'Interlude' is an apt title for this new release from Delain as it's not exactly a follow up the Dutch symphonic groups last album xxxxx; being more a mopping up collection before the next album proper, along the lines of 'Odds and Sods', and 'Dead Letter Office'. Consequently, 'Interludes' gathers together live tracks, cover versions, a new version of 'We Are The Others', plus some brand new songs.
This mix of songs makes for an album of considerable variety, which has been well programmed to avoid a potentially diffuse listen. First up are the new tunes, followed by the covers, '...The Others', and finally the live songs.
The new Delain originals are typically anthemic symphonic metal; lots of big choruses, powerful riffing, and atmospheric keyboard work topped with soaring vocals. So far so 'Nightwish' but Delain have a secret weapon in vocalist Charlotte Wessels. Her distinctive voice has promoted this band to the premier league of Valkerie fronted Euro-Metal bands. Sure she has a strong set of lungs but she also has emotion and soul in her delivery, which are qualities not always found in this kind of music.
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For proof of this, just take a listen to 'Cordell'. This acoustically driven version of the Cranberries classic is at least the equal of the original, and vocally Charlotte has all the feeling of Dolores O'Riordan, but with none of the grating stridency. Similarly, Charlotte's delivery of the new version of 'We are the others' is simply stunning. Backed by sensitive orchestration, and a childrens choir, this could easily have descended into a mire of schmaltz, but they pull it off superbly, and by the end of this commentary on the tragic murder of Sophie Lancaster I was in tears.
The other band members are no slouches either, with the keyboards of band founder Martijn Westerholt in particular making a great contribution to the atmospheric sounds to be found on the studio tracks. Timo Somers is a powerful and melodic guitarist and his work is a highlight of the live segment. Drummer Sander Zoer gels superbly with bassist Otto Schimmelpennick van der Oije (try saying that after a few cans of Oranjeboom...!) to give a solid and supple rythmn section equally capable of great sensitivity and blasting out at high volume.
I mentioned that there is considerable variety to be found here, and it doesn't get more eclectic than a metal take of an 80's electro-pop song! Bronski Beats 'Small Town Boy' is very much a marmite record with a performance and arrangement that is hated and loved in equal measure. There has never been any doubt over the quality of the song itself however and Delain's rendition highlights the melody and the emotionally charged lyrics of isolation and lonliness. Adding a healthy dollop of guitar riffing also does wonders for this song! Their version of 'Such a Shame' is also very different to the Talk Talk original, replacing their sumptuous prog atmospherics with full on rock bombast, and it works brilliantly.
Many of the studio recordings show the poppier, gentler side of the band, so in contrast the live numbers demonstrate that Delain are most definitely a Metal band. The instrumentalists in the band are a real powerhouse in a concert setting and Charlotte comes across as an engaging front woman. Shorn of the studio sheen, these live reworkings have a power and intensity that will surprise those who only know Delain through their recordings. Going off what's on this album, I'd love to catch them live.
There is a version of this album available with a bonus DVD, which unfortunately was not available for review. Going by the track listing it should be a decent watch and listen.
All in all interlude is a very listenable record, which is a great fill in before the next album proper. It gives a good clear picture of what Delain are about, and is a fine place for those new to the band to start exploring their music, as well as being a must have for the committed fan, and well deserving of four pints.
- Breathe on Me
- Collars and Suits
- Are You Done With Me (New Single Mix)
- Such a Shame (Talk Talk cover)
- Cordell (The Cranberries cover)
- Smalltown Boy (Bronski Beat cover)
- We Are the Others (New Ballad Version)
- Mother Machine (Live)
- Get the Devil Out of Me (Live)
- Milk and Honey (Live)
- Invidia (Live)
- Electricity (Live)
- Not Enough (Live)
- Invidia (Live at Metal Female Voices Fest)
- Electricity (Live at Metal Female Voices Fest)
- We Are the Others (Live at Metal Female Voices Fest)
- Milk and Honey (Live at Metal Female Voices Fest)
- Not Enough (Live at Metal Female Voices Fest)
- Backstage Footage
- Get the Devil Out of Me (Video)
- We Are the Others (Video)
- April Rain (Video)
- Frozen (Video)
Martijn Westerholt – Keyboards
Charlotte Wessels – Lead vocals
Sander Zoer – Drums
Otto Schimmelpenninck van der Oije – Bass guitar, backing vocals
Timo Somers – Lead guitar, backing vocals
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