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Delain - "April Rain" (CD)

Delain - "April Rain" CD cover image

"April Rain" track listing:

1. April Rain (4:37)
2. Stay Forever (4:27)
3. Invidia (3:49)
4. Control The Storm (4:14)
5. On The Other Side (4:11)
6. Virtue And Vice (3:56)
7. Go Away (3:38)
8. Start Swimming (5:21)
9. Lost (3:24)
10. I'll Reach You (3:30)
11. Nothing Left (4:42)
12. Come Closer (4:31)

Reviewed by on July 27, 2009

"It’s hard to imagine that anyone wouldn’t be able to find something to like in Delain’s sophomore release 'April Rain.'"

A lot of people are under the misconception that symphonic metal is all about light, with lots of melodramatic piano, synthesizers, and orchestras. And sure, while some bands do go that route, Delain stands in direct opposition to that idea. This band manages to combine those elements symphonic metal is known for with some of the best thrash guitar riffs and death metal growls, offset by Charlotte Wessel’s mainstream and sometimes even poppy sounding vocals. Regardless, the end result is some pretty fine work.

It’s hard to imagine that anyone wouldn’t be able to find something to like in Delain’s sophomore release, "April Rain." The album opens with the title track, which slowly adds layer after layer of sound, and represents the whole of what Delain is striving for. The opening piano notes are soft and mellow, before meeting up with heavy synthesizers and drums that then get blasted away by good old thrash guitars. All this happens before Wessel’s vocals even start, and though it may sound cheesy to say so, her ABBA-esque vocal quality makes the song one you can’t help but want to sing along with.

The only element missing in the first track is power metal, but Delain brings that to the table in the followup track, "Stay Forever." Despite the mid-tempo power metal intro, this track is slower moving, and is similar to other female-fronted bands like Sirenia and Winter In Eden.

The big highlight of the album is the guest vocals provided by Nightwish’s Mark Hielata. Sure, there are already a lot of similarities in sound between Delain and Nightwish, so it’s no great surprise to hear him offering a hand on "Invidia" and the incredible ballad "Nothing Left." The difference in style between these tracks is almost idiosyncratic, with "Invidia" nearly moving into the realm of industrial dance club beat, while "Nothing Left" has the intense, sweeping orchestral sounds for which the genre is known. Surprisingly, they both work, and don’t even seem at odds when you listen to the album as a complete unit.

Though there are moments that may be too mainstream for heavier metal fans, Delain’s "April Rain" is an excellent choice for those who like variety and melody in their metal.

Highs: Delain manages to mix seemingly polar elements together and create a cohesive unit that sounds great.

Lows: Charlotte Wessel’s vocals aren’t the prettiest in symphonic metal, but they get the job done.

Bottom line: Delain provides a symphonic metal lover’s dream, without alienating fans of thrash, power, and death metal.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)