Female-fronted metal bands are becoming quite the hype these days. Powerful women are stepping up to the plate to show that metal is not just a man’s playground. Dutch symphonic metal band Delain are one of those bands. Starting off purely as a side project for ex- Within Temptation keyboardist, Martijn Westerholt, Delain have brought the spotlight unto themselves; winning fans over all across Europe. The band are quite well known for the special guest features on their albums, and their fourth album ‘The Human Contradiction’ is no exception.
The album is pierced with gothic elements and a matching eerie feel and vocalist Charlotte Wessels‘ voice sits nicely on top of the heavy instrumentals. Album opener ‘Here Come The Vultures’ sounds like the type of song that would be playing out when you walk into a haunted house. Wessels‘ voice has a certain creepiness about it. The following track ‘Your Body Is A Battleground’, along with a later number ‘Sing To Me’, features vocal contributions from Marco Hietala (of Nightwish). Hietala is no stranger to the band, as he’s recorded with them in the past. It even seems that he has somewhat become a sixth member of Delain, as the band state; “After our collaboration with Marco on our first two records we can’t help but hearing Marco’s voice in some of the songs we write. We love his contributions on ‘The Human Contradiction’.” Quite frankly, we love them too! The collaboration seems natural; the two voices fit well like two pieces of a puzzle. It wouldn’t come as a surprise if Hietala were to feature on even more songs in the future. It would probably be more surprising if he didn’t.
‘Tell Me, Mechanic’ features guest vocals from George Oosthoek (formerly of Orphanage), another example of how the powerful contrast in vocals works in Delain‘s favour. Oosthoek brings in an aggressive atmosphere that juxtaposes Wessels‘ clean vocals. Starting off with a softer keyboard piece, the tune progresses to reveal that it’s stacked with fantastic riffs. Last track on the record ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’ features a fellow female vocalist; Alissa White-Gluz (of Arch Enemy). Albeit lending her clean vocals, White-Gluz also brings the addition of her growls to the track. This last track may be very symphonic, as it has a certain choir-like sound to it, but it is entwined with the occasional raspy growl.
Delain have a very interesting sound and it’s obvious that they have found a formula that works for them. The eeriness of their sound is thrilling and has the ability to excite you as a listener. The album strives on contrast; delivering powerful instrumental to interlace the painfully sweet, yet dark, vocals.