DELAIN - “Dark Waters”

By Iron Sheik

Grand. Ethereal. Heavy. Atmospheric. Angelic. Operatic. All of those descriptors come to mind listening to the new DELAIN album “Dark Waters”. It is full of moments that feel like "do not blink or you will miss something". You cannot take a pause or do something other than listen to the music unfold.

Diana Leah replaces original singer Charlotte Wessels, and she sounds phenomenal on her first outing with the band. As the album begins Diana's vocals make me think she sounded like how a baby doll would sound singing. Then she leans into very high pitched ethereal vocals as a background as the guitar solo plays. “Hideaway Paradise” opens the album on a somber note and transitions into a harder sound indicative of what is to follow. Next is “The Quest and The Curse” which has death metal vocals segueing into an orchestral vocalization that is angelic and ethereal. It has set the stage for what is to come on the rest of the album. “Invictus” features Marko Hietala and Paolo Ribaldini on vocals which gives the song a menacing sound. What is the enemy going to do? Grandiosity in the realm of the excessively ambitious is how it sounds, but it is reined in before going overboard.  

Diana is not the only new member, Ludovico Cioffi is also their new bass player. Roland Landa returns on guitar and lays down some intense and excellent riffs. Sander Zoer also returns on drums and provides a superb beat throughout. A mix of new and old members has resulted in a dynamic sound, and to think that founding member Martijn Westerholt, the keyboardist, had intended the band to be just a project. A grand project it has evolved into!

I must admit at this point I have followed DELAIN since their debut “Lucidity” albeit I have not listened to them attentively. They have been a band that has been on the outer edges of my listening, but if “Dark Waters” is any indication of their past offerings then I have missed out on some damn good music. Further investigation is required. And investigate “Dark Waters” by DELAIN is what any fan of operatic symphonic metal should do.