Review by Chris Pratl on October 29, 2018.
Okay, I absolutely love this woman’s voice. Delain’s Charlotte Wessels lies comfortably atop many of her contemporaries that are all vying for the coveted soaring-operatic vocal. It’s overused, overhyped and flat out boring at this point. Wessels combats this with her easy style that seems to glide off her tongue and into the large air; she truly seems to be whispering loudly in such beautifully breathy sentences. Total fanboy worship aside, let’s get to Lucidity and see if it’s as good as it should be.
Lucidity is the band’s first full-length release that hosts a myriad of guest stars such as vocalists Sharon den Adel of Within Temptation and Liv Kristine of Leaves’ Eyes, and while I also enjoy both if those singers I seriously feel Wessels could have carried this load herself with little or no effort. Granted, the contributions of both den Adel and Kristine are wonderful here (“No Compliance” for den Adel and “See Me in Shadow” and “Day for Ghosts” for Kristine) but the true majesty of this album is both Wessel’s vocals and Delain’s incredibly resonating brand of power/symphonic metal in the gothic vein. The band is proving to be a major force in this genre and with very good reason. The music is heavy without overkill, haunting without artificiality and soaring without contrived elevation.
“Shattered” is an example of just how perfectly the music of gothic style should hit the system: hard hitting, but not consuming and sensual without the plasticity of mall-inspired shtick. This album mixes and matches the formula in so many beakers it’s not only refreshing but can be spoiling; after all, we can’t expect this kind of attention to be paid to every album that emerges from this style. This is all-encompassing music that can be bombastic, yet not overpowering to the emotional state of the listener. In other words, you can enjoy this CD without concern of being lulled into a comfort zone only to be blasted out of it by unnecessary, rudimentary instrumental efforts. “Sleepwalker’s Dream” slips into your head so easily and just sort of lies there in its ethereal beauty. I definitely feel it’s Wessels’ crowning glory on this album, calling on an Olivia Newton-John style that is both frighteningly accurate and delightfully enchanting. The only other vocalist I’ve heard issue such a lovely vocal was Elis’ late vocalist Sabine Dunser. The band compliments Wessels as much as she compliments it, a generous give-and-take between dedicated artists.
Martijn Westerholt’s vision of a simple studio band has taken on a whole new focus. The former Within Temptation keyboardist certainly has his W.T. influences intact throughout Lucidity, but the effort is all its own. Delain should never be relegated to a bastard son of Within Temptation and I don’t think it will. Already on its second release, April Rain issued last year to rave reviews, you’ll certainly be hearing about this band for some time.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
(Originally written for www.MetalPsalter.com)