation’s stuff by clicking here – [itunes link=”https://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/within-temptation/id2898551?uo=4″ title=”wt all”]