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Review: Delain – ‘A Decade Of Delain’

DelainCelebrating their tenth anniversary as a band, Delain invited some special guests along for a one-off event, and thankfully they recorded it for posterity. Recorded at the world famous Paradiso in Amsterdam, this is a lavish multi-format bundle at a decent price. Four discs will set you back around £16, depending on where you shop. That’s the double CD of the gig, with the DVD and Blu-Ray thrown in as well. £16? I’d pay that just to watch Burton C. Bell sparring with Delain co-founder and vocalist Charlotte Wessels on ‘Where Is The Blood’, or Alissa White-Gluz bringing her growls to ‘Hands Of Gold’ and ‘The Tragedy Of The Commons’. It’s not just about the special guests though, this is a celebration of the band that Delain have become over ten years with a few personnel changes along the way. In fact ex-band members Guus Eikens, Sander Zoer, and Rob van der Loo all put in an appearance on ‘Sleepwalkers Dream’, which is a nice touch.

With five studio albums and two EPs to choose from, the set list has something for everyone. From earlier material such as ‘Sleepwalkers Dream’, ‘See Me In Shadow’ (with Liv Kristine on guest vocals, and Elianne Anemaat on cello), ‘Mother Machine’ and a gorgeous version of ‘April Rain’, right through to the present day. With current album ‘Moonbathers’ ranking as one of their strongest, and Wessels showing real growth and versatility as a vocalist, it’s pleasing to see it well represented. ‘Suckerpunch’, ‘Danse Macabre’, and ‘The Glory And The Scum’ all sound huge, but the standout of the newer moments has to be ‘Hurricane’. Already a firm favourite from the studio, here it is so much bigger and grandiose. The arrangements from co-founding member and keyboardist Martijn Westerholt are dazzling, bringing a cinematic touch to the symphonic metal leanings of Delain. The newer members of the band seem to have bedded in very well, and the addition of Merel Bechtold has certainly beefed up the guitars. Delain fans know what to expect when the live set starts to near the finishing line, but no matter how many times ‘The Gathering’ or ‘We Are The Others’ are aired, it’s still a thrill when the unmistakable intro to each kicks in. Likewise, it’s a thrill to hear George Oosthoek bring his growls to ‘Pristine’ once again, and the digital appearance of Marco Hietala from Nightwish on ‘Sing To Me’ also works very well.

‘A Decade of Delain’ stands out as it is a record of a special event. When a live album is made up of multiple recordings from various gigs, it tends to lose it’s spark. Here Delain knock that idea out of the park and the end result is rather special.

Available October 27th on Napalm Records. Keep your eye out for the stunning vinyl version, ’tis a thing of beauty!

Review: Dave Stott 


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