Delain
Lucidity

In itself, the formula for a successful female fronted gothic metal act is simple; lush production, lavish synths, some catchy riffs, a ballad or two and all of it sung by some buxom, corset clad beauty. It’s been done to death, resulting in somewhat of a saturation of the genre over the last few years. That’s why this re-do of Delain’s 2006 debut is actually a welcomed reissue: It did (and still does) the genre absolutely perfectly.

Hailing from the gothic metal hotbed of the Netherlands (Within Temptation, Stream of Passion, Epica, After Forever to name a few), Delain was formed by Within Temptation keyboardist Martijn Westerholt who added the eye candy and vocals in the form of former To Elysium vocalist Charlotte Vessels and some metal cred with Detonation bassist Otto Schimmelpenninck. Not only that, he brought in a host of respected gothic metal guest musicians including two of the genres matriarchs Liv Kristin (Leaves Eyes) and Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation), Marco Hietala (Nightwish, Tarot) and Ad Sluijter (Epica) to name a few.

As burned out on gothic metal I’ve become as a reviewer (thanks Napalm Records), Lucidity, even for a four year old album, is an easy standout within the genre. Amid its 11 songs (not including the bonus tracks for this re-issue) it has 4-5 killer songs that capture the essence of the genre perfectly. The first standout is “Frozen” where all three sirens help deliver a sumptuous track of somber elegance. “Silhouette of a Dancer” has a solid chunky riff and some death metal growls (which surface a few times throughout the album) while “Shattered” is a bouncy upbeat number. “The Gathering” starts with a rousing multi-vocal chant, while “Sleepwalkers Dream” has a mind-rendingly beautiful chorus. Of course, all of it is laced with epic orchestration and the competent, but restrained, operatic vocals of Vessels and Co. There is the requisite and also generic ballad in “See Me in Shadow” ― not surprisingly the album’s blandest cut. “Pristine” ends the ‘regular’ album with a perfectly structured chorus surrounded by death growls and lush orchestration.

For this digipak-reissue , Sensory has added a version of “Frozen” with added death metal vocals (originally a Japan-only bonus track) as well as delicately elegant acoustic versions of “Frozen”, “Silhouette of a Dancer” and “See Me In Shadow”. Then there’s also a version of “No Compliance” with just Vessels as opposed to Kristin and den Adels’ version from the regular album, but to be honest I really could not tell the difference.

In all, even four years later, Lucidity is about as good as it gets for the genre. The bonus tracks aren’t anything special, but the acoustic numbers are nice and the album alone is worth it if you didn’t pick this up the first time around.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
June 7th, 2010

Comments

  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    I’ve been od’ing on gothic metal lately in prep for the Mortemia review that’s going up soon but I will check this out becuase I do enjoy the genre when it’s done well


  2. Commented by: Facial La Fleur

    I like Delain but nobody compares to Epica. Good review, Erik. =)


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